Entertainment Weekly - 09/30/1994
"...Joan Crawford has a one-woman orgy of histrionics..." -- Rating: A-
Description by OLDIES.com:
Movie queen Joan Crawford gives a terrific performance in this chiller from pioneer horror movie producer William Castle.
Crawford plays Lucy Harbin, a woman who goes berserk when she finds her husband in bed with another woman. With her three-year-old daughter accidentally witnessing the grisly act, Lucy axes the couple to death. She spends twenty years in a mental institution for the double murder.
After she is released, she moves in with her brother (Leif Erickson), his wife and her own daughter (Diane Baker), now twenty-three. Her nightmare is over -- or is it? When a spate of ax murders start occurring suddenly in the neighborhood, police think Lucy has reverted to her old ways. The truth is finally revealed in a rousing, blood-chilling finale.
Joan Crawford followed up her role in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE' with this full-bodied horror film from producer-director William Castle and writer Robert Bloch (PSYCHO). Crawford plays Lucy Harbon, who in the film's opening moments hacks her husband and his lover to pieces with an ax. Twenty years later, Lucy is let out of the asylum to live with her daughter, now played by Diane Baker. Unfortunately, the daughter lives on a farm replete with chicken, pigs...and axes--and before long it's not just the chickens that are losing their heads.
Everything is surprisingly effective in this suspenseful film, but Crawford especially is a knockout. She acts whole pages of dialogue with a single pained glance, moving believably from touchingly vulnerable to homicidally enraged with ease. Also noteworthy is George Kennedy as a deranged farmhand and the ripely paranoid score from Van Alexander. Fans of Crawford and PSYCHO will want to do themselves the favor of checking out this inspired, delightfully grim little shocker.
A jealous woman kills her husband and his mistress in a fit of rage and is committed to an insane asylum for 20 years. Shortly after her release, mysterious ax murders begin to occur.
Patrons of the film's original run were given small cardboard axes as souvenirs.
The previews for this film used the line "Just keep saying to yourself it's only a movie, it's only a movie," which was later used (and became famous for) such grisly 1970s films as LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT.
Viewers should make sure to stick around for the Columbia Pictures logo at the end, which harbors a nasty surprise.
Lee Majors (TV's THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN) has a brief appearance near the beginning of the film as Crawford's cheating husband.