Wednesday, March 11

Haunts (1977)

A.K.A. The Veil
Directed by Herb Freed
97 Minutes / Media Entertainment /Cropped from 1.85:1 to full screen

A withdrawn Swedish-American woman (Ingrid, May Britt) lives with her often boozed-up uncle (Cameron Mitchell) on a quaint stretch of farmland. Troubled with foggy yet traumatic memories of childhood, she shys away from even casual male interest. Ingrid is eventually coyly pursued by a cocky young man who happens to be the town sheriff's (Aldo Ray) daughter's boyfriend. Her undemonstrative demeanor turns to terror as she finds him to be a hooded killer welding scissors that stalks her at his whim and soon murders other women in the area. After enduring a horrifying rape by his hands, Ingrid is still reluctant to contact the sheriff. But after a second assault, the police gunning down a killer that isn't the young man, and her uncle beginning to eerily advance upon her sexually--just who is Ingrid's real enemy? (and no, it's not Satan)

A nifty psychological thriller that tends to run a bit long-in-the-tooth, but worth plowing through at least once. May Britt, who was on the tailend of her film career, conveys the discomfort and quiet anguish of a distressed woman with absolute conviction. Mitchell constructs arguably his best performance of his later "movie purgatory" years. Or it might just be the fact he doesn't play an overt maniac or a character in a plain suit as if he refused to comply with the production's wardrobe. Aldo Ray is his usual stuffy on-screen persona, but he demonstrates an especially terrifying stare of hatred when his character is presented with a revelation regarding his daughter. Freed doesn't do much in his direction, but if you're in the mood and not too sleepy, as the credits appear you just might be pleasantly surprised by the sum rather than the parts.

Film: 5.5/10
VHS Picture: 4/10
VHS Sound: 4/10

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