HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Name of the Game is Kill!, The The Bear And The Three Goldilocks
Year: 1968
Director: Gunnar Hellström
Stars: Jack Lord, Tisha Sterling, Collin Wilcox Patton, Susan Strasberg, Marc Desmond, T.C. Jones, Mort Mills
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Symcha Lipa (Jack Lord) is a Hungarian drifter in Arizona, walking along beside the highway in an out of the way stretch of desert when he pauses to rest his feet as he sits by the road and a jeep pulls up. It is being driven by a young woman, Mickey Terry (Susan Strasberg), who asks him if he wants a lift, which he gratefully accepts, and they head off chatting with each other until she stops some way down the journey at an abandoned hotel because the vehicle's engine is overheating and they need water for the radiator. Sym finds some, but has to go looking for Mickey, who has gone exploring - or is there something on her mind?

The memorably-titled The Name of the Game is Kill! was one of those psychothrillers which very much arrived in the wake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, with the sort of plot relying largely on a twist ending for its maximum impact; such was the influence of that classic 1960 horror that there were a plethora of similar, only usually not as good, shockers with the big revelation at the climax which quickly became a cliché. Nevertheless, if the script in question managed to be outrageous enough then quite often the moviemakers might have a modest hit on their hands, especially if they asked the audience not to reveal the ending.

Hitch had done that, to great effect, and the notion that there was some big secret about the films which followed his lead was a pretty decent selling point. In the case of this little item, it wasn't a big enough work to make much of an impact, being an indie opening the day after Robert Kennedy was assassinated and whose main star draw was Susan Strasberg, whose profile was already slipping after the high hopes of her earlier career what with her being the daughter of a legendary acting coach; Jack Lord only took the leading role in long-running cop show Hawaii 5-0 later in the year this indie was made, so wasn't the celebrity he would become at the time. Though he had been in a James Bond movie, so he wasn't utterly low key.

Still, even the association with police procedurals wasn't going to shine light on his efforts here, and this languished in obscurity with only a few having remembered it and its strange, off-kilter mood, not to mention that surprise for the finale. What happens is that Mickey takes Sym home to meet her family, who in true Southern Gothic style appear to be harbouring some hidden dark past which has affected them in various ways. Mickey has two sisters, the older Diz (Collin Wilcox Patton) who acts aggressively towards the visitor, and Nan (Tisha Sterling) who behaves in a childlike fashion as if the trauma has stunted her mental development. Then there's their doting, matronly mother, Mrs Terry (T.C. Jones), who seems ordinary enough.

But what is really ordinary here? This was the type of story where endeavours to present a veneer of normality were certain to be scuppered before the plot was all wrapped up. There were plenty of these in this decade as questions began to be introduced as to the validity of what society has taken for granted, though many took the form of thrillers where a more drastic conclusion could be reached about quite how bad things were going to get. A repeated sequence in The Name of the Game is Kill! with alterations is one where Sym will be sat down by one of the Terry family and told a version of what has occurred to place them in such isolation out there in the desert, selling pet tarantulas and snakes, and each time the tale will be different. Will he ever get to the truth about what happened with the parents? Or will he meet a sorry end, as he almost does when someone knocks him off a bridge in their car or is nearly bitten by a rattlesnake left in wait for him? While most of this has a weird, muffled tone, the relish it sets about its twist(s) makes up for it. Music by Stu Phillips; listen for the Electric Prunes.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3858 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: