Saturday, May 14, 2016

I SAW WHAT YOU DID (1965) (Blu-ray Review)


Label: Scream Factory

Release Date: May 17th 2016 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Director: William Castle
Cast: Andi Garrett, John Ireland, Leif Erickson, Sara Lane, Joan Crawford

I Saw What You Did is a pretty restrained thriller by the typical standards of shock-cinema impresario William Castle who usually adorned his b-movie productions with hokey gimmicks galore, but this time around there are no shocker-seats or skeletons on wires jumping out at you. This thriller stars two fun-loving teens Libby (Andi Garrett) and Kit (Sara Lane) who are home alone with Libby's younger sister Tess (Sharyl Locke), the trio amuse themselves with prank phone calls to random numbers pulled from the phonebook. Whoever answers the phone is told "I saw what you did, and I know who you are.", which is fun and annoying, but mostly harmless teen-stuff that most kids have done at one time or another, myself included.

However, on this particular night they call the one guy who just happened to have murdered his wife in the shower Psycho style and buried her in the woods. The man is played by John Ireland and he believes that the young woman on the phone has seen something she shouldn't have, but in an era before called ID they would have gotten away with if not for their teen hormones. After hanging up the girls begin to fantasize about how good-looking Steve sounded on the phone, and their curiosity gets the better of them and they make a trip to home to get an eyeful of the murdering hunk. 

Enter Steve's lustful and somewhat desperate neighbor played by the scenery-chewing Joan Crawford who lusts after her manly neighbor, the woman's panties are definitely moist for the man, even after she figures out that the guy murdered his wife, which certainly smacks of desperation When she catches the young Libby snooping around Steve's house peeping in through the windows the demented woman assumes her to be one of Steve's younger lovers and chases her off, but not before snatching the registration from her car, which is what allows Steve to find out who the anonymous caller lives, leading to him arriving at the teens home while her parents are out for the night. I love the simple and effective initial promise of the movie, while it is a bit far-fetched it is a William Castle movie after all. I liked that it was not as gimmick-riddles as some of Castle's but I found myself wanting it to be more visceral, there's plenty of situations that could have milked for more genuine suspense but Castle was never one to hold out for the true suspense of a scene, he was a schlocky sort of guy and he usually went for the cheap thrills - but that's why I love him. 

Audio/Video: I Saw What You Did arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory with a new 2016 HD transfer framed in 1.78 widescreen, the black and white cinematography is crisp with some great contrast levels, the black are deep and the gray scale and white look just fine. The print used for the transfer shows some minor grit and debris from time to time and doesn't appear to have had much clean-up applied to it, which I don't mind. The English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono sounds just fine, with dialogue coming through clean and crisp, including the somewhat aloof but suspenseful score from Van Alexander. Extras on the disc include a gallery of stills and publicity materials for the movie,plus two trailers for the movie, on featuring William Castle doing what he did best, hocking his b-movie wares to the masses. 

Special Features
- NEW 2016 High-Definition Transfer
- Original Theatrical Trailer and "Special World Premiere Announcement" Trailer Featuring William Castle (3 Mins) 
- Photo Gallery (4 Mins) 

William Castle's I Saw What You Did (1965) looks quite nice on Blu-ray from Scream Factory and should be a true treat for fans of William Castle's brand of schlock and shock cinema. This one has a very straight forward premise with a nifty initial promise, it might stretch on for a bit in places but I still loved it. Joan Crawford really camps it up here with her thick eyebrows and jealous-rage, and sort of steals the show for a large swath of the movie. I also loved the teen girls, who were a sweet blend of teen prankster mischief and naive. The distribution rights for William Castle's movies seem to be spread around a bit, but I would love to see an nice HD box set of his movies, if Scream Factory could do something along the lines of the Vincent Price Collection for William Castle I know there are oodles of fans out there who would snatch it up! 3/5