Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Hypnotic Eye

Hypnotic Eye Directed George Blair, Starring Allison Hayes (1960).

The first time I bought The Hypnotic Eye from Chas Balun, I felt burnt, I mean it had snippets of commercials and was dubbed offa late night tv! To be honest, even though I felt robbed there's noway you could catch it on a late night Creature Feature (or wait patiently for a resurgence in Florida where there were no local horror hosts at the time). I'd have to catch it by coincidence in the dead of night and have a videotape ready, back then there was none of the modern cable aides and technological enhancements that we all take for granted now!  

Mmmmm.... roasted hair

    The version I'm reviewing is the widescreen copy from Warner Archives. The first time I saw the trailer for this film was on "It Came from Hollywood" which was a precursor to MST3K, but instead of Mike and the bots you got John Candy, Cheech and Chong and the cast of SNL
   That image of a women washing her head over a burning pilot light stuck with me in an unsettling way and made me wanna plunk down the 20$ to get that rare film from the VHS bootleg catalog. I didn't know what to expect when it arrived, I watched it all alone, just me and a grainy TV copy of an early 60's heavily misogynistic B movie shocker with an evil hypnotist who despises women. Desmond (Jacques Bergerac), the twisted hypnotist's voice sounds like Sasha Baron Cohen in Talladega Nights.
   All over town, women are slicing their faces open with razors, drinking lye and burning their flesh off with acid. The creepy hypnotist is controlling their minds and the poor girls, hallucinate into thinking they're only applying cosmetics or washing their hair.
Most of these ghoulish elements are straight out of an EC horror comic. During 1960 many horror films were breaking boundaries and taking chances like Peeping Tom, Eyes with a Face, Mill of the Stone Women, Circus of Horrors, City of the Dead (Horror Hotel), and of course Psycho.

What do you call a cat eating lemons, sourpuss!

   The extremely sexy Allison Hayes plays the hypnotist's assistant and is the main culprit behind their sick hatred against all women. Desmond looks sort of like Rod Serling.
The writers use psychology and mental suggestion in a brilliantly dark fashion and The Hypnotic Eye has more depth than the usual schlock-fest. It's still kinda square in a hokey William Castle style, but also demented which is a nice combination.
   Later on the H.G. Lewis's Wizard of Gore would take this concept into grisly
uncharted territory in the mid 60s.
   The actual flashing light of the eye reminds me of the hallucination scene in Brain Damage when the light fixture gives off a veiny ocular appearance.
   Desmond takes Dr. Phil Hect's girlfriend, who's trying to solve the mystery to a beatnik club where a Steve Allen looking poet goes on about being a teenage horror movie addict, I think we can all relate here! In Psychotronic they claimed Big Daddy Ed Roth was on bongos, but it's actually Eric "Big Daddy" Nord, another beat generation hipster not the famed Ratfink inventor.

OK for our next number let's kick it up a notch with some powerviolence

   Phil (Guy Prescott) has been tailing them on their mock date to see what horrific acts he will commit on his girlfriend Marcia (played by Marcia Henderson).
   There's some vague lesbianism between Marcia and Alison Hayes as a scalding shower is turned on, or maybe I just wish there was.

Everybody in America wishes this was a lesbian scene

   The second half sort of turns into a mutated women episode of Dragnet as Phil and his buddy question all the female victims of the magician's wraith.
But has he been responsible at all, or is he just a puppet in a faceless women's hateful revenge fantasy committed against all females!
   In a horrifying twist of fate the beautiful Alison Hayes died in 1977 from led poisoning brought on by calcium supplements. I can't say enough good things about The Hypnotic Eye it's un-nerving, creepy and schlocky all at the same time. I am grateful that a company like Warner Archives have so many lost titles like this for public consumption and hate to say it but it's always better when dupes and inferior bootlegs are replaced by the real deal! 

 BUY HERE (Or Get a Warner Archives free trial)


  1. Thanks for this review. I've always wanted to see this and your write-up has really got me looking forward to it. The next time Warner Archive has 5 for 50 sale this is going in my shopping cart.

  2. Sure thing Alvin, it's alot more grimy than the usual schlocky good time


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