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Criminally Insane
Crazy Fat Ethel

USA 1975
produced by
Frances Millard for I.R.M.I. Films
directed by Nick Philips (= Nick Millard)
starring Priscilla Alden, Michael Flood, Jane Lambert, Robert Copple, George 'Buck' Flower (as C.L.Lefleur), Ginna Martine, Cliff McDonald, Charles Egan, Sonny La Rocca, Sandra Shotwell, Lisa Farros
written by Nick Philips (= Nick Millard)

Criminally Insane

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Having just been released from a mental institution - and only because she had promised to come back for electro shock treatment and to lose some weight -, 300 pound Ethel (Priscilla Alden) moves in with her granny (Jane Lambert) ... but granny wants to put her on a diet and to that end empties the refridgerator and locks away the food. Ethel gets so upset that she kills granny. Then she breaks open the food-cupboard and eats ...

The next day, she orders food delivery, but when the delivery boy won't leave the food with her unless she pays her debts, she kills him too ... and has just enough time to hide him in the next room before her sister Rosalie comes by to stay.

Now Ethel has a bit of a problem, since she keeps the 2 corpses in granny's room, and gradually they start to smell, but Rosalie mustn't know. And all of her attempts to get rid of the corpses amount to little, instead it seems the corpses just keep on piling up after one of the doctor's of the institution has paid her an unfriendly visit - ouch.

Eventually, Rosalie's boyfriend John (Michael Flood) comes to stay at Ethel's place as well, and quickly makes Rosalie a regular prostitute ... which couldn't bother Ethel less as long as there is enough food in the house. But Rosalie and John are complaining about the stench coming from granny's room (little wonder, with 3 corpses rotting away in there), so she tries every kind of room deodorant, but to little avail. Eventually Ethel can't keep them from breaking into the room any longer, so she has to kill Rosalie and John as well (and later also one of Rosalie's regulars stopping by) - all only half as bad as long as she can keep on eating.

However, before long getting rid of the bodies (six by now) becomes mandatory, but a trip to the seaside to just throw them into the ocean proves futile - and not only that, when Ethel returns, her neighbour finds a severed hand in the trunk of her car - and calls the police.

When the inspector (George 'Buck' Flower) investigating the disappearences in Ethel's neighbourhood finally arrives, he finds her sitting amidst her corpses, slowly eating them up ...

 

Nick Philip's forte definitely was softcore erotica, but in 1975, he tried his hands on 2 horror films as well. His first effort, Satan's Black Wedding however was - while not a complete misfire - less than memorable. Criminally Insane on the other hand is one of these (very) low budget wonders where the lack of production values or name stars paired with a great screenplay and imaginative direction combine to turn out something that couldn't have been done better with a higher budget or another cast (especially Priscilla Alden is just perfect for the role). This is one (very) black horror comedy where everything seems right and that by all means should be regarded as a classic nowadays.

Highest recommendation.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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