Anatomy of a Psycho (1961)

Genres - Crime, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller  |   Release Date - May 31, 1961 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 75 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Paul Gaita

The execution of convicted killer Duke Marco drives his disturbed brother Chet (Darrell Howe) to launch a terror campaign against those who helped send Duke to the gas chamber. After savagely beating the son of the district attorney and setting fire to the judge's house, Chet learns that his sister's boyfriend (Ronnie Burns) is the son of the witness whose testimony led to Duke's convictions. Chet sets his final act of revenge in motion by blaming the accidental murder of one of his hoodlum pals (Don Devlin, later the producer of My Bodyguard and The Witches of Eastwick) on Mickey, who, in a bit of cruel irony, now faces the death penalty. Despite its horror movie title, Anatomy of a Psycho doesn't delve very deeply into the mindset or motivation of his deranged antihero. It's mostly a routine juvenile crime picture, animated only by some mildly shocking moments of violence. Any attempt to establish a tone of seriousness or tension is largely undercut by Howe's sniveling, overwrought performance; Burns (the adopted son of George Burns and Gracie Allen) and Pamela Lincoln (The Tingler), as Chet's sister, fare somewhat better. Director Peters (aka Boris Petroff) seemed to specialize in mediocre B-movie fare, including The Unearthly. The attractive outdoor locations were lensed in Colorado Springs, CO, home to the film's production company, an advertising house called The Alexander Film Company.