Twisted Nerve (1968)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama  |   Release Date - Dec 20, 1968 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 113 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Michael Buening

Twisted Nerve features a lonely and conflicted young man named Martin (Hywel Bennett), who switches between playing a "slow" lost little boy he calls Georgie and a conniving murderer. After a fight with his rich stepfather (Frank Finlay), who demands that he grow up and get a job, Martin takes up in a boarding house, a bastion of lost souls, and wants to marry the pretty young librarian (Hayley Mills) whose desperate mother owns the place. He uses his Georgie persona to present a sexually nonthreatening front, but he plots to kill anyone who gets in his way. Similar to Psycho's closing coda, Martin's condition is explained by shaky science, something about genetics and his "mongoloid" brother, and a smothering, over-protective mother. The script, by Peeping Tom's Leo Marks, is another disturbing treatise on a perverted male sex drive and as pathologically removed from the action as the main character. The two leads (Mills and Bennett) played a couple in the Boulting Brothers' previous film, the popular screwball comedy The Family Way. The film was also an attempt at maturing Mills' Disney image (she was married to director Roy Boulting). Bernard Herrmann's whistled "Georgie's Theme" was appropriated by Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill.