How Awful about Allan (September 22, 1970)
Released on September 22, 1970: Someone is trying to drive Allan crazy . . . or maybe kill him . . . or is he really crazy? Someone will wind up in the loony bin - will it be Allan, or someone else?
Directed by Curtis Harrington
Written by Henry Farrell.
The Actors: Anthony Perkins (Allan), Julie Harris (Katherine), Joan Hackett (Olive), Kent Smith (Raymond), Robert Harris (Doctor Ellins), Molly Dodd (inmate), Billy Bowles (Harold Dennis), Trent Dolan (Eric Walters), Bill Erwin (Doctor Ames), Jeannette Howe (Katherine as a child), Kenneth Lawrence (Allan as a child), Charles Briles (unknown).
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When I was a teen living in Shanksville, Pennsylvania there was a state mental hospital along the road leading to Somerset, and it was a really big complex. Ringed with a big chain link fence, it incorporated several large buildings that must have held several hundred patients. That was the late 1960's, and sometime after that it I returned home to discover that the hospital had been closed. Not only that, but all mental hospitals in Pennsylvania were closed, and I think around the country all of the large state mental institutions were shut down. At that time in my life I guess I wasn't into current events much, because I have no recollection of the mood of the country and the impetus to shut them down. Did they shut down because the states couldn't find the money to support them anymore? Were they shut down because a better way to handle the mentally challenged was discovered? I'm sure that they probably provided sub-standard care, even by 1960's standards, but it was still 'care.' Where do all of the mentally challenged people go to today? Did we lock up people back in the 1960's that shouldn't have been locked up? Do we now just let mentally challenged people live among us without any care? I just don't know. This mystery thriller involves a young man who spent 8 months in the State Mental Hospital, and was released because the doctor felt that he was no longer a threat to himself or anyone else. The existence of a State Mental Hospital was taken for granted in this movie, almost as a side note. It was assumed that everyone in the audience would know about it. Today as I watch this thriller I realize that it is a thing of the past that younger viewers would probably have no concept of. Regardless, no matter what age you are, it won't take long before the chills start running down your spine and you start wondering who's sane and who isn't. Grab your white kernel popcorn and get ready for a chilling, thrilling, spooky tale of death, deception and deceit in the big house across the street.
Anthony Perkins and Joan Hackett
Anthony Perkins and Molly Dodd
Anthony Perkins in How Awful About Allan
Robert Harris and Anthony Perkins
Robert H. Harris