Experiment in Terror (1962)


As someone only familiar with Blake Edwards through his colourful comedies and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Experiment in Terror was especially surprising. In total contrast to those movies, this film is truly, deeply sinister. The unravelling mystery at the centre is gripping and the faces onscreen – Lee Remick, Glenn Ford, Stefanie Powers, Ross Martin – are just magnificent.

MVP though is DOP Philip H. Lathrop (who would go on to lens Point Blank, Walter Hill’s The Driver, Hard Times) whose monochrome photography is stark, striking and oh-so evocative. One mid-film sequence set in a mannequin warehouse that culminates in the reveal of the film’s villain is aces. Interestingly, a large chunk of this thing is set in Twin Peaks. No, not that Twin Peaks (or is it?) but a Twin Peaks nevertheless. Like many of Lynch’s works, this too lifts the rock on America’s squeaky-clean suburban facade to look into the dirty shadows beneath. Rock solid, if a little too long.

Watched on Indicator blu-ray.

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