Crucible of Horror (1971)

A dysfunctional family goes about its business while patriarch Walter gets increasingly violent and creepy. After a vicious cane beating, crazy mom Edith and rebellious daughter Jane hatch a plot to take care of Walter forever OR SO THEY THINK!!!

It doesn't sound like much but there is a lot to like about Crucible of Horror. The way the film drops you into this messed up family is great. No setup, no scenes of police or psychiatrists or anyone explaining to you how crazy everyone is. It feels like you are just witnessing another day in the life of these folks and what is left unsaid and unseen speaks and shows more than a bunch of ridiculous exposition ever could.

Events occur and end with no real resolution or connection to anything else, just like in real life, which is a very effective way of giving you the impression that this family is real with an actual history.

Performances are all around excellent with father Walter radiating cold and quiet menace in every scene. The tension is incredible and he's so effective it is actually shocking when he goes over the edge and becomes violent. The icing on the cake is how everyone looks so normal, like people you would encounter in your neighborhood, assuming you were part of a wealthy British family.

Unfortunately there is a ridiculous ending in store for you. It's one of those endings that is a little vague, but it's either because of ghosts or it's just a dream or or whatever. It's a lazy way to end any movie, and that a movie as effective as this one would end with this kind of shock ending does nothing but cheapen the rest of it. Also, where is the crucible? I have to deduct points for the filthy lie that the title is. Still worth watching, but pretend you are crazy and the last ten minutes was all in your head.

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