Homicidal 1961 Blu-ray Review – More than just a Psycho clone?

If you love the films of director William Castle then two purchases you may want to consider are Powerhouse Films two William Castle boxsets which have been re-mastered for blu-ray. Homicidal is a highly regarded movie amongst many film buffs, often being compared to Hitchcock’s Psycho.

I’m slightly late with this review with volume one releasing in October followed by the second in December. Nevertheless I think it’s high time I gave my verdicts on both box boxsets. So without further ado here’s my Homicidal 1961 blu-ray review.

  • Homicidal (1961)
  • Part of the William Castle Volume One Boxset
  • Genre: Horror, Thriller
  • Directed by William Castle
  • Running Time: 87 Mins
  • UK Rating 12
  • Discs: 1
  • Released By Powerhouse Films aka Indicator
  • Blu-ray Released: 22 October 2018


When Emily checks in to a hotel in Ventura, California she offers the bellboy $2000. To obtain it all he has to do is marry her and agree to have the marriage immediately annulled. Whilst he is baffled he can’t pass up the opportunity of easy money. However he will soon find out that there’s far more to Emily than meets the eye when they arrive at the place the ceremony will be held.

Style / Direction

The film was directed by William Castle with the cinematography handled by Burnett Guffey. This is a black and white film and that in my opinion works to the films advantage just as with Psycho. It’s a very well shot from a filmmaking perspective whilst the pacing is simply spot on allowing just enough tension to build before the final reveal.

Music / Audio Effects

The music is composed by Hugo Friedhofer.

Acting / Characters

This is one of those films in which it’s hard not to give away spoilers so I’ll keep this section short. Jean Arless plays Emily a very cold and distant person that means you feel like you never know when or if she is an about to snap. For this performance she really does deserve a lot of plaudits.


  • Jean Arless as Emily
  • Glenn Corbett as Karl
  • Patricia Breslin as Miriam Webster
  • Eugenie Leontovich as Helga
  • Alan Bunce as Dr. Jonas
  • Richard Rust as Jim Nesbitt
  • James Westerfield as Mr. Adrims
  • Gilbert Green as Lieutenant Miller
  • Wolfe Barzell as Olie
  • Hope Summers as Mrs. Adrims
  • Teri Brooks as Mrs. Forest
  • Ralph Moody as First clerk
  • Joe Forte as Second clerk

Conclusion: Homicidal 1961 Film Review

William Castle deserves a lot of credit for producing an exceptional tense horror thriller that is often compared with the great Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. It’s completely understandable why, both share many similar elements and coming only a year after you really can’t believe that Castle hadn’t been influence or indeed borrowed heavily from Hitchcock’s masterpiece.

The blond on the run driving sequence is perhaps one of the most obvious although there are plenty of others I won’t mention so not to spoil the film.

For me Hitchcock is the true master of cinema and Psycho the far better movie. However with all that said Homicidal still manages to deliver an intriguing and compelling story in its own right. If you haven’t ever seen it I highly recommend you add it to your list of films to see.

Homicidal 1961 blu-ray review

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Conclusion: Homicidal 1961 Blu-ray Review

Powerhouse has built up a well deserved reputation for selecting interesting titles and delivering them fully re-mastered to Blu-ray. This is no exception, the picture quality is excellent. This image is nice and sharp whilst I never noticed any annoying speckles.

Another thing I often praise Powerhouse for is their excellent extras and is why their won three awards in our recent Blu-ray Awards. Here they again manage to include a set of interesting features along with a 36 page booklet.

I recommend the “Stephen Laws Introduces Homicidal” feature and I have to say I agree pretty much with his analysis although I think most people having seen the film will come to the same conclusions.


  • Audio Commentary
  • Stephen Laws Introduces Homicidal (8 mins)
  • Psychette: William Castle & Homicidal (8 mins)
  • Ballyhoo! (4 mins)
  • Youngstown, Ohio Premiere 1961 (5 mins)
  • Isolated Music & Effects Track
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible Sleeve
  • 36 Page Booklet

Popcorn Cinema Rating: Homicidal (1961)




Homicidal (1961) is available now on Blu-ray from Amazon.

The Amazon links on this page are affiliate / associate links. By buying through the links we may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price you pay.

Homicidal (1961) Trailer

For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…

Clip may not be representative of the blu-ray version

That concludes my Homicidal 1961 blu-ray review, don’t forget to keep a look out for the rest of the William Castle boxset reviews.

What Do You Think?
Summary: Homicidal (1961) Blu-ray Review
Homicidal blu-ray review

Movie title: Homicidal (1961)

Duration: 87 mins

Director(s): William Castle

Actor(s): Jean Arless, Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin, Eugenie Leontovich

Genre: Horror, Thriller

  • Movie Rating
  • Blu-ray Picture Rating
  • Extras


It might not be Psycho but William Castle delivers an intriguing and compelling story in its own right.