Wicked, Wicked (1973)

A tall, well-figured platinum blonde (Diane McBain) checks into a the Grandview Hotel. She is booked into room 411, where she proceeds to get undressed and relaxed before meeting with a shady character who contacts her on the phone.

However, it's not him she has to worry about. While she was checking in a shadowy figure was watching through a removable panel in the ceiling. While she gets ready, so does he, sharpening his knives and slipping into a bellboy outfit. He accosts her in her hotel room and stabs her repeatedly, killing her and then dismembering her in the shower. He orders room service, and smuggles the body out in the service cart.

The next day housekeeper Mrs. Griswald (Patsy Garrett) notices that no one has slept in the bed, leading hotel manager Simmons (Roger Bowen) to contact security head Rick Stewart (David Bailey) about the third skip out in a short period of time. Stewart thinks there may be something more sinister happening than just guests skipping out on paying, but Simmons is more concerned about the hotel's reputation and does anything he can to stop Stewart's investigations.

Meanwhile, Stewart's ex-wife Lisa James (Tiffany Bolling) arrives for a week's booking performing at the hotel. After harshly scolding shy electrician Jason (Randolph Roberts), she befriends him and has a brief conversation with him, and he soon develops a crush. However, after wearing a blonde wig on stage, Lisa is later attacked by the masked killer in her hotel room, proving to Stewart that something is desperately wrong. The search for the killer is now on.

Wicked, Wicked is equal parts slasher film and camp comedy, as it was intended to be. While the main story isn't anything new even at that time, the main gimmick of the movie was that it was filmed in Duo-Vision, which means most of the movie as separate action happening on both sides of the screen. It's a technique that was used in a number of '70s movies, but this movie used it pretty much through-out and, surprisingly, it works. Often someone will be explaining something in one panel, while memories or the truth of what is being said is displayed in the other. It's not just used for different perspective and, being one of the first movies in stereo, the dialogue is louder on the side you're supposed to pay attention to than the other.

Predictably, the gimmick didn't go over too well and the movie is largely forgotten. Personally, I think it's less the Duo-Vision that killed it than the fact that, despite decent performances and a good job on the killer, there is a long period where practically nothing happens. I really don't care about hearing Tiffany Bolling sing or follow the romantic subplot in depth, but rather in the suspense elements. It's a shame that after making the hook something that truly enhances the movie that something as basic as pacing brings it a few notches down.

Wicked, Wicked (1973)
Duration: 95 minutes
Starring: David Bailey, Tiffany Bolling, Randolph Roberts
Director: Richard L. Bare


Popular posts from this blog

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)