The Killing Kind (1973 film)

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The Killing Kind
Directed by Curtis Harrington
Produced by George Edwards
Sal Grasso
Leon Mirell
Written by Tony Crechales
George Edwards
Starring Ann Sothern
John Savage
Cindy Williams
Susan Bernard
Ruth Roman
Luana Anders
Music by Andrew Belling
Cinematography Mario Tosi
Distributed by Media Trend Productions
Release date
Running time
95 minutes (DVD)
88 minutes (UK)
Country United States
Language English

The Killing Kind is a 1973 American psychological horror directed by Curtis Harrington, and starring Ann Sothern and John Savage. The film is based on a screenplay by Tony Crechales, whose screenplay was revised by producer George Edwards, an associate producer on Harrington's previous film, What's the Matter with Helen? (1971).

Cindy Williams, who had previously done a small number of films, plays a new tenant named Lori, while Luana Anders, a Harrington regular, plays Louise, a suspicious librarian next door. Harrington extensively researched studies of serial murderers and says he has been complimented on the film's accuracy. The film features music by Andrew Belling and cinematography by Italian cameraman Mario Tosi.


Terry (Savage) is a man whose mind is destroyed after being physically forced to participate in a gang rape and serving two years in prison when the victim, Tina Moore (Susan Bernard), lies about the nature of the incident. Terry's mother, Thelma (Sothern), runs a boarding house primarily for elderly ladies. Terry and Thelma have a relationship of unusual intimacy.

When Terry returns home after the prison stay, he moves back into the boarding house owned by his mother. When his mother wishes that Tina were dead, he borrows the car and runs her off the road. He then kills the attorney who failed to get him a reduced sentence, Rhea Benson (Roman). He is heavily influenced by the power of suggestion in his vengeance. After he kills Lori, his mother decides to poison him. Louise (Anders) sees Thelma and Terry put Lori's body in a trash can and drive it to the dump and calls the police. As the film ends, Thelma holds Terry in her lap as the sirens are heard outside.



The film was handled by Media Trend Productions, a distributor about whom Harrington said in interview "They knew about as much about distribution as my grandmother". The film was released on the states' rights circuit and because it was not known where the film had played, it prohibited the film from getting a wide release.

In 2003, the film was shown in a retrospective on Harrington at Film Forum in New York City.

Home media[edit]

The film went largely unseen until Paragon Video released it on VHS in 1987 (the UK VHS release was retitled The Psychopath). It was later released as the second half of a double bill with James Landis's The Sadist (1963) on a DVD from Diamond Entertainment Corporation in 2003.

Dark Sky Films released the film on Region 1 DVD in 2007. The release features an interview with Harrington made shortly before his death.

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