Horror Films that Every Self Respecting Gay Man Should See (first in a possible series): Strait-Jacket

Film:  Strait-Jacket

Director: William Castle

Stars: Joan Crawford, Diane Baker

In a Nutshell:  Joan plays Lucy Harbin, a woman who murdered  her cheating husband and his mistress with an axe.  Now, some twenty years later, she is released from the nut house to the care of her  brother, his wife, and her daughter.  At first everything's peaches and cream, but soon, headless corpses start turning up - is Lucy back to her old tricks? 

What's So Gay About It?:  Bitch, please, Joan Crawford is chewing the scenery up so much in this one, she leaves teeth marks on the wallpaper ... check out the start of the film where, through the magic of a Vaseline smeared lens, a 58 year old Crawford is supposed to be a hotsy totsy  broad in a tight skirt and come-fuck-me-pumps ... you are going to love the jangly bracelet that Joan wears whenever she gets to chopping...wait for the scene when Crawford lights a match off a record playing on the phonograph and then, in the same scene,  comes on to her daughter's much younger suitor...and Diane Baker is no slouch when it comes to playing crazy her self!

Cool Stuff:  Crawford was such a control freak that she demanded, and got, Pepsi product placement on the set of the film (Joanie was still on the board of directors of Pepsi at the time). According to TCM's web site, when the producers and director met with the star, this occurred: Their first meeting took place at her New York apartment, where she served Castle and other executives lunch after making them remove their shoes so they wouldn't stain her new white carpet. Then she informed them that before she would agree to make the film, they would have to completely re-write the script to make it a star vehicle. Over the next two hours, she outlined the changes she thought would make the film a "Joan Crawford movie." With her revived popularity, Castle gave in, also granting her co-star and director approval. Fortunately, she agreed to let him direct his own film.

Gay Quotability: "Lucy Harbin, born and raised on a farm.  Parents, poor.  Education, meager. Very much a woman, and very much aware of the fact."


deadlydolls said...

Yes! I only discovered Strait-Jacket about two years ago and my life has vastly improved since. Nice call!

Anonymous said...

Straight Jacket has been a fave of mine for years! William Castle's best gimmick? Joan Crawford! Watching her edgy performance makes the movie irresistible! She eats the scenery like it is a rare steak!

AK said...

Thank you,Pax! This is one of those movies that I can always put on and get all caught up in when there's nothing else on TV. It's cheap, flashy and mesmerizing (much like poor Lucy Harbin herself)! As I've read quite a few times before, if Strait Jacket had had a bigger budget, Miss C might have been nominated for an Oscar(the scene where she lights the match off the record of "There Goes That Song Again" in itself deserves some kind of award! And that REALLY uncomfortable moment when Lucy gets (unfortunately) wasted and practically climbs into Carol's boyfriend's mouth is priceless! I live for that shit...
(Off topic-I absolutely love this site, dude! When ya gonna do a new "Fresh Slabs Of Meat" post? LOVE that feature!)

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Strait Jacket... a camp classic if I ever saw one. Joan Crawford fascinates me as an actress and a human being. I love when actors ham it up and take pride in it. Awesome post.

Here's my review for it: http://www.fullmoonreviews.net/2008/09/strait-jacket-1964.html

I Like Horror Movies said...

Have yet to see this one but I am planning on purchasing the new box set in the coming months! Will get my gay on soon enough Pax