How Awful About Allan - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

How Awful About Allan Reviews

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½ April 6, 2016
I had previously read about director Curtis Harrington in Barron's excellent book for cinephiles, '501 Movie Directors', though I had unfortunately not been able to find any of his films before this. He definitely has fine technique for getting across moodiness and suspense, at least in this type of film. Hopefully I'll eventually find and watch all of his work.

'How Awful About Allan' is a pretty decent moody, intense, creepy psychological thriller with two of my favourite thespians in that department--Anthony Perkins and Julie Harris. It's a tad claustrophobic and difficult to get into at the start, because of this aforementioned intensity, but if you stick with it, it's quite intrinsically rewarding and definitely not a late-night waste of 90 minutes.

When Perkins' 'Allan' picks up a picture and says, 'Mother,' I couldn't help but smile. What an interesting and ill-fated actor.
½ June 20, 2015
just ok suspenser lite
November 1, 2013
Moody, creepy, intense, and effective psychological thriller--Oedipus Rex Reversed!!
September 10, 2013
Deserved much more attention than it did but this is a very excellent piece of early 70's television mystery horror.
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2013
Easily solved mystery but what a great cast!
½ May 22, 2013
Somewhat decent, and yet very lacking. Perkin's role is alright, but probably not one of his more memorable ones. The story is alright as a mystery, but there's a lot of holes and confusing moments. The main character's blindness remains in question to me (how was he reading that letter at the end?) and a lot of the bigger plot points seem wasted.
bbcfloridabound
Super Reviewer
½ February 12, 2013
This Movie Came in the Mill Creek Nightmare Worlds 50 Pack, Anthony Perkins was pretty young in this one. Not much to it. a B flix for sure. Don't confuse this with Psycho 2 which came out in 1985. Only 2 1/2 stars. 11-09-08
February 3, 2011
Suffice to say "How Awful about Allan" probably won't be mentioned in the same breath as "Duel" or "Killdozer!" when it comes time to name the best TV movies of the '70s.

Allan (Anthony Perkins, for once not playing some variation of "Psycho's" Norman Bates) is a young man persistently living in the shadow of his stern academic father. After failing to save his dad in a house fire which also scars his sister (Julie Harris), Allan is committed to a mental institution for months suffering from guilt and hysterical blindness.

But it's not hysterical blindness. If anything, I'd call it "runny-watercolor-vision." And Perkins doesn't even act blind throughout most of the movie.

These major flaws, plus an inert, rather inept plot, make "Awful" a trying sit. Not even producer Aaron Spelling's usual bag of TV-enhancing tricks could save it.
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2010
A predictable suspense story, but it's always cool to see Perkins play a psycho, right?
July 8, 2010
"How Awful About Allan": quite awfull, well, not that bad. Anthony Perkins and Julie Harris in a mistery TV movie produced by Aaron Spelling.
February 17, 2010
Originally an ABC movie-of-the-week, this effectively eerie tale of psychological suspense features Anthony Perkins as Allan Colleigh, a young man who's psychosomatically blinded by the sight of his father burning to death in the family house. After spending eight months in a mental institution, Allan returns home to live with his embittered sister Katherine, scarred as a result of the fire. Shortly after his arrival, Allan learns that Katherine intends to rent out one of the rooms, a decision that will have some rather troublesome consequences. Tormented by beckoning midnight voices and sinister hands reaching for him in the shadows, Allan becomes convinced that the mysterious new lodger wants to do him harm, but Katherine has a very difficult time buying into her brother's rantings. Is our hero truly being menaced, or is he merely the victim of his own imagination?

This vigorous Curtis Harrington chiller draws inspiration from PSYCHO, WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, and HUSH...HUSH, SWEET CHARLOTTE in equal measure. The result is simply too derivative to be considered a classic, but its blend of campy thrills and surreal shocks help to make it a great deal of fun. The teleplay by Henry Farrell (author of the BABY JANE novel and co-screenwriter of CHARLOTTE) hinges upon a "surprise" denouement that most modern viewers will be able to figure out quite some time before it arrives. Nonetheless, Farrell's storyline offers just enough plot contortions and juicy dialogue to keep things at an entertaining level.

The film is primarily a vehicle for the wonderfully quirky talents of Anthony Perkins, who certainly succeeds in making Allan a memorable addition to his gallery of edgy and disturbed heroes. Although it's chiefly Anthony's show, that of course doesn't prevent the remarkable Julie Harris from delivering an admirable supporting turn as the put-upon Katherine, who struggles to maintain her cool in the face of Allan's increasingly neurotic behavior. Perkins supplies most of the hysterics, but the finale gives Miss Harris an opportunity to raise a little hell herself and she does so with tremendous relish; it's a brief moment that you won't easily forget. Joan Hackett, a fine actress who never quite achieved the level of popularity that she should have, makes a welcome appearance as their concerned neighbor. The picture also benefits considerably from the skillful direction of Curtis Harrington. Much of the story's action takes place within the confines of the Colleigh house, but Harrington utilizes the virtually single setting to excellent effect, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that smothers the audience with dread.
½ May 6, 2009
this film supposedly takes place during winter (and everyone is talking about how cold it is)....and yet all the plantlife is green and full of life. also, the schmuck isn't blind at all...he's just got poor vision. with this film's logic, i'm blind when i'm not wearing my glasses, too. prescribe the fellow some bifocals and you've got the problem solved. anyway, this could've been something nifty...but instead it's mostly a bore-fest....especially since the 'shock' ending can be seen from a mile away. it's not even all that fun to mock things as you watch...they should re-name this film "how awful about the 74 minutes of your life you've lost watching this." i believe that's a much better title.
December 2, 2007
"How Awful" is right.....Theelements are there - great cast, great concept - but it manages to be the dullest thing ever.
"Olive. I can't see. I can't see. I'm blind."
½ June 24, 2007
Allan (Perkins), who has been suffering from hysterical blindness since the burning death of his father, is released from an asylum and into the care of his sister (Harris). But mysterious events start occuring around Allan, events that fill his blurry world with terror. Is he being haunted by the ghost of his dead father, is his sister trying to drive him insane, or is it all in his mind?

"How Awful About Allan" is a well-staged and perfectly paced modern-day gothic thriller. With a great cast--among which we see Anthony Perkins giving what might have been the best performance of his career--who were working with an intelligent and well-written script, and a director who knows how to deploy his entire arsenal of set design, cinematography, lighting, sound effects, and music to envoke a sense of mystery and dread.

Despite its humble (and sometimes obvious) television origins, this is a film worth seeking out by anyone who is a fan of gothic tales. ("How Awful About Allan" stands as one of the great achievements of the late Aaron Spelling.)



How Awful About Allan
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Julie Harris, and Joan Hackett
Director: Curtis Harrington
½ April 7, 2007
Spooky but unimpressive, with Anthony Perkins giving yet another hollow repeat of his "Psycho" role. It's not too bad but nothing out of the ordinary.
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