The Ninth Configuration (Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane) (1980)

The Ninth Configuration (Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this film, Army psychiatrist Stacy Keach tries to minister to the patients in a military mental hospital. The fact that the hospital is located in a brooding castle is hardly conducive to speedy recoveries. Nor does a barroom brawl indicate that Keach's approach to mental health is particularly workable.

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: William Peter Blatty
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 17, 2002



as Col. Kane

as Capt. Cutshaw

as Groper

as Fairbanks

as Nummack

as Spinell

as Lt. Gomez

as Sgt. Krebs

as First Cyclist

as Second Cyclist

as Highway Patrolman

as 1st General

as Priest

as Sergeant in Combat S...

as Driver

as Sergeant Gilman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Ninth Configuration (Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane)

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Critic Reviews for The Ninth Configuration (Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane)

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 15, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Obtuse thriller.

Full Review… | February 9, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

unusual dark comedy, with stacy keach at his best.

January 24, 2005
Classic Film and Television

Audience Reviews for The Ninth Configuration (Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Kane)


A Marx Brothers movie, with theology.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

30 years before the disappointing Shutter Island took viewers to a remote mental asylum with a world-turned-upside-down storyline, William Peter Blatty gave us this supremely fucked-up account of a Marine Corp Colonel (played rather brilliantly by the passive Stacy Keach) that is assigned to take over an asylum housing insane soldiers. Col. Kane is especially tuned to the story of a USMC Captain that went nuts right before NASA was supposed to send him to the moon. Throughout all this, Kane recounts how his brother was a sadistic mass-murderer in Vietnam and the backstory only comes to him (and us) in dreams. If you've seen Shutter Island, then you know where this one is going. After halfway through this movie, I hypothesized that this movie was either too fucking brilliant to be understood or too simple to enjoy. Towards the end, I knew it was the former one. VERY quotable, but not for everyone. My wife hated it. I loved it.

Derek Daniels

Super Reviewer


It's a considerable struggle to sit through this movie and the rewards don't really justify the trip, but for some reason I enjoyed it in all its tedium. This is probably to the credit of the magnificent Stacy Keach, who turns in an incredible performance here, and the fascinating premise. William Peter Blatty's unsure direction is a little bit threatening, as he can't really anchor the movie into realism (and despite its surreality it requires a presence in the normal world).

The initial mystery stays compelling even when the movie itself doesn't and has just enough life to push you through. If you enjoy a good psychological twist but find them too overdone nowadays, The Ninth Configuration should satisfy.

Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

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