Poor Anthony Perkins. He played one psycho and then another within a few years of each other and the guy got typecast for the rest of his career. I must say that Pretty Poison's Dennis Pitt is to Psycho's Norman Bates what a firecracker is to the big bang.

Orphan Pitt is fresh out of jail after spending some time inside for burning down his aunt's house when he was a kid. Unfortunately for him (and her) she was inside the house when it went up. It was only an accident, but his weird personality is what really damns him.

He fancies himself as a bit of a Billy Liar. His life is boring and uneventful out of jail so he concocts elaborate fantasies to keep himself going and to make people interested in him. With the exception of his concerned parole officer, it works mostly for people who come and go.

That is until he meets pretty high school senior Sue Ann Stepanek (Tuesday Weld) and goes a bit too far with his fibbing. This time, he says he's in the CIA and his mission is to stop a local factory from polluting a river. It's a noble plan but once he involves Sue Ann she becomes homicidal and takes too much pleasure in offing a security guard.

Obviously freaked out by the turn of events, Pitt is unsure what to do, especially since Sue Ann has just declared her undying love for him. Any sensible guy would head for the hills, but Dennis is just a bit too naive. You'll definitely feel sorry for the guy. He even gets roped into helping the increasingly mad Sue Ann carry out even more dirty deeds.

It's obvious that the film isn't headed for a happy ending and it's not even an easy watch getting there. Perkins is brilliant as Dennis Pitt and you'll be on his side the whole time and really feeling for him and his huge innocent eyes and nervous twitches and ticks that become more and more obvious. His only real crime is falling for the wrong girl. Once again, it's his weird personality that ends up damning him.

If you're a guy, the lesson is don't fall in love with the wrong girl, no matter how pretty she is. It's the pretty ones that end up being the most poisonous. Trust me. The Gator knows. If you're a girl, the lesson is don't be a bitch. Pretty much all guys are innocent until a woman comes along and screws them up. Prove me wrong, kiddies. Prove me wrong.

Reviewed on: 14 Sep 2005
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Pretty Poison packshot
Falling for the wrong girl can be fatal.
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Director: Noel Black

Writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr., based on the novel by Stephen Geller

Starring: Anthony Perkins, Tuesday Weld, Beverly Garland, John Randolph, Dick O'Neill, Clarice Blackburn, Joseph Bova, Ken Kercheval, Don Fellows

Year: 1968

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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