DEADLY STRANGERS (1974) Haley Mills plays an escaped loony who seduces men and kills random people for no reason at all.

deadlystrangers_betaboxTheme Song: There is no music worth mentioning in this film.

Interesting Dated References: The ability to recline a passenger’s car seat for them as an act of politeness.

Best Line: Said by woman — “I can’t thank you enough.” Reply by male truck driver — “Wanna bet?”

Social Context: Although Haley Mills is an escaped mental patient, they don’t deal with the effectiveness of treatment or anything. You’d think they’d have at least put in a little commentary on the state of mental health in Brittian. But no, it’s just nonstop boring British drama/thriller action.

Summary: This has all the elements of a retitled movie, only as much as I searched around, I was unable to find it referenced under a different title anywere! My evidence of it being retitled is as follows: The movie opens with a typical mysterious killer escaping from an asylum-type scene, then goes into credits where we see cast members names displayed in a soft serif type font. Subtle enough, we go through some of the main stars and have a background that features the woods the escaped insane person is running through. Then we are suddenly exposed with bad, 8-bit font on solid black background. Obviously something is going on here, but what is most amazing is the lack of an attempt at covering it up.

This looks nothing like the typeface used in the cast credits. It features no background and is about as generic as you can get. Immediately after these we go right back into:

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The previous type treatment and wooded background. A classic example of title replacement in these old movies. But again, I could find no reference of this movie under a different title.

After the credits we see a panicked old couple thinking someone is in their home. They run to a girl’s room and find it a mess. Then we see a British guy stopping his car and using a pay phone. Pay phones were devices people used to contact other people before cellular telephones were invented. He is then knocked out and his car is stolen. Next up we see Disney mainstay Haley Mills looking for a ride to a bar, and some other British guy gawking at her. Haley gets into a truck with some driver who then tries to rape her in the rain. By “the rain” I actually mean “some guy off camera spraying a garden hose into the frame.” She escapes and is picked up by the guy who was gawking at her in the bar. Haley Mills was pretty cute at this stage in her life. She drives around with the mysterious guy for a bit. They talk about an escaped mental patient and the whole goal here is to convince us the guy is insane. Of course this clearly isn’t the case and we all know damn well Haley is the escaped mental patient.

So the English gawker guy takes Haley to the train station so she can catch a ride, but he mysteriously convinces her she missed the last train and she’ll have to stay somewhere with him. All the while Haley has some type of flashbacks of her riding a horse as a child and getting into some type of car accident that killed her parents. Then they stop for gas and Brit dude spies on some chick attendant changing her clothes. A few minutes later, through first-person camera, we see the attendant chick get killed. Again, we’re supposed to be suspecting the dude did it but we know better. Our two subjects sleep in the car for the night. In the morning Haley goes wandering off to find food and then Brit Guy wakes up and assumes she’s left, so he drives off. After Haley returns with groceries, she feeds a horse, and has some flashback about getting raped. Not by a horse but by some old guy. Not just any old guy, but Sterling Hayden. Here’s what Hayden was looking like at this point in his life:

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While this is all going on, Brit Guy looks at some dirty magazines:

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Suave old man tries to romance Haley some more with his awesome gravely voice and suave dialect. Then there’s a bunch of choppy editing and the old man disappears and Brit Guy reappears with Haley. Then the old man chases them around a parking garage. They lose him and then for yet another unexplained reason, the old man calls the police. Oh, and I forgot to mention the whole reason Brit Guy is acting like a criminal on the run is because Haley has convinced him he killed some biker when he rammed them.

There’s nothing going on here. Haley and Brit Guy go to a bar, they see one of the bikers, and then they run. Again, let’s assume this is all because Brit Guy thinks he killed the other biker. The Brit Guy fantasizes about Haley getting undressed.

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Far out. Then they get a hotel and Haley has some more rape fantasies/flashbacks. Then Brit Guy spies on some more chicks changing into their underwear. This includes a nude and cigarette-smoking Haley Mills which seems to be the only reason people care about this movie. Later we learn Haley was the asylum escapee as she chokes Brit Guy to death while reliving some rape flashback. I sure am saying rape flashback a lot during this review. Then the cops show up and take Haley back to the asylum.

Poster and Box Art: The box art is really confusing. It almost looks like the sketch for a real poster that was never made. It’s like a rough draft they just decided to use it for the actual art. Of course, with the crazy alternate-seeming title, who knows what the hell happened.

Availability: There are used VHS all over the place, but because the tape is rare and features a nude Haley mills, dealers seem to think you’ll pay like $50 for it.

2 comments

  • I’m watching this movie right now as I write this. sterling Hayden just showed up lol
    I’m really enjoying this very weirdly edited britsploitation!
    I will consider your bastard title theory when I watch it again tomorrow. Recommended!

  • i have that sample as my fucking voicemail. its awesome to know where its from. and its a billion times more awesome to realize it was sterling hayden the whole time

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