"The telephone was the star of my next film," writes William Castle in his autobiography Step Right Up! I'm Gonna Scare the Pants Off America as he describes I Saw What You Did, a lightweight thriller about two schoolgirls... more » and a prank phone call that backfires with a vengeance. When the girls whisper "I saw what you did, and I know who you are" to a perfect stranger, little do they know he has just murdered his wife and is now out to silence any witnesses. An aging John Ireland plays the homicidal husband and Joan Crawford has little more than a cameo as an amorous neighbor turned blackmailer. Castle leaves the spook-show gimmicks and high-concept twists out of this thriller, which prefigures the teen scream genre by decades, but he proves to be little better than competent as a suspense director. When one of the girls continues to call the killerback, playing at grown-up with a breathy coo and a come-on air, the film shuffles through uncomfortable territory and emerges with an unaccountably cheery denouement. Castle is more at home as a showman, as his giddy, goofy House on Haunted Hill shows, than as a dime store Hitchcock, but the film does exhibit a little Castle flair, such as an inventive prologue framed in a pair of opening and closing eyes. --Sean Axmaker« less
Chuck or Frances M. from WHEELING, WV Reviewed on 8/28/2011...
I saw this with my cousins when I was a teen and I can remember my cousin screaming and I literally jumped out of my seat. This is an old fashioned scare that is incrediably good. I bought the vhs and watched it and found it still a wonderful scare, lent it to a friend and she loved it also. 5 stars plus.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Excellent Mix of Fright and Camp
Beth Fox | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I gave this movie five stars not because it is an Oscar-quality classic - far from it - but because it succeeds on its own terms. It is scary - very, very scary. (If you watch it at night, I dare you to go to sleep without double-checking that the doors are locked!) The over-the-top performances, particularly Joan Crawford's, are also unintentionally funny. It works because the camp does not diminish the fright and the scares do not get in the way of the hilarity. Why is this movie so scary? Others have mentioned the isolated farmhouse, the hazy atmosphere, the feeling of being alone, and the naiveté of the girls. Although some have criticized the teen-age actors, I think the story holds together because Libby and Kit's silly behavior (trying to appear sophisticated while really looking childish) is believable of 15-year-old girls then and now. Crawford, as a domineering neighbor, adds the camp. The slam-the-car-door scene is priceless! And have you ever seen a made-for-horror-movies necklace like the one Joan wears here?This is not a movie which could be made effectively now (a poor remake was made in 1988) because the plot devices demand a 1960s-type telephone system. Today, a parent calling up to check on a child could almost always ring through on "call waiting"; ripping a telephone out of a wall is meaningless in the age of cell phones; and "Caller ID" and "Call Return" should make phony phone calls a thing of the past. Even at the time, it required viewers to suspend logic to believe that Mrs. Mannering, hearing non-stop busy signals, would not demand an "emergency cut in," which did exist at the time, or that this middle-class family lacked an extension phone. But these are minor nits. The letterbox version now being sold is excellent. Make sure you see the trailers before and, especially, after the film. If you like this film, you will also like Strait Jacket, another Castle-Crawford pairing."
IF YOU WANT 'CAMP', THIS IS THE MOVIE FOR YOU!
John T. Howton | Atlanta, GA United States | 02/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want chilling, hilarious fun, this is most definitely entertainment at it's CAMPIEST best! Joan Crawford, as 'Amy', is totally filmed through gauze to soften the effects of her hard living & hard drinking years in Hollywood. Be sure to catch the scene where she is serving a cocktail & almost falls on her face! (And it wasn't even edited out! ) Notice the scene where she slams the car door & her beehive hairdo literally falls apart! When she screams, "Get outta here!", her voice sounds like an outraged truckdriver! The overacting is just priceless - every scene is better than the one before! Her long, dramatic death scene is done to the hilt! This is 'Mommie Dearest' to the MAX! I love this movie! Get out the popcorn, mix the cocktails, & get ready to be scared & to LAUGH your head off! We love you, William Castle! I give this film 5 Wire Hangers! It's absolutely TERRIFIC!"
If Hitchcock had directed The Patty Duke Show...
Steven Lambert | Arlington, TX USA | 09/30/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the days before caller ID when I was in my early teens, my friends and I would sometimes fight boredom by making prank phone calls: "Is your refrigerator running?", that sort of thing. That was when I first saw this movie on TV, so it really hit close to home. Did it teach me any lessons? Not unless you include a few new phone ideas, but it did give me a favorite guilty pleasure movie. After over 20 years of waiting it's finally on home video. Some of the humor and acting seem a little dated now, but most of the suspense scenes are very intense even by today's standards, and it's as much fun to watch as ever."
Pretty scary when you're 8 or 9!
'70s survivor | South Dakota,United States | 07/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My sister and I saw this at a Saturday matinee over 30 years ago. I was never so scared in my life. Two images that will FOREVER stay in my mind are when the killer is looking in the window and the girl sees him in a mirror...and then when she's trying to start the car...oh my goodness! I have not seen the DVD, but had purchased the video. It is much easier to watch now, but that scene of him peeking in the window still weirds me out!! Of course, it's pretty comical watching it now. But in its day it was pretty darn scary!!"
'70s survivor | 08/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie shows how an innocent prank can turn into horror if you do it to the wrong person.Even though the acting was a little weak(the 2 teenage girls),it was suspenseful.The shower scene was too much of a copy from psycho,but it did have some good moments.I loved the funky 60's music and there were some funny prank calls they made,my favorite was to Mr.Burger when the girl said, " I'm hungry, can I eat you".Buy this movie!!"