Friday, November 18, 2016

13 Frightened Girls

Director - William Castle (Macabre, House on Haunted Hill)
Starring - Kathy Dunn (Days of Our Lives, Ride with Terror), Murray Hamilton (The Golden Girls, The Amityville Horror), and Hugh Marlowe (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Earth vs. the Flying Saucer)
Release Date - 1963
Genre - Crime/Mystery
Tagline - "The big fright.  The eerie sight"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     If Roger Corman is known as the King of the B-Movies then William Castle is known as the King of Horror Gimmicks.  During The Tingler he paid people to get up and scream in the theater as if something was crawling up their backs.  With Homicidal he had the coward's corner where people who were afraid could leave and request a refund.  With 13 Ghosts he created a special view finder so those that believe in ghosts could see the ones in the film while those that were afraid could not.  Castle was so known for his horror gimmicks that even his non-horror projects was billed as horror and his gimmicks were applied.  Case in point, 13 Frightened Girls.  13 Frightened Girls was billed as a horror film but was actually a Cold War spy film that followed a teenage daughter of a diplomat.  The film was the second film in a William Castle Double Feature from Mill Creek Entertainment with 13 Ghosts.
     The film follows the teenage Candy Hull (Dunn) who is the daughter of an American diplomat who goes to an all girl school with the daughter of the leaders from several other countries.  He father is friends with an intelligence agent and she begins to fall in love with him.  She falsely believes that he is a master spy and attempts to become a spy herself.  She goes under the guise of Kitten and finds out she is very good at it especially considering she goes to a school with the daughters of other world leaders.  She uses her connections to get top secret information but this comes at a price.  The other countries then want Kitten's head on a platter and it is up to her father and the intelligence agent to keep her alive.
     I went into 13 Frightened Girls thinking it was a horror flick.  The poster work and title is very misleading.  That fact that it was paired with 13 Ghosts only added to the horror element.  Instead, the film is a spy drama speared with comedy and set directly in the middle of the Cold War.  The film is not bad by any means but proper marketing would get the viewer in the right mindset before seeing it.  The acting is great.  The relatively unknown Kathy Dunn is fantastic in the role as Candy Hull.  Her imdb is depressing.  We only have a handful of credits to her name which is a crime.  She was great and really could have made a name for herself but stepped away from acting to pursue something else.  Her supporting cast is great but her charm and brilliance made her the star.  The story for this one has a good mixture of drama, comedy, and espionage.  The film tosses in some laughs here and there to break up the film's story before tossing in a little action and some twists.  The film does have some dry spots but the humor does move it along.  Finally, the action in this one is light and the action we do get is quickly cut or happens off screen.  A film like this is expected to have action and this one is watered down.  Overall, 13 Frightened Girls is a fun Cold War comedy that has some fun characters and some entertaining moments.  Sadly, it does not work well paired with 13 Ghosts.    

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