The Hypnotic Eye (1960)
The Screaming Sleep
Nomination Year: 2004
SYNOPSIS: Actually, I never intended this to be a Smithee film. I bought it off eBay for my own hypnosis collection. But when I watched it, of course, my Smithee-sense started tingling so badly that I could not resist. It's SO bad in the way we love that I'd be derelict of duty not to include it, despite the harm it may do to my erstwhile profession. At least there was ONE character in it who, astoundingly, treated the subject with some semblance of my own philosophy. The plot: Detective Steve is baffled by a rash of beautiful women who've been horribly mutilating themselves. There seems to be no explanation, no connection. But shortly after Steve, his girlfriend Marcia, and her best friend Dodie go out to a stage hypnotist's show, Dodie ends up as the next victim. Could the fact that she was one of the hypnotized volunteers on stage have anything to do with it? Nah. Couldn't be. Oh, and in case you're wondering: yes, the hypnotist is the evil bad guy. But at least this time he's only the lesser of two baddies. Uh, kind of.
- Acting Appropriately Stupid
"Let's Wait 'Til They Have Sex and He Drags Out the Body--Then We'll HAVE Him!"
I have to admit this is probably my favorite clip. It's well into "the Plan" and things seem to be backfiring. Marcia doesn't appear to be investigating Desmond so much as going on an actual date with him and responding to his advances. The two heroes follow the couple discreetly as they go back to her place. They watch from the street as, clearly silhouetted in the window, Desmond and Marcia share a lingering, passionate kiss. This is (finally) too much for our square-jawed hero. He begins to open the car door to put a stop to this. But Dr. Phil, watching the window the whole time, puts out an arm and says, "Let's give 'em a few more minutes." What the hell is HE waiting to see? And, bizarrely, the detective complies! He just slides back into the car seat and sulks.
- Crummiest Ending
"Don't Let Yourself Vomit with Disgust, Even in a Movie Theater."
Okay, here's the plot in a nutshell. After crashing Desmond's show, our heroes learn that it was Desmond's female assistant Justine, not Desmond, who was the "real" baddie. She's insane, you see, and wishes to wipe out all beautiful faces. They shoot Desmond anyway. Justine's cornered up on the backstage scaffolding with a hypnotized Marcia. "But why?" asks Dr. Phil. "You would, too, if you had a face like mine!" she answers. "But...your face is beautiful!" says Dr. Phil. "If you like it so much--you can HAVE it!" she screams, and rips off her false face to reveal hideous disfigurement underneath. They shoot her. She falls and dies. No explanation of how she was disfigured. No explanation of her hold over Desmond or why he hypnotized all those women for her (no, he was not himself hypnotized by Justine--that much seems clear). Then, as soon as all the bodies are lying reasonably still, Dr. Phil trots out onto center stage as if he'd forgotten something important. He did: he forgot to sermonize...to BOTH audiences. "Ladies and Gentlemen! Hypnosis is a therapeutic tool," is the gist of what he says, "And you should never allow yourself to be hypnotized by anyone except a licensed psychologist or medical doctor." God, I love him at this point. But then, he loses me. He turns to the camera and with a sly, roguish expression just short of a wink, he adds: "Even in a motion picture theater." AAARGH.
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