4 and a half stars    

directed by: Shaun O'Riordan
starring: Julie Sommars, Robert Lang, Anthony Steel, Tony Selby, Ken Jones, Geoffrey Whitehead, Susan Tracy, Colin Haigh, Patrick Connor, Robert Oates

choice dialogue:

"We're looking for a needle in a haystack - a nut!"

The police come up empty handed.

slash with panache?

[review by Justin Kerswell]

Having been pleasantly traumatised at an impressionable age by the early 80’s quasi-slasher TV movie, DON’T GO TO SLEEP (1982), I was intrigued to hear about an equally frightening small screen horror from the 70s. I’M THE GIRL HE WANTS TO KILL is part of Brian Clemens’ seemingly giallo inspired THRILLER series, which scared and, er, thrilled a legion of late night owls throughout the decade that taste (supposedly) forgot.

The plot is simplicity itself. A silent killer (Robert Lang), wearing white sneakers, has been slashing to death women in London. However, a young American woman, Anne (Julie Sommars), returns home to her flat and bumps into the killer on the stairs. She doesn’t realise the significance of this until she finds the dead body of her neighbour lying in her door way. The police interview her, and she’s able to give them a good impression of the murderer.

Months go by and the killer remains uncaught. The crimes appear completely motiveless. Anne, however, has started up a romance with the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Tanner (Tony Selby). She works as a secretary at Parker Industries, in a high rise office, for a highflying boss who says glamorous 70's type things like, “There’s a plane waiting to whisk me off to the fleshpots of Munich!”. Whilst window-shopping for an engagement ring, Anne spots the killer working in the jewelers– but worse, he spots her! Anne flees with the killer in hot pursuit. She makes it back to the office, but is unable to tell whether he’s followed her or not. Phoning her fiancé, she’s relieved to find out that they’ve apprehended the killer near to where she works. Or have they?

The last two-thirds of I’M THE GIRL HE WANTS TO KILL is simply an extended chase sequence – but it works beautifully. It goes without saying, the police haven’t caught the right person (it’d be a very short film if they had!). Anne is alone in Parker Towers after everyone else has gone home for the evening. The only other people in the building are Sam (Ken Jones) the doorman, and the killer, who has sneaked in and is intent on eliminating Anne once and for all.

The THRILLER series were hour-long suspense and horror segments. Like most of the installments released onto American video, I’M THE GIRL HE WANTS TO KILL was extended towards feature length by a gratuitously inconsistent opening sequence, where we see the credits unroll as the white-sneakered killer stalks another woman before slashing her up in her shower (dig that carpet that goes right up the side of the tub!). What really marks this out as being filmed after the original features is the fact that you only see feet (like a cross between a foot fetishist’s wet dream and every Doris Wishman film I’ve ever seen!). However, what I’M THE GIRL HE WANTS TO KILL may lack in length it more than makes up for with suspense. In fact, it packs in more nail biting, pulse pounding action than 12 run-of-the-mill slasher flicks. It hands down beats those other office based slashers such as OFFICE KILLER (1997), Fred Walton's TRAPPED (1989) (which plays pretty much like a remake of this film), and the admittedly cheesetastic models and murders opus HARD TO DIE (1990).

Like all the best psychos the killer here remains silent (apart from one creepily effective scene where Anne tries to make a plea for help with the office’s antiquated telephone system); and despite his mundane, nondescript appearance, he is surprisingly menacing. The tension is racked up mercilessly as Anne, knowing that she is not alone, plays a tense game of cat ‘n’ mouse with the killer and the office’s two lifts. Even her huge glasses can’t protect her from his murderous advances – most notably as he looms, Michael Myers’ like into the frame, as she backs into an office – plus there’s a stellar jump scene to boot. And, of course, the icing on the suspense cake is not knowing whether Sergeant Tanner and the rest of the police will figure out they’ve fingered the wrong guy and get to Anne in time!

Ace 70s TV horror. Thoroughly recommended and now available for the first time on (Region 2) DVD along with all the episodes of THRILLER.


BODYCOUNT 4  bodycount!   female:3 / male:1

       1) Female slashed to death in the shower (American version)
       2) Female stabbed in the stomach
       3) Female found dead (method unseen)
       4) Male stabbed in the stomach