HIDDEN HORROR: “How Awful About Allan”

HowAwfulAboutAllen-Edde1Perhaps one of the greatest unknown made-for-TV horror films of the 1970s is the Anthony Perkins feature “How Awful About Allan.” While the film is pretty dated, it is still a bit creepy and should appeal to any old-school horror fan, particularly if they’re fans of films like “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” and so on. This film also has psychological horror elements comparable to films such as “I Bury the Living,” “Magic,” and even “The Twilight Zone.”

The film opens up with a house fire that Allan (Anthony Perkins) tries to save his father from, unfortunately failing. Fast forward some time later and Allan is being released from a mental institute because he is unstable because of the fire and his father perished in it. Allan is now blind as well. It is also revealed that Allan unintentionally started the house fire. He returns home with his sister Katherine (who now has an ugly facial scar from the fire) but she begins to worry that they may have let him leave the hospital too soon. At night when Allan tries to sleep a shadowy figure calling his name begins to terrify him. Allan does not know if the shadowy figure is a figment of his mind or if it has something to do with his sister Katherine. Katherine is also renting a room of their house to a mysterious man. So it could be that Catherine holds a grudge Allan because of her ugly scar and because he caused the fire that killed their dad. Allan must reach the conclusion of the mystery and find the truth.

Despite this film’s stupid name it’s a pretty damn good film. It has great acting from all the cast (including Anthony Perkins of course). If you are a gore hound you will be disappointed with this film. Fans of psychological or old school horror will be satisfied with this film. This film depends on dread and atmosphere, kind of like Rosemary’s Baby or I Bury the Living. The shadowy figure calling “Alllaaann” is a little creepy too. While watching this film and seeing Anthony Perkins one cannot help but think about Psycho and his performance as Norman Bates but if you can get over that aspect you will be pleased.

One more interesting aspect of this film is that it was obviously done with a small budget and only shot in 10 days. While watching this feature you cannot tell because of how fine the cast’s performances are and what an enjoyable watch this film is. This film is a pretty quick watch too clocking in at about 70 minutes. Another interesting aspect is that for some reason Anthony Perkins wanted to be nearly blind while shooting this film so he had contact lenses on that he was barely able to see out of! This is a great film to say the least. Don’t let this film’s dumb title or age scare you away. Even if you don’t care for old movies or this film is not your style you should still check it out. An enjoyable film to say the least.

-Dakota Bailey


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