I Saw What You Did is pretty low key for a William Castle production. No skeletons in vats of acid, no ghosts, no axe murderers. Not a fear-eating parasite or pyrotechnic insect in sight. This is more of the kind of story Lois Duncan might have written.

In fact, I Saw What You Did was based on a novel called Out of the Dark, by Ursula Curtiss. Curtiss also wrote the source novel for What Ever Happened To Aunt Alice.

Two teens are playing at phone pranks: "I saw what you did. I know who you are". Their fun turns deadly when they call a man who has just murdered his wife. Titillated, the girls want to learn more about the man, who they think is interested in romance.

Joan Crawford chews scenery as the murderer's mistress. She isn't nearly as demented as she is in Castle's Strait-Jacket, but she displays a nice, gaudy amount of hysteria. Despite star billing, Crawford has a minor role. This isn't her best Hagspoitation movie role.

I enjoyed I Saw What You Did, but it's a pretty trivial little movie. As typical for William Castle, don't expect world class filmmaking. The film is shot in a rote, artless style. It's hard to believe Cinematographer Joseph Biroc was Director of Photography of such big league productions as Viva Las Vegas, Airplane!, Blazing Saddles, Bye Bye, Birdie, Brian's Song, The Longest Yard, and...It's a Wonderful Life! Then again, Biroc also worked on The Amazing Colossal Man, Donovan's Brain, and Red Planet Mars. In those days a pro took the work that came his way.

Most egregious is Van Alexander's annoying score. He was a sitcom regular and the music he used in I Saw What You Did grates between silly and sinister. Any moment of tension is usurped by abrupt change of mood.

It's easy to criticize I Saw What You Did, but I find the movie engaging. There's a comfortable pajama party atmosphere, and while the teen girls are not award-winners, they pull off their roles well enough. A tyke kid sister is a little better. John Ireland and Leif Erickson are solid character actors whose performances lend credibility to the film.

If you are interested in the wacky world of William Castle, go with House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler, Mr. Sardonicus, or Homicidal first. If you are still awake, dial up I Saw What You Did.

Written by Mark Sieber

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