1968's PRETTY POISON starring Anthony "Psycho" Perkins and former teen tease Tuesday Weld is a much-wanted cult fave not on DVD in Region 1 (USA). With no fanfare, it's now available as a Region 1 but without director Noel Black's better than average commentary on the Region 2 import (Amazon UK).
Adapted by Lorenzo Semple, Jr., from Stephen Geller's twisted love story "She Let Him Continue," opens with Perkins' Dennis Pitt being released from a psychiatric institution or prison for committing arson. The probation officer warns: "You're going into a real, tough world. It's no place for fantasies." First thing Dennis sees when he settles in a small town is seductive, pouty Sue Ann Stepanek (Weld), a girl with serious attitude problems, in her majorette outfit. Uh oh.
This deliciously demented black comedy focuses on what happens when two pathologies collide. It's a forerunner to movies like Bonnie and Clyde, Badlands and Blue Velvet.
Perkins and Weld have great chemistry as the two dodgy lovebirds. She merrily lets him pretend he's a CIA agent but deviously manipulates his fantasies to her own ends.
Beverly Garland is Weld's sexually charged, domineering mom. But it's Perkins and Weld at their best that make this rare gem from the 60s worth finding. I liked director Noel Black's forthright commentary on the Region 2 version (Amazon UK). Wonder why it's missing on the US version?
Rated: R (Originally X in the UK). Genre: Crime Thriller/Romance. 1 Hour, 29 Minutes. Starring: Tuesday Weld, Anthony Perkins, Beverly Garland. Director: Noel Black