Spoiler Alert! Just in case anybody missed yesterday’s.
As I said, Steven and I began watching The Power of the Whistler in hopes that it was a sequel to The Whistler. The movie begins with the same mysterious shadow and whistling. Well, that meant either it was a sequel or the same movie re-released under a different title. I was worried for a minute. Then I saw that the names were different. And that The Power of the Whistler was not directed by William Castle. So it didn’t have the same cheesy bonafides. Still, we could give it a chance.
Same Whistler voiceover to begin with. He introduces this guy going into a restaurant and sitting at the bar. Seated at a table nearby are two girls, one with date. Single girl, a gorgeous blond, has just beaten the other two soundly at gin and offers to tell their fortunes. The other girl, a cute but not as exciting brunette, declines, saying she likes to be surprised. Her date says he knows his future — kiss-kiss (don’t worry; they don’t spend the whole picture doing that).
So the blond says she’ll predict for “that handsome stranger at the bar” (I didn’t think he was such a much, but I suppose we can’t all be George Clooney). Twice in a row she pulls the ace of spades followed by the two of clubs. Death within 24 hours! Naturally she follows the guy out of the bar to tell him. Talk about meet cute! It gets better: he has amnesia and has no idea who he is. What’s a girl to do? Try to track down the mystery, of course, with clues found in the allegedly handsome man’s pockets.
We were about 20 minutes into the movie when I made the note, “We haven’t heard anybody whistling and nobody’s dead yet.” Shortly after that, things started to get a little more interesting, building up into creepy then scary. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will warn you: animals are injured (of course, I hope they were only acting, but this was back in the day). Animals getting killed is always creepier than people. I mean, when people get killed in a movie, the other characters tend to do something about it. When an animal gets killed — even a beloved pet — the characters just get upset and the audience takes it as a portent.
The solution to the guy’s identity is actually pretty clever, and it is arrived at by logical steps taken by the characters not who’da-thunk-it coincidences. The brunette (it’s blondie’s sister) and her boyfriend return in small but pivotal roles. Neither girl is a completely useless movie female (you know, the kind that does nothing but scream and get rescued), so I liked that. And the climax was suspenseful.
We never did hear any whistling. The Whistler comes back at the end as a voiceover wrapping things up in a vague kind of way. I thought it was kind of funny that in the first movie he (apparently) went around shooting people in a helpful fashion, but in the movie titled The Power of the Whistler he is only a framing device.
On the whole, I liked Power better than I liked The Whistler. It moved faster and there was more to it. But neither movie was a waste of time (I suppose for me no movie is a complete waste of time, because I can get a blog post out of the dullest). In conclusion I would say, if you see a mysterious shadow and hear whistling at the beginning of a movie, you might want to give it a chance.