Released in 1966 and promoted with no gimmicks, Let’s Kill Uncle (also known as Let’s Kill Uncle Before Uncle Kills Us) represents a subdued William Castle. Twelve-year-old Barnaby Harrison (Pat Cardi) has just inherited a small fortune after his father is killed in a car accident. Now orphaned, accompanied by Sgt. Frank Travis (Robert Pickering), Barnaby is sent off to an island to start a new life under the watchful eye of his uncle and guardian, Major Kevin Harrison (Nigel Green), a former commando in the British Armed Forces, he’s also authored a book entitled, ‘Killing the Enemy.’
Among the handful of inhabitants on the island are Justine (Linda Lawson), a single woman, and her niece Chrissie (Mary Badham). Initially, Chrissie doesn’t get along with Barnaby at at all. Things change when Barnaby learns that Kevin intends to kill him so that he can inherit the multi-million-dollar fortune. Of course, uncle has every intention of making it look like an accident, so he doesn’t raise any suspicions. When Chrissie, who doesn’t come from money at all, learns of this plot, she teams up with Barnaby to save him from the Major, who comes up with one devious plan after another to get rid of his nephew. Chrissie quickly realizes that the only way Barnaby is to survive this is if they kill Uncle Kevin first. As such, the race is on.
With the Sergeant and Chrissie’s aunt never seeming to be around, the kids explore the island and roam through the jungle as the Major stalks them. He fills a swimming pool with hungry shark, among other attempts on the kids’ lives while they try to kill him with poison and by emptying the gas tank of his airplane.
Nigel Green’s performance is hardly sinister, which might have to do with Castle’s direction. Even while plotting terrible things, it doesn’t seem like his heart is in it. There’s no malevolence. Cardi is a capable actor but is burdened with some lousy dialogue. At times, his Barnaby seems clever beyond his years, at other times hopelessly naïve. Mary Badham is a strong sidekick as she becomes a conspirator with Barnaby to murder Uncle Kevin.
The premise of the film is a good one, but the execution is too simple to be interesting. There’s no real suspense as the life-or-death competition gets underway. It never feels real, and the ending is a complete disappointment. William Castle missed some opportunities to provide some of the genuine scares he was known for.
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, Kino Lorber Studio Classics 1080p transfer is solid. The image is clean and clear. There’s a nice amount of natural film grain, and not much in the way of print damage. Colors look good, and black levels are strong. Detail, depth, and texture are better than average. There are no compression issues, noise reduction, or edge enhancement issues.
The DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track is a bit flat in spots but sounds clean and well balanced. There are no hisses, pops, or distortions.
English subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Audio Commentary with Film Historian Kat Elinger and Film Historian Mike McPadden
- Featurette: “Mr. Castle and Me” – An interview with actor Pat Cardi.
- Two Trailers for the film
Let's Kill Uncle (1966)
Movie title: Let"s Kill Uncle
Director(s): William Castle
Actor(s): Nigel Green, Mary Badham, Pat Cardi , Robert Pickering, Linda Lawson , Ref Sanchez
Genre: Horror, Thriller