Strait-Jacket could be summoned up as a chip off the old Bloch. Writer Robert Bloch’s Psycho, that is. In crossing the basic plot design of that 1960 Bloch-buster with the instrument of murder (the axe) and at least one of the ramifications of the celebrated Lizzie Borden case, Bloch has provided the grisly ingredients for producer-director William Castle to concoct some marketable ‘chop’ suey.
Heads really roll in this yarn, which commences with a dual hatchet job on a cheating husband and his lady friend who are discovered bedroominating by the wife (Joan Crawford), whose three-year-old daughter witnesses in horror the 40 some odd whacks per victim administered by her mother. Mom goes to the insane asylum and daughter grows up into Diane Baker. They are reunited 20 years later when mom is released.
Crawford does well by her role, delivering an animated performance. Baker is pretty and histrionically satisfactory as her daughter. Some of Castle’s direction is stiff and mechanical, but most of the murders are suspensefully and chillingly constructed.