Crucible of Horror (1971) - full transcript

An upper-class English home is ruled over by a sadistic, domineering father; the terrorized mother and her teenage daughter decide to plan a way to kill him. He is a stockbroker who takes great pleasure in making his wife's and daughter's lives a living hell. They drug and poison him, then dispose of his body. The mother is plagued by dreams of horror on the night of the murder, and continually sees visions of him. Their plan then seems to backfire when he comes back to life; he is seen the next day sitting at the breakfast table, acting his normal self, leaving his wife looking on in abject terror. The question is: did they go ahead with the murder, or was it just a dream? - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
(light music)

(tense music)


(gate clacking)

- [Walter] Jane, you're late.

Where have you been?

- [Jane] Out.

(tense music)


(light music)

Do you like it?

(cat mewing)

(music intensifying)

(dramatic music)

(light music)


- Edith?


Don't be late for dinner please.

You have 12 minutes.

(car revving)

- Before, the report
on the insurance merger

was tucked away, rather.

- [Walter] No doubt,
the responsible papers

will give it space.

- Yes, of course.

- Did you remember my commission?

A roll of canvas?

- [Rupert] Oh god.

- I don't think he would be interested.

I was interested.

(glass clinking)

- Please stop, Jane.

- Well, I shall have to go.

Jane will come with me.

- Where did you go on your bicycle?

- [Jane] To see Eleanor.

- Eleanor, who is she?

- I can't keep on explaining

who my various friends are.

They're just friends.

Not that I expect to keep my friends.

- Why not?

Why won't you keep your friends?

- [Jane] They get fed up paying for me.

- No, I can't manage duck.

- [Walter] Just a little piece of breast.

- You've given me the leg.

- And some breast.

- It doesn't matter which
part, I can't manage it.

(plate clacking)

(servant shouting
indistinctly in distance)

- I suppose there were times
when wigs were fashionable.

- [Rupert] Beastly habit in my view.

- Extremely expensive things.

Can you imagine the days
when a man shaved his head

and then crowned it
with a lice-ridden wig?

- [Jane] Why lice-ridden?

- They were filthy.

They have no conception of hygiene.

- Couldn't Jane take another good job?

That is if we can't afford
to give her any pocket money.

- She has everything she wants at home.

- Sooner or later she's going to work.

People do.

- What qualifications has she got?

- [Jane] A basketful.

- And she hasn't even
got her A levels yet.

- There's no need for all
young people to work nowadays.

Except for servants.

Now I think they should be conscription,

for all young women from
18 to 20 as domestic help.

They might be more use then.

There'd be fewer cases of
illegitimate birth, I should say.

- I'm not bloody interested
in what you should say.

(bell ringing)

- She's congenitally deaf, that woman.

Answer the door, will you?

- [Servant] What?

Well which do you want,

the door or your souffle?

- What?

- [Servant] Which do you want-

(door slamming)

Bolshevism below stairs.

- I could have told you.

(bell ringing)

- Jane, answer the bell, will you?

(rain pattering)

- Your dad in?

- Yeah.

- Well, I'd like to see him.

- You'd be unpopular if you do.

The souffle's coming up.

- [Gregson] Where were you?

- When?

- Well, you said you'd drop
by the club this afternoon.

Didn't you?

Not interested eh?

I mean, my calling now?

- Look.

Do you insist on seeing father?

- Yes I do.

- Okay, I'll tell him.

- Don't ask me in, will you,

I mean it's damn wet!

- Just come in, don't be so bloody stupid.

It's Mr. Gregson from the golf club.

- Well, what does he want?

- To see you.

- Now?

- I presume so.

- Where is he?

- In the hall,

making a puddle.

- [Walter] Well I guess we might as well,

just tell him to wait in my study.

- In there.

Why don't you shave that thing off?

- Is it the one with the moon face?

- [Jane] Yes.

- Gregson is a friend of mine.

- [Jane] He just kissed me.

- What do you mean?

- [Jane] I mean he grabbed hold of me

and jammed his great face into mine.

- [Rupert] Rubbish.

- [Jane] He's got a mustache
like a carpet sweeper.

(cutlery clinking)

(door clacking and slamming)

- Ah, Gregson, sit down.

- [Gregson] I'm good, no thanks.

- We've just been having dinner.

- Ah, I daresay.

- Well, what is it, my dear chap?

- Your daughter stole 50 pounds in tenners

and 18 and six in cash
from the golf club safe.

You want me to repeat it?

- No.

You mean you saw her?

- No, my secretary saw her.

She told me, naturally.

- When?

- Yesterday.
- Yesterday?

- Yes.

- Why didn't you come yesterday?

- I didn't, I was thinking about it.

- What the bloody hell
was the safe doing open?

- [Gregson] What?

- Are you going to tell me

that she blew it up with gel igniter?

- Well I was only out of
the office a few minutes,

so one hardly expects this sort of thing.

Ah, thanks.

- Do you usually kiss
people who steal your money?

She said you kissed her just now.

I have no doubt it's not the first time.

- Well that's ridiculous, really.

She better look out, that girl,

soon she's gonna be in trouble.

- She's 16.

- So I believe.

- You deny it then?

- Certainly, I deny it.

- I have no doubt she will deny the theft.

- Oh, for god's sake!

I've told you.

I've got my secretary's word for it.

- Well.

- Well, since we're
supposed to be friends,

- Of course.

- We just pay me back the money

and no more need to be said.

But it's got to be now.

That's dance ticket money,

it's gotta be put back straight away.

- [Walter] Yes.

- She probably hasn't spent it, certainly.

- That part of it doesn't matter to me.

I will give you the money.

No kidding about this.

- Not a bit crazy.

Thank you.

- Keep away from her.

- What did you say?

- My daughter.


- Well I don't want her at all.

Well, never.

I wouldn't.

- [Walter] Good night, then.

- Don't thank me, will you?

- [Walter] Oh I do thank you, of course.

Very good of you, very good.

- Little bitch.

Little cur.

(switch clicking)

- [Walter] The coffee is cold, I expect.

Jane, pour me a cup, will you?

- I'll go upstairs, if you don't mind.

- [Walter] Come unwell?

What's wrong with the drawing room?

- I don't like the chints.

- Chints.
- You chose it.

- What did he want?

- Huh?

Oh, Gregson.

To sell me some dance tickets.

The man's indefatigable.

(light music)

(glass clacking)

(lightly tense music)


- Come in.

- What makes you think
that you can get away

with a thing like that?

Have you spent the money?

If not, just give it to me.

- [Jane] I haven't got it.

- [Walter] Just give it to me.

- Go away.

(Jane screaming)

(lash whooshing)
(Jane screaming)

- [Walter] Huh!

That should stop your thieving anyway.

(Jane whimpering)

- What's she done this time?

- Stealing.

- Jane.


Are you all right?


(suds squishing)

(softly tense music)

- [Mysterious Voices] Edith.



Edith, go to sleep.



You should be proud.

(voices talking over each other)

Yes, yes.

Yes, yes, yes.




(birds chirping)

- Did you shut the garden door?

It's not all that warm.

- Yes, of course.

Did you sleep well?

- Thank you, yes.

- [Walter] Good morning, Jane.

- Good morning.

- [Rupert] Good morning.

- Good morning, Rupert.

- I wanted to see you before you left.

- Oh, why particularly?

- I wouldn't like you
to think me a coward.

- Oh, I don't think that.

- That's good then.

Can I have my money back?

- No, you may not have my money back.


- Do you think you could bear
it to make less noise eating?

- [Rupert] The bacon's overdone.

- People seem to cross the Atlantic

in smaller and smaller things.

I can't think why they
don't bicycle across.

- Why shouldn't they?

- Imagine what the
insurance premium must be

on those things.

Racing yachts and so on.

Mind you, I don't know the figure.

- Damn less bother to find out.

Spread the load, that's the
principle of marine insurance.

Don't you ever forget it.

- I don't.

- [Edith] Rupert.

- Yes mother?

- Would you get me the canvas today?

- Yes, mother.

- Try and get a decent bit
of beef for the weekend.

The butcher down there is hopeless.

Coming with me today?

- [Rupert] Yes, sure.

Must have a talk with you about-

(door shutting)

- Did you approach Richardson about it?

- Should I have done?

- Oh, he's handling it.

- There's no hope we could
change the solicitor?

He's dreadfully out of date in my opinion.

- Possibly, but very sound.

- Let's kill him.

- You...

You're joking.

- I'm not joking.

(melancholy music)

(door clacking)

(Rupert and Walter talking
indistinctly in distance)

- As for these floors, you mean?

It's gonna cost a pirate lease

to have it beaten out and respread.

(lock clacking)

(water trickling)



- [Edith] Yes?

- Open it, will you?


- I'm changing!

- [Walter] Where's Jane?

- [Edith] With me.

- [Walter] Ask her to go to her room.

- No.

- My clean shirt?

- [Edith] She's gone.

- What?

- Your servant, gone.

(door clacking)

- Sherry, mother?

- [Edith] No, thank you.

(tense music)

(closet clattering)

- [Rupert] It's totally
interesting day in the city.

- [Edith] Was it?

- [Rupert] Well a merger
of course, what else?

The whole place was humming with it.

- Yeah?

- Why, don't you find it important?

Father would.

(tense music)

Did you say you would or you wouldn't?

- [Edith] What, Rupert?

- [Rupert] The sherry.

- Who touched my guns?

- [Rupert] Has somebody touched them?

- Yes.

Tell Jane to come down.

- [Edith] She doesn't want anything now.

- Rupert.

- [Rupert] You're to come down.

- I'm not coming.

- Come on.

Come on!

- No, I won't!

You little ruffian!

Rotten taste of nervous greed!

Get out, go!

Go, tell him I hit you, you!

Thief, ruffian, get out!

Get out!

- You're mad!

You're mad!
- Get out!

- [Walter] Well?

- She's not coming down.

- Leave her, will you?

- [Walter] The fog's
messed up the weekend.

No hope of getting to the cottage tonight.

- Neither Jane nor I are
coming for the weekend.

- [Walter] Oh, why not?

- We both want the weekend here.

- I'll go alone then, tomorrow, early.

I'm not gonna miss the shooting.

Are you sure you can't change your plan?

- I'm sorry, I'd like to.

But you know the Andersons.

We can't afford to offend them.

- You'll give Mrs.
Roberts her instructions

for the weekend?

- Instructions?

- To look after me down at the cottage

since you aren't going to be there.

(bird squawking)

(hooves clopping)

- Hello there.

- [Walter] Hello.

- Not got the family with you?

- [Walter] No, I'm alone this weekend.

- Come in for a drink about seven.

- [Walter] I'll see if I can make it.

How's the nag?

- (chuckling) Not too bad.

Getting old, like me.

(light music)

(tense music)

(door clacking)

(car starting)

(ominous music)

(tense music)

(light classical music)

(cup shattering)

- Who is there?

Mrs. Roberts?


Oh, what are you doing here?

- We decided to come.

- Well you should have warned me.

- Oh the phone's out of order.

- Is it?

Reid rang me at six o'clock.

- Well it was out of order at seven

when I tried to ring you.

Make some tea, Jane.

Close the door, there's a draft.

(music crescendoing)

How much longer is it going on for?

- What?

- The music.

- Until it's finished.

Thank you.

- Get a good shoot?

- Bag.

- What?

- Not a bad bag, 12 preys.

- How many in the fridge?

- Three hanging.

(music halts)

What are you doing?

- We want to talk to you.

- I was listening.

Kindly start it again.

(gun clacking)

(light music playing)

What on earth are you
doing with my rook gun?

- [Edith] I've been practicing with it.

- You dare to touch my gun?

(record scratching and stopping)

What the hell do you think you're do-

- Walter!

- Give me that.

Give me that at once.

- I warn you, if you
try and get it from me,

or to leave the room, I shall shoot you.

I am quite prepared to
take the consequences.

I want to talk to you.

I haven't had the opportunity before,

you always interrupt.

- You have gone mad.

- No.

Though I sometimes suspected that I would.

Jane, pour both of us a drink, will you?

(glasses clinking)

Are you going to listen?

- Well, what?

- I recently bought a copy
of The Marquis de Sade.

Cost five and nine pence I believe.

It's full of the most unutterable filth

but it opened a few windows for me.

- You read a book like that?

- [Edith] Haven't you read it?

- No, I most certainly have not.

- I read it.

- You what?

- [Jane] My mother advised it.

- You?

- Yes, certainly.

We're taught to have
some sort of forgiveness.

I thought it might help to understand you.

- It hasn't helped, really.

I enjoyed it, of course.

- You, a girl of 16 enjoyed?

(gun firing)

You ought to visit your doctor.

- No, I don't need my doctor.

I just need my freedom.

- All right.

I'll give you your freedom.

- On what grounds?


- No.
- Adultery?

- I haven't committed adultery.

- Then I haven't any grounds, have I?

- [Walter] I suggest you simply leave me.

- With Jane?

- No, I will not give
you the custody of Jane.

- [Edith] And I'm not abandoning her.

- You are incapable of instructing her.

You always have been.

- She does not need instructing, Walter,

she needs love.

- Jane, help me.


You think I'd let you be one of those

cockney layabouts who sleeps with every

long heard dick who goes,

bastards, bloody bastards!



(gun firing)

(glass clunking)

(tense music)

(cup shattering)

- [Edith] Wait, wait.

- [Jane] Right, tell me when.


- [Edith] Wait, wait, wait.

Okay, two.

One, two.




Be careful this time.

His shirt.

(dog barking in distance)

(tense music)

Lay out.

Let him roll up.

Let him roll up.

I got this.

Wait here.

(lock clicking)

(tense music)

(car revving)


(lightly tense music)

(phone ringing)

Say I'm in bed.

- The Eastwood residence.

- Hello, can I speak to Jane?

Jane Eastwood please.

- It's someone for me.

- Who?

- As a matter of fact, it's Jane speaking.

Who's that?

- Well you don't know me,

but I know you, I mean I've seen you.

I live just down the road,

the cottage with the brown gate, you know?

- No, I don't.

- [Man] Oh, well, my father's a janitor

at the school.

- How very interesting.

- Thanks.

My name's Benjy.

- Benjamin?

- [Benjy] That's right.

- Well, what do you want?

- Oh, I don't suppose it'll happen

but I just thought we
might go out or something.

- Well, my father, he's difficult.

But fortunately he's not here

or I would have hung up already.

- Wait a minute, is something

the matter with me or something?

- No, not as far as I know, why?

You think there might be?

- Hello?


- When do you think they'll find him?

- [Edith] The shoot
usually gathers about 10.

Then there are usually drinks afterwards

at the Buchanans or that architect man's.

At one or so.

Somebody will notice he's not there.

Maybe somebody'll go down to the cottage.

We'll be lucky if the phone rings by six.

Let's not think about it.

- Huh.

- No, I mean it.

I don't even know where
some of these things go.

- It doesn't matter.

- Let's go to my room, shall we?

- Should we ring the AA?

- [Edith] Why?

- Well don't they have
an accident service?

He might have had a crash,

we ought to seem worried.

- No, we wait.

(phone ringing)

Hello, yes?

- [Rupert] Rupert here.

I should be staying on at
the Andersons overnight.

I'll go straight to the office

from here in the morning, all right?

- Yes, fine.

I'll tell your father when he gets back.

- [Rupert] You're not
expecting him, are you?

- Yes of course we're expecting him.

- [Rupert] That sounds ridiculous.

- What do you mean?

- [Rupert] Well he said he
wouldn't return till Monday.

- When did he say that?

- [Rupert] Why, yesterday,
when we were all talking

before he went.

- I don't remember.

- [Rupert] Well I do.

Bye now.

(phone clicking)

- Do you remember him saying

he wouldn't get back till tomorrow?

- No.

- No.

Neither do I.

(phone ringing)

It's ringing.


- We left it unplugged.

- Someone must have been-

- Perhaps it rings anyway.

- Does it?

(lightly tense whimsical music)

(ominous music)

- Look, just go to the
chemist and get some more.

- They're on prescription.

They wouldn't let me
have it anymore so soon,

only they kind of make me sleep.

- Just say they disappeared,

they're supposed to be-

- No, we'll just wait.

Just wait.


(car revving)

May I speak to Mr. Eastwood, please?

- [Woman] Who's speaking please?

- Mrs. Eastwood.

- [Woman] Oh, just a minute please.

Mrs. Eastwood, your
husband's not come in yet.

He is expected, of course.

Young Mr. Eastwood's here.

Would you like to speak to him?

- No, not at present.

Let me know, will you?

- [Woman] Certainly, yes.

- Oh, we must do something.

(fire crackling)

- [Jane] Of course it was necessary.

He spoiled everything.

It was impossible to live at all.

I'm glad it's done.

- What did you say?

- [Jane] Nothing.

(phone ringing)


- Jane.

- Yes?

- Father's not here yet.

Is he at home?

- [Jane] No, not here.

- Well where is he then?

- I don't know, I thought
you could tell me.

- Well he's not at the cottage.

I've rung, there's no answer.

I've also rung the Buchanans, not a sign.

- Perhaps he had a crash.

- [Rupert] Of course he hadn't.

The police would have
notified you at once.

He always carries identification.

- But then what's happened?

- We best find out, hadn't we?

You drive down there and
see what you can find.

- [Jane] Mother's not very well.

- Too bad, I can't go.

- Rupert says I must go to the cottage.

- That's impossible.

- But how can we refuse?

- Tell him we'll phone Mrs. Roberts.

She'll go over.

- We'll phone Mrs. Roberts.

- But you go down there either way.

(tense music)

(ominous music)

(door clacking)

- How could he recover?

How could he?

There was enough to kill-

- Downstairs.

Look, let's go.

- We must ring Rupert
and say he's not here.

- We'll ring from London.

- [Jane] We can't go back
to London, we just can't!

- Sorry, we're going back to London.

- What is it?

- Hold it, steady.

- Ready?


There we go.

Yes. (grunting)

Come look.

(Jane gasping)
(ominous music)

(horse braying)

- [Jane] We can't just leave it here!

- (clicking) Come on, come on.

(dog barking)

- It's that architect
man, what's his name?

- Reid.

(dog whining)

- Hey, down.

Come on.

Come on, now. (chuckling)

- I'll talk.

(door knocking)

- Oh, you're Jane, aren't you?

- [Jane] That's right.

- I thought I recognized you.

- Have you been riding?

- I always go about in
my horse around here.

Is your mother in?

- [Jane] Yes.

- Could I see her?

Look, have you got an old cloth?

This brute makes a hell of a mess.

Am I a nuisance?

- She's not very well.

- Trouble is, I really ought to see her.

I had a phone call.

- [Jane] What?

- I can't imagine, perhaps
it's not important anyway.

It'll only take a second.

All paws, son.

Higher feet boy, come on.

- [Edith] Reid, isn't it?

You'd better come in.

- Oh, I hope I'm not a bother.

Do you mind if I'm around, huh?

- [Edith] I beg your pardon.

- Well, my dog.

- No.

- Thanks, go on Sam, in you go.

Oh, very low ceiling.

They were all scripts in those days.

Yes, it's nice, it's very nice.

Here, come on boy, come on.

- Does your work bring you our way?

- Yes, I'm doing a
conversion across the valley.

- Oh, what are you converting?

- An old brick kiln, you know.

Should be all right, rather attractive.

I'm waiting for the day
when someone asks me

to convert an old beamed
pigsty. (chuckling)

What happened to Walter yesterday?

We missed him

on the shoot.

- Wasn't he there?

- No, he's such a regular,

it didn't seem the same without him.

- We weren't here.

- We were at home.

- Oh, well, he didn't turn up.

I was surprised that he promised
to talk to a friend of mine

about an insurance problem afterwards

at the Buchanan's.

But were he to be at his office now?

Perhaps I could phone him there.

- The phone's out of order.

- You could ring him
later from your house.

- Oh, it's not important.

Perhaps you might give him a message.

- Yes, of course.

- Just would he contact
my friends, the Rivers.

He does know the number.

What I don't understand

is about the phone call.

- What phone call?

- This morning about eight o'clock

saying would I come over
here, have a look around

and make sure everything's all right.

- [Edith] All right?

- Yes.

- [Jane] Could it have been Mrs. Roberts?

- No.
- Who cleans for us.

- No, no, it was a man.

- Oh, who was it?

- I have no idea, he hung up.

- [Edith] You didn't recognize the voice?

(Sam whining)

- [Reid] No, Sam.

(phone ringing)

- Apparently it's come on again.



- Who'd you think it was?

Maybe it was-

- It could have been my brother.

- [Reid] Rupert?

- Yes.

- Would you like a cup of tea?

- Yes, thank you.

- I mean, we only have
mugs, if that's all right.


- Yes, please.

You still at school?

- Oh, yes.

- People grow up so quickly nowadays,

it seems rather ridiculous.

What are you gonna do when you leave?

- Go away, I expect.

- Away, what do you mean, abroad?

- Yes.

Where the sun shines.

- Tell your Ma I don't take
milk with tea, will you?

Be a dear.

Can't bear milk with tea.

- [Jane] Sugar?

- Yes, please.

(lightly tense music)

(tense music)

I'm sorry.

Sam ran upstairs.


Come on.

Oh, thank you.

Very welcome.

(Sam barking)

Hey, Sam, wretched beast.

Hey, what you got out there,
a dead rabbit or something?

Why, if that isn't basket boarding.

It's very rare in these parts.

Does it go on out here I wonder.

Oh, I thought it's
boarded here, what a pity.

Ah, ah, ah, so that's what it is.

Come on Sam, you had
your lunch. (chuckling)

Come on boy, come on.


I would like to see up above those boards,

(lightly tense music)

(Sam barking)

Bye, Jane.

- Goodbye.

(Sam panting)

(tense music)

- Look, what are we going to do?

We must decide!

- We will wait till it's night.

(bird screeching)







(suspenseful eerie music)

- Three, please.

- Nine and a six please.

What you got there?

- Antiques, we're dealers.

Everyone's in it now.

- I'm not.

You know, I've always wondered-

- Anytime, just give us a ring.

(tense music)

(car revving)

(tire screeching)

(wind howling)

(lightly tense music)

- [Edith] Wait, wait.


♪ Go home ♪

♪ Your husband is dead ♪

- Will we live here in this house?

- You don't want to?

- No, I don't.

- Find a way, I want to.

I want to live through it.

And I'd like to go back to school.

- School?

- Hmm.

Start again.

Then we'll live abroad.

But he's left me no money at all.

- I'd be glad.

- Rupert, must be Rupert.



(glass shattering)




Oh Jane!

- [Jane] Look!

(wind howling)

(phone ringing)

- [Rupert] Rupert here.

- Rupert, where are you?

- [Rupert] I'm still at the office.

- Are you coming back?

- [Rupert] What?

Why didn't you ring me?

- Oh, we meant to, of course.

But Rupert-

- [Rupert] You mean to
say he's not come home?

- No.

- [Rupert] That's fantastic.

I'll ring the police at once.

- Oh please come home at once!

(lightly tense music)

(ominous music)

(Edith screaming)

- Mommy, it's only a dream!

Calm down, calm down!

Quietly, quietly, only a dream.

Come on, mommy.

It's all right.

It's all right.

It's going to be all right.

I've got you.

(wind howling)

(lightly tense music)

(shutter whooshing)

(Edith screaming)

- [Edith] No! (screaming)

Jane! (screaming)

Jane! (screaming)

(Edith screaming)

- Good morning, Edith.

A charming letter from the Andersons.

They say that Rupert excelled himself

on the squash court.

Oh, by the way, Edith.

Have my shooting jacket
cleaned, would you?

Good morning, Jane.

- [Jane] Good morning, father.

- Didn't you pay her last check?

She says we owe her four pounds 15.

Our erstwhile servant.

Good morning, Rupert.

- Morning, father.


- A trifle late.

- I made the coffee.

- Ah, well, workedy well, we
all have to pull in a living.

- Of course.

- No stamp.

Delivered by hand.

- That's my letter.

- Dear Jane.

I have seen you sometimes and I've rung.

How's about we actually meet sometime?

Written with barrow.

I start very early morning so
I'm through about tea time,

that is four.

It's full of grammatical errors.

How's about you meet me at that dopey cafe

on the river near the cross keys?

Know it?

It's a date.

Benjy Smith.

- P.S., I am quite respectable.

- Who is this Benjy Smith, Edith?


Anyway, I hardly think
you'll want to go now.

- Amalgamated metals up two points.

- Excellent, I told you we shouldn't sell.

Mmm, and the coffee is
good, congratulations.

Finished, Rupert?

We really ought to go.

- [Rupert] We'll catch the 35.

- No, no, we'll just make the 27.

What will you do today, dear?

Some of your artwork?

(tense eerie music)