Criminally Insane II – also known as Crazy Fat Ethel II – is a 1987 American horror film written and directed by Nick Millard [as Nick Philips]. It is the sequel to the 1975 film Criminally Insane and Priscilla Alden repeats her role as Ethel.
Due to budget cuts, an institution releases Ethel Janowski, a morbidly obese woman whose obsession with food caused her to murder six people, into a halfway house operated by the elderly Hope Bartholomew.
As soon as Ethel is admitted into the Bartholomew House, it becomes clear that she is still delusional, convinced that Hope is her dead grandmother, and that a fellow patient named Edgar Stanley is the detective who arrested her. As time passes, Ethel begins demanding more food, and starts refusing to take her medication…
Nick Millard’s opportunistic attempt to continue the success of his previous horror ‘hit’ unfortunately only serves to highlight the real-life horror of nearly all 1980s shot-on-video ultra-cheapie, namely: washed-out colour, flat lighting, dismal editing and horrendous sound quality with drop-outs galore.
Numerous flashbacks from Crazy Fat Ethel’s first foray into madness are used to pad out the already sparse running time and make up for the lack of exposition, however these only serve to make the dreariness of this miserable endeavour even more via their inferior VHS presentation.
Priscilla Alden, as Ethel, still has a minor screen presence, which unfortunately further emphasises the lack of thespian talent displayed by the rest of the cast, including director Millard and his producer partner. The few new murder scenes are presented even more crudely than in Millard’s deliriously daft 1975 outing and only a very forgiving devotee of camp trash could forgive this sham logic state of affairs as they are, after all, the supposed point of this nihilistic exercise.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA
“There is one inventive death (Ethel stabs a man with practically every sharp implement in a knife drawer) and some interesting aspects (our “human fly” is a real method ham here). But the dour, dreary magic of the first movie, with its green-faced corpses rotting away in a spare room and Ethel’s intense eating jags, is all but absent here. This has the feeling of a crass cash in …” DVD Talk
“Although a fairly boring affair, it does seek to spice things up by putting Ethel in the house with someone that could very well be her match, another cold blooded killer who could maybe avoid her traps – but this lasts all of about ten minutes before the film falls back into the patently repetitive “Ethel kills anyone who stops her from eating” routine.” Varied Celluloid
“You gimme those pretzels, granny!”
“Put that goddamned knife down now!”
- Priscilla Alden as Ethel
- Joe Elliot as Dinner Server
- Albert Eskinazi as Edgar Stanley
- Royal Farros as Doctor
- Frances Millard as Hope Bartholomew
- Nick Millard as Doctor Stevens
- Fred Sarra as Lieutenant Frank Harris