Two on a Guillotine is a 1965 American horror feature film produced and directed by William Conrad (the portly actor most famous in TV series Cannon and Jake and the Fatman).
The screenplay by John Kneubuhl (The Screaming Skull) and Henry Slesar (Terror from the Year 5000; Murders in the Rue Morgue; Circle of Fear) was based on a story by the latter. The Panavision cinematography was provided by Sam Leavitt (Cape Fear; Doctor Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine; The Screaming Woman).
The movie stars Connie Stevens (Tales from the Darkside: ‘The Unhappy Medium’), Dean Jones, Cesar Romero (The Joker in 60s TV series Batman), Parley Bear (The Addams Family TV series), Virginia Gregg (The Night Stalker; voice of Norma Bates in Psycho; Psycho II and III), Connie Gilchrist, John Hoyt (The Black Castle; Curse of the Undead; X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes), Russell Thorson (Half Human; The Screaming Woman; Night Gallery).
Warner Bros. is upgrading the movie from DVD to Blu-ray on January 28th via their Archive Collection. The film has been newly mastered in high definition with DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 and comes with the trailer.
John Harley Duquesne is a psychotic magician who accidentally beheads his wife Melinda with a guillotine during a performance.
Twenty years later he dies, and his will requires his daughter Cassie (the mirror image of her mother) to spend seven nights in his apparently haunted mansion in order to inherit his estate. Reporter Val Henderson offers to stay with her when he learns Duquesne promised to return in spirit form during Cassie’s week-long vigil…
“Beautiful black and white photography, likeable characters and a solid, if bizarre Max Steiner score (I mean, he has a recurring theme for a little bunny rabbit that lives at the house that pops up in the oddest moments) add up to a movie that shouldn’t be as obscure as it is.” Ain’t It Cool News
“Suffice it to say that the climax of the film is a real doozy and director Conrad pulls out all the stops to provide maximum suspense. Mention should also be made of the crisp B&W cinematography by Sam Leavitt and the eerie score by none other than the legendary Max Steiner (!).” CinemaRetro
“There’s a lot of strange goings-on involving scary noises, secret locked doors, skeletons popping out of nowhere, and general eerieness […] There’s some genuinely spooky scenes here, but on the whole it’s more Less Than Grand Guignol. I’ve got to admit the twist ending is pretty neat, though.” Cracked Rear Viewer
“ … a unique little film that knows when to have some laughs and, more importantly, when to play it straight […] There are twists and turns throughout the movie, and by the time the final reveal comes, you may be a little shocked as to exactly how everything plays out. I know I was.” Dread Central
“Except for a brief prologue showing Connie Stevens being skewered in a horror magician’s stage act, and the finale, with a guillotine blade poised over her pretty blond curls, the picture is about as startling as The Bat. And not nearly as much fun.” DVD Beaver
“Long-winded and unconvincing shocker with some effectively scary sequences.” Leslie Halliwell, Halliwell’s Film Guide
“… a classy, professional old Hollywood production that still somehow manages to live up to the grand Guignol promises of the title. It’s a film that’s got something for everyone, including horror fans with a pretty wicked slow motion beheading and a stylishly effective nightmare sequence.” Horror Digital
“It’s a dull, silly, tedious clinker—and about as hair-raising, be warned, as a jack-o’-lantern.” The New York Times, January 14, 1965
” …its truly a classic that’s a must-see; it’s a film that loaded with suspense, thrills and chills and with two great actors in Stevens and Jones, it has some serious charm. I highly recommend checking this one out.” The Other View
“This harmless mid-’60s horror is neither inventive or daring in approach, but it is well-acted (Stevens does double duty as both Melinda and Cassie) and beautifully shot by cinematographer Sam Leavitt. Romero is woefully underused here, but when he does appear, it’s both enjoyable and worth the wait.” The Terror Trap
Warner Bros. released a remastered DVD on July 23rd 2010 as part of their Archive Collection. A Blu-ray edition will be released on January 28th 2020.