The Fool Killer


1h 40m 1965

Brief Synopsis

12-year-old George Mellish, tired of beatings for both real and fancied misdeeds at the hands of his foster parents,runs away from home by hopping a freight train and lands somewhere east of the Mississippi River. The first person he meets is Dirty Jim Helliman (Henry Hull)who lives in a fantastically filthy hovel and with whom George feels a kindred spirit, both having "suffered" at the hands of a clean woman. It is (really dirty) Dirty Jim that tells George of the mythical, eight-foot bogey man called "The Fool Killer." George gets sick and Dirty Jim takes him to town where Mrs.Ova Faversham (Charlotte Jones)takes charge of the feverish boy. When Blessing Angeline (Sindee Ann Richards), Mrs. Faversham's 10-year-old daughter, tells George that her mother intends to return him to his foster parents, George hits the road again. He meets Milo Bogardus (Anthony Perkins), a young Civil War veteran, who has been robbed of his memory by a war wound, and is as lost in his own way as George. THey come upon a camp meeting, where the fanatical Reverend Spotts is conducting a revivalist meeting and during the religious frenzy, George blacks out. He comes to and is alone, and is unaware that the Reverend has been murdered, and starts in his search to find Milo. He finds a home with the Dodds (Dana Elcar and Salome Jens), small town store keepers. When, at supper, Dodds makes mention of the murder of the Reverend Spotts, George blurts out that "The Fool Killer done it" and tells them the legend as told to him by Dirty Jim. That evening, while George lies in bed, a shadow appears at his window. It is the figure of a tall, gaunt apparition, axe in hand ready to strike---"The Fool Killer!"

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
Knoxville, Tennessee, opening: 28 Apr 1965
Production Company
Jack J.,, Jr. Dreyfus; Landau Co.
Distribution Company
Allied Artists; Jack J.,, Jr. Dreyfus; Landau Releasing Organization
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Fool Killer by Helen Eustis (Garden City, New York, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

After the Civil War George Mellish, a 12-year-old orphan, leaves his foster home. The youth is befriended by aging reprobate Dirty Jim Jelliman, who relates to him the legend of The Fool Killer, an axe murderer. George later makes the acquaintance of Milo Bogardus, an anticlerical veteran. Unaware of Milo's profound antipathy, George persuades him to attend a revival conducted by Reverend Spotts, after which the evangelist is found hacked to death. Having moved in with the Dodds, a kindly unmarried couple, George is horrified to discover Milo lurking beside his bedroom window, hatchet in hand. George alerts Dodd and later witnesses Milo's fatal fall from the roof of the house.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
Knoxville, Tennessee, opening: 28 Apr 1965
Production Company
Jack J.,, Jr. Dreyfus; Landau Co.
Distribution Company
Allied Artists; Jack J.,, Jr. Dreyfus; Landau Releasing Organization
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Fool Killer by Helen Eustis (Garden City, New York, 1954).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Portions of the film were shot on location in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Fool Killer was produced in 1963 and then distributed in 1965 by the Landau Releasing Organization through Allied Artists. Jack Dreyfus, Jr. purchased the exclusive rights to the film, reedited it, and rereleased it in 1969. Sources conflict in crediting film editor. The Fool Killer marked the screen debut for Edward Albert, son of actors Eddie Albert and Margo.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1965

Edward Albert is the son of actor Eddie Albert and makes his film debut.

Jack Dreyfus Jr purchased the rights to the film, re-edited it, and re-released it in 1969.

Released in United States 1965