Twisted Nerve (1968)

UK, 1968
104m [Germany], 113m [Australia], 118m [USA]
35mm film, Eastmancolor
mono, English

A British horror film directed by Roy Boulting.

Plot Summary

Mrs Durnley is the mother to two children, one a mongoloid, The other, Mark suffering from a damaged chromosome that reduces him into a gibbering, psychotic madman. A number of interested parties (including a nagging stepfather and an over sexed landlady) are murdered before Martin is caught trying to murder a young woman who has befriended him.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Roy Boulting
© Charter Film Productions Limited MCMLXVIII [1968]
British Lion Film Corporation [opening logo] National General Pictures presents [US only] [A] Boulting Brothers’ (John Boulting, Roy Boulting) production
Executive Producer: John Boulting
Produced by: George W. George and Frank Granat
Screenplay by: Leo Marks and Roy Boulting
Adapted from a screen story by Roger Marshall
From an idea by Roger Marshall and Jeremy Scott
Assistant Director: Douglas Hermes
Director of Photography: Harry Waxman
Camera Operator: Gerry Anstiss
Editor: Martin Charles
Assistant Editor: Barbara Cohen
Music: Bernard Herrmann
Jazz Version of “Georgie” Theme: Bernard Herrmann, arranged [by] Howard Blake
Sound: David Bowen, Jack Davis
Dubbing: Nolan Roberts
Sound Editor: Stanley Smith
Wardrobe: Bridget Sellers
Hayley Mills’ Wardrobe Designed by: Hazel Graeme
Make-up: George Partleton
Hairdresser: Joan Carpenter
Titles: Morton Lewis
Art Director: Albert Witherick
Production Accountant: Arthur Cleaver
Production Administrators: Philip Shipway and Jack Rix
Production Secretary: Phyllis Russell
Made at Shepperton Studios, England [opening titles] Filmed on location and at Shepperton Studios, England [closing credits]
Casting Director: Thelma Graves

Hayley Mills (Susan Harper)
Hywel Bennett (Martin Durnley)
Billie Whitelaw (Joan Harper)
Phyllis Calvert (Enid Durnley)
Barry Foster (Gerry Henderson)
Frank Finlay (Henry Durnley)
Salmaan Peer (Shashie Kadir)
Christian Roberts (Philip Harvey)
Gretchen Franklin (Clarkie)
Thorley Walters (Sir John Forrester)
Russell Napier (Professor Fuller)
Robin Parkinson (shop manager)
Timothy Bateson (Mr Groom)
Timothy West (Superintendant Dakin)
Brian Peck (Detective Sergeant Rogers)
Richard Davies (Taffy Evans)
Basil Dignam (doctor)
Mollie Maureen (lady patient)
Clifford Cox [Inspector Goddard] *
Michael Cadman [Mac] *
Marianne Stone *
Russell Waters [hospital attendant] *
Larry Guardino [bit part] *

Alternative Titles

I nervi a pezzi – Italian title
Nervios rotos – Spanish title


Monthly Film Bulletin vol.36 no.421 (February 1969) p.29
The Boultings may have set out to make a serious comment on the plight of the mentally disordered, but what they have produced is a crudely sensationalist thriller decked out with some pseudo-scientific jargon which suggests, intentionally or not, that the siblings of mongoloid children are likely to end up as homicidal maniacs. Any claim to seriousness is unequivocally nullified by Roy Boulting’s bludgeoning approach to his already distasteful material. […] Comparison with Psycho […] was obviously sought (Bernard Herrmann wrote the music), and for good measure there is a smattering of grim humour – though typically in the form of grotesquely patronising anti-racialist jokes across the breakfast table. But even viewed as a straight-forward thriller, the film is so clumsily and predictably put together (witness the rash of timely coincidences in the climactic sequence) that the insurance company which has offered to pay out to the dependents of anyone dying of shock while watching it is hardly likely to find any clients. – from a review by David Wilson



  • Films and Filming vol.15 no.5 (February 1969) p.34 – credits, review
  • Kine Weekly no.3191 (7 December 1968) p.10 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.36 no.421 (February 1969) p.29 – credits, synopsis, review (by David Wilson)
  • Variety 11 December 1968) p.30 – credits, review


  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.508 – credits