Edited by Don Malcolm on 9/27/2015, 9:18 am
Some clarification concerning how the poll was conducted might offer some clues as to how Experiment in Terror did not appear in the 185 films that were given some kind of voting representation in the poll.
First and foremost: it was designed as a "Top 25" poll, so choices were limited. The rules for the poll instructed voters to create five tiers: 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25. That permitted a point system to be employed for determining the rankings.
We'll use the late great Bill MacVicar's ballot as an example:
1-5 (25 points): Out of the Past (1), Double Indemnity (3), Nightmare Alley (13), The Big Heat (20), Caged (32)
6-10 (20 points): Criss Cross (2), Gun Crazy (6), Raw Deal (16), Sunset Blvd. (25), White Heat (40)
11-15 (15 points): Murder My Sweet (24), Strange Love of Martha Ivers (27), Pitfall (41), Woman in the Window (82), The Unsuspected (92)
16-20 (10 points): In A Lonely Place (12), Kiss Me Deadly (15), Born to Kill (22), The Big Combo (30), The Dark Corner (39)
21-25 (5 points): Pickup on South Street (35), Sudden Fear (62), 99 River Street (70), Somewhere in the Night (75), Road House (91)
The numbers in (parentheses) are the films' overall ranking in the poll.
Voters were then permitted ten "honorable mention" choices. Here are Bill's:
Detour (17), The Narrow Margin (18), Laura (26), Mildred Pierce (28), Gilda (31), Sweet Smell of Success (48), Crossfire (89), Alias Nick Beal (113), Decoy (141), Repeat Performance (144)
A voter could only mention a total of 35 films, which meant that it was possible for the voting bloc to either miss films entirely or elevate films by virtue of placing them high in their rankings. Indeed, this is how The Manchurian Candidate ended up in the Top 100: one participant placed it in the Top 5 (25 points), which was the only support it received in the poll. (Please understand that there were only 27 participants in the poll.)
I think most of the voters who participated in the poll would agree that Experiment in Terror is in no way a Top 25 film. Clearly no one in 2005 felt it was a "Top 35" film, either. With two extra voters putting it on the list, it would have needed a total of 15 points to crack the Top 100. That would mean at least one additional voter putting the film somewhere in their personal "Top 15."
I don't know what a larger voting population would conclude wrt Experiment in Terror. Rather than providing a capsule opinion here, I just might sit down and do a bit more with it as this week's NOTW. I remember that the "noir-o-meter" uncovered some interesting things about the film, and that might be a good way into a more expansive discussion of it and its interesting place in that "transitional space" in noir.