Saturday, June 14, 2014

1963 - PARANOIAC, sort of implausible horror thriller from Hammer

Hammer's go to screenwriter Jimmy Sangster borrowed from a couple of Hitchcock films to put it mildly.  There are traces of Vertigo and Psycho in this heavily plotted film.

The film is well directed by Freddie Francis who was a top cinematographer in England for many years.  Photographed in high contrast black and white Paranoiac looks very good.

But probably the standout in this film is the performance of Oliver Reed.  Talk about over the top.  Reed plays the potential alcoholic heir to a family estate and he really "lets er rip," as the British like to say.  Whether he is slugging down a bottle of brandy, driving his car through a flower garden or  playing a pipe organ in the basement of the estate.  Reed's over the top acting is really fun to watch.

I don't think anyone would mistake this film for some sort of a classic thriller, this is a Hammer production after all.  However, there are enough plot twists and overacting by a scenery chewing cast to make this a very enjoyable time killer.

100 minutes.

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