Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock

Director - Riccardo Freda (The Witch's Curse, Lust of the Vampire)
Starring - Barbara Steele (Nightmare Castle, The Long Hair of Death), Robert Flemyng (The Medusa Touch, The Blood Beast Terror), and Silvano Tranquilli (Star Odyssey, The Legend of Blood Castle)
Release Date - 1962
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "His secret was in a coffin named DESIRE"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     When I write reviews I often find myself sounding like a broken record.  What I have said in other reviews still pertains to a new review so I feel the need to repeat myself.  A few months back I reviewed several gothic horror films from the 60s and I made several comments about how modern horror films lack the style and suspense that these classic horror films have.  Sure, films like Blessed Are the Children have some style but nowhere near the level of suspense and style that these films have.  Several months back Olive Films announced that they would be releasing the 1962 gothic horror tale The Horrible Dr. Hichcock on bluray.  I was very interested in this release not only because it was a 1962 horror film but because it was another period piece and starred living legend Barbara Steele.  I reached out to them and asked for a copy and they were kind enough to send one my way.  Thanks guys.
     The film follows doctor and sexual deviant Dr. Hichcock (Flemyng) who has invented a ground breaking anesthesia and uses it for sexual thrills with his wife.  He likes to sedate her which lowers her pulse to the point she resembles a corpse and then goes to town.  Sadly, one day he is a little too excited and administers too much sedative and accidentally kills her.  This devastates the poor doctor and he leaves the home that he once shared with her in the hands of his caretaker Martha.  He is gone for sometime and returns years later with a new wife, Cynthia (Steele).  Cynthia is reluctant at first to move into his old home but is soon convinced by her new husband.  Martha treats her rudely and late at night Cynthia hears strange noises and screams.  Martha tells the doctor and Cynthia that it is her sister who is insane but soon the two find out who is the real voice behind the screams.
     Hammer, Amicus, and the classic Universal horror films are textbook examples of how to build suspense while giving the viewer beautiful sets and stage pieces.  I miss that with modern horror and that is why I love Cannibal Flesh Riot so much.  They give us a great horror story set against a film set.  The Horrible Dr. Hichcock is another film you can add to the list of films that take great use of film sets to deliver a chilling film.  The acting in this one is great.  We once again get an amazing performance from the iconic Barbara Steele who is brilliant at playing the victim. Robert Flemyng is great as well in his role.  He brings the doctor to life and goes through many emotions.  At first he is a sexual deviant with lust in his eyes but we seem him go from being the dominant character to playing the victim at the films conclusion.  The supporting cast is great but these two shine brighter than the rest.  The story for this one is fun but reminded me a lot of Nightmare Castle.  Though this film did come out first I still saw NC before this one and the stories are very similar.  Both follow Barbara Steele rushing through a castle while having her sanity questioned.  With that being said, the film does move at a slow pace but this helps to build tension and suspense.  Finally, if you are looking for blood and gore then you will want to check out Zombi or Burial Ground because this film is not for you.  The film gets a rise out of the viewer by offering up some chilling tension and a terrifying story.  Overall, The Horrible Dr. Hichcock is a late night must watch.  The film has that great gothic look, an amazing cast, and some scares.  Some of the scenes are slow but the payoff is worth it.  Check it out on blu now from Olive Films.

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