Film Review: Paranoiac (1963)

paranoiac

Hammer is famous for their gothic monster movies, but in the ’60s (perhaps spurred by the success of Psycho?) they also dabbled in moody psychological thrillers. Paranoiac is among the best, featuring great performances and a tight script that keeps the plot twists coming.

Members of the Ashby estate, a family beleaguered by constant tragedy, await their latest inheritance as a mysterious figure shows up on their doorstep.  He claims to be the youngest son — the one who left a suicide note eight years ago and was presumed dead after jumping off a nearby cliff into the ocean.  Everyone has their suspicions, but the truth isn’t fully revealed until the end of the movie. And the less you know, the better with this one.

Paranoiac marked the sure-handed feature directorial debut of the late Freddie Francis, a two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer (Glory, Sons and Lovers) and Hammer alum.  Oliver Reed turns in a terrific leading performance of the drunken, surly variety.

Rating: 3.25/5 ★★★¼☆ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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