Paranoiac

Paranoiac

Director: Freddie Francis

Cast: Freddie Francis, Janette Scott, Oliver Reed, Liliane Brousse

     
 

A woman must contend with her family's madness as she finds her own sanity in doubt in this thriller from British horror masters Hammer Films. After the death of her parents, Eleanor Ashby (Janette Scott) would seem a safe bet to inherit their estate, but at the funeral, she's convinced that she has seen Tony (See more details below

Overview

A woman must contend with her family's madness as she finds her own sanity in doubt in this thriller from British horror masters Hammer Films. After the death of her parents, Eleanor Ashby (Janette Scott) would seem a safe bet to inherit their estate, but at the funeral, she's convinced that she has seen Tony (Alexander Davion), her brother who killed himself seven years ago. Eleanor's other sibling Simon (Oliver Reed), who is inarguably alive, uses this as an excuse to contest the will, arguing that Eleanor is mentally unstable and an unfit heir. Simon's claims cause Eleanor to wonder about her sanity, and in a moment of weakness she attempts suicide. Tony rescues her and tells her that he never died but simply went into hiding. He returns to the family's mansion, but soon he and Eleanor become the subject of a number of violent attacks by a masked lunatic before Eleanor learns a surprising secret about Tony. Paranoiac marked the directorial debut of ace cinematographer Freddie Francis.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
This stylish thriller is a solid if not entirely satisfying entry in the wave of Psycho-inspired thrillers produced by England's Hammer Studios during the early- to mid-'60s. Interestingly, Paranoiac's plot line owes more to Gaslight than it does to Psycho. Jimmy Sangster's script is a bit lightweight on characterization but it makes up for this problem with a tightly constructed narrative that piles on twist after twist and keeps the viewer constantly guessing about each character's motives. The cast wisely plays the material straight, with the most impressive work coming from a young Oliver Reed; his melodramatic excesses may seem a little campy by modern standards but the visceral intensity of his work fits the film's tone perfectly. The film also benefits from inspired direction by Freddie Francis, who gives the film a unique visual style: Highlights of his work include a beautifully staged opening sequence that introduces all of the characters during a church service and the impressive and unexpected underwater shot that caps a suspense scene set near a pond. Unfortunately, Paranoiac loses steam during its third act and is capped with an abrupt ending that leaves too many loose ends untied. Despite these flaws, Paranoiac remains a worthwhile thriller with enough chills and atmosphere to please fans of old-fashioned horror.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/26/2010
UPC:
5060000700190
Original Release:
1963
Source:
Ais

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Janette Scott Eleanor Ashby
Oliver Reed Simon Ashby
Liliane Brousse Francoise
Alexander Davion Tony Ashby
Sheila Burrell Aunt Harriet
Maurice Denham John Kossett
John Bonney Keith Kossett
Colin Tapley Vicar
Harold Lang RAF Type
Laurie Leigh 1st woman
Marianne Stone 2nd woman
Sydney Bromley Tramp
Jack Taylor Sailor
John Stuart Williams

Technical Credits
Freddie Francis Director
Roy Ashton Makeup
Les Bowie Special Effects
Arthur Grant Cinematographer
Anthony Hinds Producer
Elisabeth Lutyens Score Composer
Don Mingaye Art Director
James Needs Editor
Bernard Robinson Production Designer
Jimmy Sangster Screenwriter
Kit West Special Effects

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