Doctor Hichcock (Robert Flemyng) is a brilliant surgeon, & he has
developed an anaesthetic that works miracles ... that is, until he uses the
anaesthetic on his own wife Margherita (Maria Teresa Viranello), & she
After that, nothing is the same anymore, & Hichcock does not only
quit his job but also leaves his house in the hands of his housekeeper Martha
(Harriet Medin), not to return for 12 years (!).
When Hichcock finally does
return, it is with his new wife Cynthia (Barbara Steele), who he, as it later
turns out, has picked up in a mental asylum. Cynthia immediatley feels
uncomfortable int he Doctor's old house, domineered by a giant portrait of
Margherita, & she receives a rather cold welcome from both the Doctor's cat
& the housekeeper. That Hichcock spends more & more time away from
home at his old hospital doesn't help much either, & soon Cynthia starts
imagining (or is she actually seeing?) ghostlike figures ... The only one who gives any
heed to her words though is the Doctor's assistant Curd (Silvano Tranquilli),
who has studied under Freud, & hearing her stories he comes to his own
Meanwhile the Doctor himself starts behaving weirder &
weirder too, feeling more & more necrophile urges, seeing the spirit of his
dead wife at night, & at one point he even tries to strangle Cynthia, but
is held back at the very last minute ...
The next morning, he brings Cynthia
a glass of milk to her bed as if nothing had happened ... only he has
personally poisoned the milk ...
Cynthia though is by now on alert &
spills the milk in an unwatched moment, later he brings the glass (with
traces of the milk) to Curd to analyze for poison, & packs a few things
to leave Hichcock's house for good ... but gets locked into a coffin for that
Curd meanwhile finds quite a lot of poison in the milk, & dashes to
Hichcock's house to save Cynthia ... & not a moment too soon, as Hichcock
& the spirit of Margherita are doing everything in their power to freak out
& kill Cynthia, but somehow, Curd can save her anyhow & set fire to
Hichcock's mansion which burns him & probably his wife's spirit too.
horror-mystery slightly reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940)
that relies mainly on atmosphere, helped by beautifully composed
images, & on an enigmatic plot that only contributes to the underlying
unease. Only in the finale all care seems to be gone and the carefully
constructed mystery is resolved in a rather pedestrian monster movie climax.