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L'Orribile Segreto del Dr. Hichcock

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock
The Horrible Secret of Dr. Hichcock / The Terrible Secret of Dr. Hichcock / The Terror of Dr. Hichcock

Italy 1962
produced by
Panda Film
directed by Riccardo Freda, (as Robert Hampton)
starring Robert Flemyng, Barbara Steele, Harriet Medin (as Harriet White), Silvano Tranquilli (as Montgomery Glenn), Maria Teresa Vianello (as Teresa Fitzgerald), Spencer Williams, Al Christianson, Evar Simpson, Nat Harley, Neil Robinson, Howard Nelson Rubien
screenplay by Ernesto Gastaldi, music by Roman Vlad

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 dies.

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 conclusions.

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.

 

A 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 feeling of 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.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD