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The year is 1885, and necrophiliac Dr. Hitchcock likes to drug his wife for sexual funeral games. One day he accidentally administers an overdose and kills her. He leaves his home shattered. Several years later he remarries and returns. Discovering that his still beloved first wife is alive but insane and prematurely aged, he plans to use the blood of his new bride to rejuvenate and heal her. Written by
Dean Harris <email@example.com>
Thin plot, but lavish cinematography and Barbara Steele help it
Many people, like me, will see The Terror of Dr Hitchcock purely for it's cult value. This is the best reason to see the film, as the value outside of it's cult status isn't exactly vast; but the film does offer other reasons that makes viewing worthwhile. First and foremost is the fact that it stars 'The Queen of Horror' Barbara Steele. Steele is an odd beauty, and her looks always ensure that she serves whatever film she's in well. She stars alongside Robert Flemyng, who takes the title role as Dr Hitchcock. Given that the film is supposed to be about him, I was surprised to find that most of the screen time focuses on Barbara Steele's character. This is either the result of Steele's status within the genre, or the fact that Flemyng's character is actually quite boring. This is the film's main problem. The themes on offer are intriguing and often make for great horror movies; but because the central character never really gets a chance to let his motives and desires shine through the performance; it's difficult to really connect with him or the film.
The story follows the aforementioned doctor. Dr Hitchcock is into necrophilia, and when his game that involves drugging his wife goes wrong and she winds up dead, Hitchcock is unable to let go and keeps her body in the cellar. He remarries and plans to use the blood of his new wife to bring back his old one. Like most Italian horror films from this period; the cinematography is awesome, and this is brought about by lavish sets and excellent use of lighting. A lot of the running time is spent on watching Steele run about the various rooms of the castle, and this would be quite boring if the film wasn't so beautiful to look at. The cinematography isn't enough to save the film, however, as a lot of what goes on does look suspiciously like padding for an otherwise thin plot. The film starts off slowly, and the pacing does pick up towards the end where the film is at it's most interesting. The Terror of Dr Hitchcock isn't a great film, or even a great genre film; but it's an interesting little flick that is best remembered for it's beautiful cinematography and the fact that it stars one of horror cinema's great actresses.
5 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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