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Paranoiac (1963)

 -  Drama | Horror | Mystery  -  15 May 1963 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,174 users  
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Simon Ashby is a wealthy psychotic who is is coddled by his aunt in their palatial mansion outside of London. One day, Ashby's long lost brother mysteriously arrives at the house, but ... See full summary »



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Title: Paranoiac (1963)

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Cast overview:
Janette Scott ...
Sheila Burrell ...
Aunt Harriet
Maurice Denham ...
John Kossett
Alexander Davion ...
Tony Ashby
Liliane Brousse ...
Harold Lang ...
RAF Type
Arnold Diamond
John Bonney ...
Keith Kossett
John Stuart ...


Simon Ashby is a wealthy psychotic who is is coddled by his aunt in their palatial mansion outside of London. One day, Ashby's long lost brother mysteriously arrives at the house, but events prove that he is an impostor, sent by Keith Kossett, son of the attorney for the family estate, who has been dipping into the family trust fund. Written by Wheeler Winston Dixon

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When it comes to love or murder ... there's no one as dangerous ... as the ... Paranoiac! See more »


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Release Date:

15 May 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Paranoiac  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Was released on the bottom half of a double bill with Hammer's "The Kiss of the Vampire." See more »


As Simon plays the congregational hymn on the organ in the opening scene at the church the music shown on his stand in the organ loft is an oratorio/anthem music score with SATB lines (soprano/alto/tenor/bass) and a two-stave orchestral/keyboard reduction, emphatically not a church hymn. See more »


Simon Ashby: [stumbles through the door inebriated]
Aunt Harriet: Where have you been?
Simon Ashby: [smirk on his face] I've been drinking.
[Looks at the liquor on the bar in the entryway]
Simon Ashby: Now I need to drink some more.
See more »


Version of Brat Farrar (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Paranoiac: A paranoid. Of, relating to, or resembling paranoia.
2 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Paranoiac is directed by Freddie Francis and loosely adapted to screenplay by Jimmy Sangster from Josephine Tey's novel Brat Farrar. It stars oliver Reed, Janette Scott, Sheila Burrell and Alexander Davion. Music is by Elisabeth Lutyens and cinematography by Arthur Grant.

The Ashby family has been blighted by tragedy. 11 years previously the parents were killed in an accident and their younger son, Tony, was so grief stricken he committed suicide by leaping off of a nearby cliff into the sea below. However, Anthony's body was never found. The remaining siblings, Eleanor (Scott) & Simon (Reed) have been raised at the family mansion by their aunt Harriet (Burrell), and neither of them have grown into stable adults. So when an adult comes into their lives claiming to be Tony it further opens up neurotic wounds and dark family secrets.

Skeleton in the closet.

Hammer Films tag onto the coat tails of Hitchcock's Psycho with this slick and moody psychological thriller. The studio would become synonymous with reinventing the creature feature sub-genre of horror that encompassed the likes of Dracula & Frankenstein. What often gets overlooked is that in the 60s they were producing some excellent thrillers, little seen gems that didn't even get home format releases in Britain until over 40 years later! Paranoiac is one such gem, it forms part of the thriller splinter involving someone either going insane or being driven so by unscrupulous bastards.

Paranoiac thrives on slow burn pacing and atmospheric black and white photography, and features a roll call of characters who are either up to no good or are clearly skew-whiff in the head! Perfectly filmed out of the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, England, where the jagged cliff faces match the fragmented state of minds of the principal players, it's a film that benefits greatly from the acting on show. Reed is an oily drunk and a bully, Scott expertly portrays a timid gal clinging onto to her last bit of sanity and Burrell puts a shifty cynicism into mollycoddling Aunt Harriet. Pleasant surprise here is Davion as the man claiming to be Tony, not a well known name but he does a great job in a tricky role, with cards held close to the chest he handles a big shift in the character's fortunes with a smoothness that's most impacting.

It's no Psycho (what is?) and it has some minor flaws in the writing, such as an incestuous thread that is never expanded on, but this is still a moody little cracker of a thriller. Slow burn for sure, but always holding the attention right up to the deliverance of a joyously macabre finale. 7.5/10

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