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A psychiatrist treats his patients - sufferers from agoraphobia, claustrophobia, acrophobia, a fear of snakes, and a fear of man - with radical therapy in which they confront their fears by watching them on a large screen. The result is that each patient is driven to commit violent acts, and each dies by what he most fears. Written by
Melvyn Hill (no relation to Gladys) was also a major contributor to the development of the script. Professor Hill, a psychologist whose knowledge about the criminally insane as well as his credible creative writing skills also advised Mr. Huston with the preparation of the script. Uncredited. See more »
I do say this with a heavy heart, because I love John Huston. He is a terrific director, and I loved some of his acting performances too(ie. Chinatown). However, Phobia was just awful and didn't work on any level. In fact, out of the John Huston-directed movies I have seen(which is a lot), Phobia is by far his worst. Much worse than Victory(or Escape to Victory), which for me was quite enjoyable despite being silly, predictable and clichéd. Much worse than The Unforgiven, despite one or two scenes that could have been better thought-out and a miscast it does have a talented ensemble cast, looks gorgeous and was quite interesting. And also much worse than Annie, granted Huston's direction wasn't the best it could have been, but Annie is a childhood favourite, has marvellous songs and some great performances, plus I think it has a lot of charm and doesn't deserve to be down there among the worst musicals not like Xanadu, Can't Stop the Music, Grease 2 and Mame.
About Phobia, when I watched it, I found very little about it that was good. Huston's direction is not good here, out of his movies Phobia is his most ineptly directed movie. It is a shame, because when Huston is good he is just terrific, but I could tell that his heart wasn't in it. I could also say the same for Paul Michael Glaser, I agree he can be good but that is not the case here. He doesn't seem interested at all in this movie and literally sleepwalks through his role. I also thought the look of the film was shoddy, the camera angles are slip-shod and the lighting is very dull even in the less-dark scenes.
The dialogue is poor and unfocused, while Andre Gagnon's music is forgettable and drab. The story is also dreadfully constructed, very drawn out and uninteresting with more-laughable-than-shocking murders, countless contrivances and an ending that you could smell a mile off. The characters lack any credibility, especially the culprit who I knew the identity of far too soon, while the sluggish pace alone kills this movie.
All in all, an awful movie and the only movie of John Huston's actually that I dislike intensely. 1/10 Bethany Cox
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