Janet is a young student at a private school; her nights are troubled by horrible dreams in which she sees her mother, who is in fact locked in an insane asylum, haunting her. Expelled ... See full summary »
In 18th-century England, the Royal Crown sends Royal Navy Captain Collier and his crew to investigate reports of illegal smuggling and bootlegging in a coastal town where locals believe in Marsh Phantoms.
Peter Graham Scott
Kerwin Matthews, playing a dissolute drifter down on his luck, Jeff Farrell, is stranded in a cheap bar in France where he falls for Annette, the proprietor's pretty stepdaughter, played by Liliane Brousse. Annette's stepmother Eve, played by Nadia Gray, gradually shifts the young man's attentions to herself, rather than her stepdaughter, and together Eve and Jeff concoct a plot to help free Eve's estranged husband from the institution in which he's been confined as a homicidal maniac these past four years after committing the so-called "Acetylene Murder", when he killed with a blowtorch the man who raped Annette. The idea is that Georges, the husband, will leave the country, but, unknown to Jeff, it's not Georges who escapes but Henri, the guard who has become Eve's lover . . .Written by
Wheeler Winston Dixon
Maniac is one of the lesser known of Hammer's "psychological thrillers" made in black and white around the 1960's. It's not fiendishly clever enough to be really memorable but it does have a few interesting twists. Basically the plot sees Kerwin Mathews stranded in a small French town where he books into a hotel and starts to feel attracted to the owners sexy young step-daughter. Soon after this, he also starts feeling attracted to the more mature but still sexy step-mother as well! Apart form this love triangle, there is a further problem, in that the missing family member in this scenario is the father, who is currently locked up in an asylum for a violent blow-torch murder committed years ago now but he wants out, and our hero is about to be roped into aiding in his escape! The film doesn't hang together very well for the beginning hour or so, sadly mainly due to Kerwin Mathews' wooden performance. Seeing him flirt with the daughter and then casually drop her and turn to her mother left me feeling quite disconnected from the plot as I found him a very unlikeable character. However when the plot to spring the insane killer gets going, things get to be more fun, and its after this point that a few nice twists start being revealed. I didn't guess the ending, which I am glad to say.
The movie is nicely shot, and makes a lot of use of it's location, with some very nice location filming, especially a very odd ruin/cave which features in the finale. Although why it's set in France at all is of no consequence, they really could have used the exact same plot and just stayed put in England. Anyway it's nice to see these old movies again, and luckily this is out on DVD. It's worth a look.
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