Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 27 - Movie

Paranoiac (1963) is a tough movie to summarize without giving too much away. When Eleanor (Janette Scott) claims to keep seeing her brother, Tony, everyone thinks she's mad. Tony is believed dead, a suicide by drowning two years after the death of their parents thirteen years ago. Eleanor's self centered, mean, drunk of a brother, Simon (Oliver Reed) is more than happy to have Eleanor proven insane, this way he won't have to share the half a million dollars in inheritance that's due him in three weeks time. A problem for Simon's plans crops up when a man claiming to be Tony (Alexander Davion) arrives after an absence of eleven years. Is the man really Tony, or an imposter? In a house where everyone seems to be hiding something what secrets will emerge in the search for the truth?

Paranoiac is a Hammer film written by Jimmy Sangster and directed by Freddie Francis who gave us many of Hammer's finest gothic horrors. This movie is more of a thriller than a horror movie, and while it is contemporary in setting, there are still plenty of gothic flourishes to be found here. The black and white cinematography by Arthur Grant is gorgeous and the cast here, especially Reed is terrific. Every character in this movie seems to be hiding something, scheming, or not what they seem, which makes it riveting and keeps the viewer trying to unravel the secrets even after some of the big ones are revealed. Nothing is as obvious as it seems. I've seen this before, and still was trying to work out some of the machinations as the movie progressed.

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