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Friday, February 17, 2017

L'Orrible Segreto Del Dr. Hichcock (aka The Horrible Dr. Hichcock) (1962)

Set in the late 19th century, a doctor (Robert Flemyng) returns to his estate twelve years after the death of his first wife (Maria Teresa Vianello). He brings a new bride (Barbara Steele) with him but it isn't long before she realizes there's something terribly wrong going on. Directed by Riccardo Freda, this is quite a perverse film for 1962 (it was released in the U.S. two years later). Necrophilia was hardly a subject for discussion in polite society so a film with necrophilia as its theme was rather outrageous. Although the "T" has been left out of the Hichcock of the film's title, the film borrows from the master of suspense and the movie references REBECCA, SUSPICION and even a bit of PSYCHO. The film itself is an atmospheric Gothic horror (though it is sometimes inexplicably referenced as a giallo) with a nice central performance by scream Queen Steele as the put upon second wife. It's rather subtle in its creepiness. As in most films of this type, when released in America, most of the Italians were given American sounding names and Freda is credited as Robert Hampton and most amusing, production designer Franco Fumagalli is credited as Frank Smokecocks!

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