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Paranoiac: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

“Paranoiac” is an underrated Hammer horror film.

In 1963’s “Paranoiac,” the story revolves around 2 siblings- the in debt, troublemaker, drunkard Simon and his sister Eleanor who is both distraught and may be experiencing a mental breakdown. The 2 have lived with their Aunt Harriet ever since their parents passed away. There used to be a third sibling (Tony), but he allegedly committed suicide even though no body was ever found. From there on out, matters become increasingly more puzzling and twisted as Tony may or may not be alive, family members scheme for money, dark family secrets are unveiled, and a masked person with a hook is roaming around.

Despite being clearly influenced by the work of Alfred Hitchcock, “Paranoiac” is an engrossing horror film from the minds of writer Jimmy Sangster and director Freddie Francis (who helmed numerous Hammer Films). What’s striking about this particular genre film is that it doesn’t stick to one subgenre of horror. It’s psychological, it’s a horror-thriller, it’s a murder mystery, it’s a dark and twisted family tale, and you even think it’s a ghost story early on. You don’t quite know where it’s going through its many twists and turns which is what makes it work so well. On top of that, Sangster has crafted a really provoking story about family, secrets, and mental health. It goes to some deeply uncomfortable places, but that challenging material makes it stand out from similar fare.

Janette Scott, Alexander Davion, and Sheila Burrell all turn in quality performances here, but let’s be real, this is Oliver Reed’s movie. There may be a few big over-the-top moments, but his performance is nothing short of electric. There’s an intensity to his acting and character that positively owns the screen. It doesn’t hurt that his character is complex and compelling either.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W film has been given a new 2K scan from the interpositive and the result is a crisp print that is sure to satisfy fans.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? A little snowy but solid.

Extras:
* Theatrical trailer
* Still gallery
* “Drink To Deception”- A near 15 minute interview with film historian Kim Newman who talks about the history of “Paranoiac!”
* “A Toast To Terror”- A 25 minute interview with film historian Jonathan Rigby about screenwriter Jimmy Sangster’s work, the music, casting and more.
* “The Making Of Paranoiac”- A 28 minute 2017 special with interviews and discussions about the production.
* Commentary by film historian Bruce Hallenbeck.

February 8, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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