Paranoiac – UK, 1963

‘Shocking! Horrifying! Macabre!’

Paranoiac – aka Paranoiac! – is a 1963 British horror thriller film from Hammer Films directed by Freddie Francis (Nightmare; Hysteria; The Skull). The screenplay was written by Jimmy Sangster, based loosely on the 1949 crime novel, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey.

On 20 November 2017, Final Cut Entertainment released Paranoiac as a Blu-ray + DVD combo.

Buy: Amazon.co.uk

On 26 July 2010 a Eureka Classics “Masters of Cinema’ Blu-ray and DVD was released in the UK. The Blu-ray contains a restored Cinemascope high-definition transfer, optional music and effects track, the long-unseen original trailer, and high-definition stills gallery of rare materials.

paranoiac british blu-ray

Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

Main cast:

Janette Scott, Oliver Reed, Sheila Burrell, Alexander Davion, Liliane Brousse.

Simon Ashby (Oliver Reed) is trying to drive his sister, Eleanor (Janette Scott) insane, so that he can inherit the estate of their deceased parents. But when a mysterious man (Alexander Davion) appears, claiming to be their long-lost brother Tony, Simon’s plans are thwarted. Simon vows to get revenge on the man and eliminate his sister in the process.

Eight years earlier, when Tony was a youth, he had left a suicide note and had apparently jumped off a seacoast cliff, but his body had never been recovered. A grown man resembling Tony appears, claiming that he had simply run off. Eleanor wants to believe that the man is Tony. Harriet Ashby (Sheila Burrell), their Aunt, is immediately hostile and calls the man an impostor. Simon pretends to be more open-minded about the situation…

oliver reed in paranoiac

Reviews:

” …the UK Blu-ray from Masters of Cinema looks absolutely stunning. The sharpness, the quality is absurd. I have never seen a Hammer production look SO good before … It’s in black & white, low-key in both performances and story and relies heavily on a brilliant and simple, but yet effective, script by Jimmy Sangster.” Ninja Dixon

Paranoiac is a hypnotic and eerie film that features phenomenal black and white cinematography by Arthur Grant … Sure there are some huge plot holes and loads of melodrama but who cares when you’ve got Janette Scott in a flowing nightgown wandering the grounds of the estate under a day-for-night filter while chasing the phantom of the brother who she totally has inappropriate feelings for.” Doomed Moviethon

paranoiac_2-e1480354136619“Twists and turns abound in this gripping chiller that fuses an Agatha Christie-type mystery with gothic horror scares – particularly a ‘what the Hell’ moment involving the family chapel, a wheezing organ and a very creepy masked figure – and adding a dash of fratricide, incest and insanity for good measure.” Peter Fuller, Kultguy’s Keep

KISS-OF-THE-VAMPIRE-and-PARANOIAC-double-bill

Janette Scott drinking tea in the shower in Paranoiac production still

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Hammer Films An Exhaustive Filmography

Buy: Amazon.co.uk

Cast and characters:

  • Janette Scott as Eleanor Ashby
  • Oliver Reed as Simon Ashby
  • Sheila Burrell as Aunt Harriet
  • Maurice Denham as John Kossett
  • Alexander Davion as Tony Ashby
  • Liliane Brousse as Françoise
  • Harold Lang as RAF Type
  • Arnold Diamond as Publican
  • John Bonney as Keith Kossett
  • John Stuart as Williams

Filming Locations:

Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, England

Trivia:

The Indian film Phir Wahi Raat (1980) was inspired by Paranoiac.

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