- Actors: Liliane Brousse, John Bonney, Sheila Burrell, Oliver Reed, Janette Scott
- Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, PAL
- Language: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 12
- Studio: Eureka Entertainment
- DVD Release Date: 26 July 2010
- Run Time: 81 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B003NVSGT0
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,867 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Paranoiac [DVD] 
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Oliver Reed stars in this early 1960s gothic horror from Hammer Studios, directed by Freddie Francis. While the wealthy Ashby siblings - brutish alcoholic Simon (Reed) and his emotionally unstable sister, Eleanor (Janette Scott) - are waiting to come into their vast family trust fund, Simon plots to have his sister certified insane after she claims to have seen an apparition of their long-dead brother, Tony (Alexander Davion), wandering around the estate.
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Top customer reviews
Hammer are remembered very much for their Gothic horrors, with both their Dracula and Frankenstein series of films rightly regarded as classics of the British horror film. However, they also produced a series of very fine psychological thrillers, tinged with horror, in the 1960's and 70's. This, one of the cream of the crop, here gets a very welcome DVD release, after virtually dissapearing from our television screens. Central to its success is Oliver Reed's terrific performance as the cunning, volatile Simon, and it's no suprise that Hammer cast him in many of their films in the early 60's. Other performances of note include Sheila Burrell as the icy Aunt Harriet, and John Bonney as oily solicitor Keith Kossett. The only dissapointment is Lilianne Brousse who is a bit wooden as dodgy nurse Francoise. The Hammer psycholgical thrillers usually found variations on two main plot-lines, the hint of insanity in the family, and the 'drive the heiress mad' storyline. This film combines both and has much more to add. There are also a couple of real standout scenes, one involving Reed playing the organ in the basement of the house, accompanied by a mysterious masked individual, and there's also a terrific scene in the pub involving a drunken Simon and a set of darts. Of course, the film looks beautiful, with Freddie Francis in the director's chair, and this is just another example of the interesting, varied British horrors he directed over the years, other notable efforts being 'The Creeping Flesh', 'Mumsy,Nanny,Sonny and Girly' and 'Dr Terror's House Of Horrors'.
All in all, a very welcome release, and one that gives hope that other Hammer's not yet available on Region 2, such as Captain Clegg and Curse Of The Werewolf, may soon see the light of day. Full marks to Eureka for releasing this anyway. 5 out of 5
One of the better editions from the physiological thrillers which went side by side with the more familiar territory of gothics.
Light on extras but a worthy edition from Hammer fans.
The print has never looked better and the audio crisp and clean.
Oliver Reed is on the cover, but it's just a way of selling the BD. Janette Scott is the real hero here, though Oliver Reed really delivers in those ambiguous roles he was famous for.
Too bad there wasn't any bonus related to the movie.
But sound and image are perfect. the High Definition transfer is a really marvel! You'll be really picky if you find any cuts, scratches or marks related to the year he was made. What I like is that the contrast levels are respested, so is the structure of the grain. The movie was shot in 1962, and I hate when the Blu rays try to erase these facts (like the Predator edition). Finding the grain's struture is also part of the movie , and part of the charm.
The Ashby family has been blighted by tragedy. 11 years previously the parents were killed in an accident and their younger son, Tony, was so grief stricken he committed suicide by leaping off of a nearby cliff into the sea below. However, Anthony's body was never found. The remaining siblings, Eleanor (Scott) & Simon (Reed) have been raised at the family mansion by their aunt Harriet (Burrell), and neither of them have grown into stable adults. So when an adult comes into their lives claiming to be Tony it further opens up neurotic wounds and dark family secrets.
Skeleton in the closet.
Hammer Films tag onto the coat tails of Hitchcock's Psycho with this slick and moody psychological thriller. The studio would become synonymous with reinventing the creature feature sub-genre of horror that encompassed the likes of Dracula & Frankenstein. What often gets overlooked is that in the 60s they were producing some excellent thrillers, little seen gems that didn't even get home format releases in Britain until over 40 years later! Paranoiac is one such gem, it forms part of the thriller splinter involving someone either going insane or being driven so by unscrupulous bastards.
Paranoiac thrives on slow burn pacing and atmospheric black and white photography, and features a roll call of characters who are either up to no good or are clearly skew-whiff in the head! Perfectly filmed out of the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, England, where the jagged cliff faces match the fragmented state of minds of the principal players, it's a film that benefits greatly from the acting on show. Reed is an oily drunk and a bully, Scott expertly portrays a timid gal clinging onto to her last bit of sanity and Burrell puts a shifty cynicism into mollycoddling Aunt Harriet. Pleasant surprise here is Davion as the man claiming to be Tony, not a well known name but he does a great job in a tricky role, with cards held close to the chest he handles a big shift in the character's fortunes with a smoothness that's most impacting.
It's no Psycho (what is?) and it has some minor flaws in the writing, such as an incestuous thread that is never expanded on, but this is still a moody little cracker of a thriller. Slow burn for sure, but always holding the attention right up to the deliverance of a joyously macabre finale. 7.5/10