6.8/10
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Paranoiac (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 15 May 1963 (USA)
A man long believed dead returns to the family estate to claim his inheritance.

Director:

Freddie Francis

Writer:

Jimmy Sangster (screenplay)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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

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Storyline

Eleven years earlier, the wealthy Ashby family was shattered when Mr and Mrs Ashby died in an airplane crash and their grieving son Tony committed suicide. All that remains of the family is cruel Simon, an alcoholic in desperate need of funds; his mentally fragile sister Eleanor; and his protective aunt Harriet. Simon is just weeks away from receiving his inheritance, but there is a hitch in his plans when the long believed dead Tony Ashby suddenly arrives. Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Chilling Terror of a PSYCHO KILLER See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Antony James Ashby was born in 1938 and died in 1953. See more »

Goofs

As Simon plays the congregational hymn on the organ in the opening scene at the church the music shown on his stand in the organ loft is an oratorio/anthem music score with SATB lines (soprano/alto/tenor/bass) and a two-stave orchestral/keyboard reduction, emphatically not a church hymn. See more »

Quotes

Simon Ashby: [stumbles through the door inebriated]
Aunt Harriet: Where have you been?
Simon Ashby: [smirk on his face] I've been drinking.
[Looks at the liquor on the bar in the entryway]
Simon Ashby: Now I need to drink some more.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) See more »

User Reviews

 
Not the usual Hammer Horror
12 October 2005 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

I'm a big fan of Hammer Horror, and have seen a fair few of the films made by the studio. However, none of my previous viewings could prepare me for this film - it's absolutely nothing like the Hammer Horror we know! And luckily, that isn't a bad thing. Hammer are most famous for producing fun, colourful flicks - and this one is neither of those things. Shot in black and white, and without a slither of humour in sight; Paranoiac is an entirely serious horror-drama. It's a good one too, as Oliver Reed steps into the role of spoilt brat Simon Ashby brilliantly, and you can really believe his every motivation. The plot follows Simon and the rest of the Ashby family, which is thrown into disarray when Simon's long lost brother Tony turns up. Believed to have committed suicide eight years ago, Simon and his Aunt don't believe the man claiming to be Tony and think him to be an impostor. The only member of the family who does believe that it really is Tony is the sister, Eleanor, whom Simon has being trying to drive insane so that he can get his hands on the family fortune.

'Paranoiac' is a great title for this film, as it breathes a very paranoid atmosphere throughout. Oliver Reed's facial expressions and mannerisms help it to achieve this, and Paranoiac wouldn't be the film that it is had it not been for him starring in it. The beautiful Janette Scott stars alongside him, and makes up the rest of the central ensemble along with Alexander Davion and Sheila Burrell. The colours tend to be my favourite thing about most Hammer films, and thus I tend not to like the black and white ones as much. The lack of colour doesn't harm this film, however, as it makes up for it with a suburb atmosphere, much of which comes from the excellent black and white cinematography. The pace of the film can be a little slow at times, but it never becomes boring and Paranoiac always has enough up it's sleeve to compensate for it's less exciting moments. The plot has enough surprises entwined within it, and even though the film only has an eighty-minute running time - there's a lot of development, and the final twist is bound to catch you off guard. While this film isn't very well known - it is very good. I don't hesitate to call Paranoiac one of Hammer Horror's best little-known gems.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Haus des Grauens See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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