OCTOBER 8, 2007
One of the Scotts recommended Paranoiac the other day, specifying that it’s a film that one should watch knowing little about it. Well, I knew absolutely nothing about it, other than the fact that I owned it. Which is more than I can say for some other movies (the other day I was surprised to discover The Cave in my collection. Where the hell did that come from?)
Anyway, the film stars Oliver Reed, and would it surprise you to learn he plays a drunk? I should certainly hope not. In fact, one of his first lines in the film is a response to his aunt’s inquiry as to where he was: “I’ve been drinking!” Wow, really? YOU? Rumor has it that he died on a Monday and sobered up on a Thursday. Also, and it’s tough to tell if it’s because he’s a drunk or not, but either way, he’s pretty much a total dick in the film. At one point, he leads a girl on, and once she gets into bed with him, he gets out of bed and heads off to the bar, but not before making sure his aunt sees the girl in his bed. Hahah, what an ass.
It’s a good flick though, but like some others, it’s sort of been “spoiled” by all the films that were influenced by it that I have already seen. There are a lot of good twists, but to say I didn’t see most of them coming would be a damnable lie. When I have kids, I am going to make sure they watch films chronologically, to prevent such things. “Dad, I want to watch Scream!” “Well first you gotta watch Psycho. Then Halloween. And then, maybe Deadly Friend and Vampire in Brooklyn, so you can appreciate what it was like to see a good Wes Craven movie again.”
As far as the horror elements, they are pretty light, especially for a Hammer film. But there’s a damn creepy scene late in the film, where the masked “killer” is just standing behind Reed as he plays the piano. The mask the “killer” wears is pretty freaky too (considering the period the film was made – 1960):
There’s a bizarre problem with a lot of the film exposure in this movie. A lot of shots are darkened on the sides, leaving a rounded image in the light. I’ve seen this in much older films, but here it seems out of place. And during the climax, instead of just darker, the sides of the frame are smeared. Very weird. Was this an intentional effect back in the day? If so, it’s pretty ugly/distracting.
Still, you gotta love a movie that finds a guy saying “Get some sleep. And no dreaming!”
What say you?