Tuesday, April 18, 2017

dead sexy.


Readers with long memories (and short fuses) may remember that way back in January I finally got round to watching the rather splendid (if not a wee bit kinky) Nightmare Castle - a gloriously gory tale of sex, blood and Barbara Steele featuring Paul Müller as a dodgy doctor doing weird things with his new wife whilst his dead former spouse wanders around breaking stuff.

Imagine my surprise then when a few months later I came across another Barbara Steele shocker with as near as dammit the very same plot made a scant two years earlier.

Only this time it's in colour and with the added bonus of a wee bout of necrophilia.

What's not to love?

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1963).
Dir: Riccardo Freda.
Cast: Barbara Steele, Robert Flemyng, Silvano Tranquilli, Maria Teresa Vianello, Harriet Medin and Al Christianson.


His secret was a coffin named DESIRE!





Ginger prince and owner of the biggest sideburns this side of Noddy Holder, Bernard Hichcock (Flemyng, best known for The Blood Beast Terror and dating your nan) is a successful Victorian doctor and pioneer of an experimental new anesthetic for use during surgeries.

The new technique is a roaring success and the doctor alongside his swarthy assistant Dr. Kurt Lowe (Tranquilli from The Legend of Blood Castle) quickly celebrate their medical breakthru' before Hichcock heads home to his spooky mansion, where his wife Margaret (Vianello from The Giants of Thessaly and not much else) is throwing a piano party that very evening.

Paddington.


Arriving home to the dulcet sounds of Margaret’s piano plinking, Hichcock spies a quick glance at his wife's admittedly breathtaking cleavage and almost immediately sneaks off to his bedroom where he instructs their maid Martha (Blood and Black Lace's Medin) to send the guests home and to inform his wife that he's "off to bed".

Heading into the drawing room, Martha gives Margaret the kind of saucily knowing look only found in 1960's European cinema causing her to immediately stop playing and send her guests home.

Margaret then excitedly makes her way to sumptuously silk lined chamber and lays down on an exotic canopied bed, awaiting her husband who soon turns up waving a massive syringe about.

Filling it with a special potion he injects Margaret, waiting until she falls unconscious before jumping onto the bed and giving her an injection of a totally different kind.

And by that I mean he pops his erect penis into her smooth vagina.

Blimey.

"You may feel a little prick".

This seems to be a regular occurrence in the Hichcock household as the following night they're at it again, only this time - for some unknown reason - Hichcock decides to up anesthetic dosage causing Margaret to start convulsing (which in itself is fairly sexy reminding me as it did of Helen Daniels stroke in Neighbours) before dropping dead.

Sinking deep into depression - and wracked with sexual frustration probably - Hichcock orders Margaret to be laid to rest in his laboratory (which he's conveniently converted into a tomb - thank fuck for Habitat) before leaving his mansion in order to 'find himself'.

Twelve years pass before Hichcock returns to his old homestead, bringing with him his exotic new wife Cynthia (Steele), a onetime patient of his that he met whilst moonlighting at a sanitarium just outside West Bromwich.

Cynthia's nervous demeanor and latent mentalism isn't helped by the decrepit state they find the mansion in upon their arrival  (the spooky storm blowing outside doesn't help much either) add to this Martha's thinly veiled hostility and the revelation that the maid’s psychotic sister is living in the house too and it's no surprise that poor Cynthia ends up all a jitter.

Bizarrely enough tho', the thing that tips Hichcock's new bride over the edge and into shaky hand land is the full-size portrait of Margaret (and her cat Jezebel)  that still hangs over the fireplace.

 Deciding it best not to make a fuss tho' Cynthia tries to ignore it and instead concentrate on a spot of redecorating whilst her hubbie goes back to work at the hospital much to the joy of young Dr. Lowe, who was sure he'd be relegated to walk on status and therefore not get to share any screentime with Ms. Steele.


A mooth you'd never tire of shite-in in.


Surprisingly everything seems to be going swimmingly until that is Cynthia begins to have the uncomfortable feeling that someone is creeping around the mansion at night.

Asking Martha if she's allowed her scary sibling to roam around after dark Cynthia is unnerved to discover that she has been sent to an asylum - meaning that either our heroine is going loopy or that someone is indeed stalking her.

Her husband thinks it’s just her mentalism returning but Lowe (having a wee soft spot for the precious porcelain doll that is Barbara Steele but then again, who doesn't?) thinks she's telling the truth.

With the movie at the halfway point at not much having happened (save some nice shots of ghostly boots tiptoeing around the staircase) Cynthia decides to do some investigating of her own.

Her hubbie doesn't really notice - or care - tho' seeing as he's way to busy trying not to shag any corpses of freshly deceased young girls in the hospital morgue.

Yup seems the lack of necrophiliac-based nookie is driving him to distraction.

No childish captions just feminine perfection.

It's not long before Cynthia discovers comes across Martha looking after what she assumes is her sister in an annex just of the old laboratory and confronts her husband with the news.

Imagine her surprise then (but not ours as it's kinda obvious) when he reveals that Martha doesn't have a sister.

Yup, the woman that she’s been caring for is none other than Margaret herself, dazed, confused but very much alive.

You see the overdose that Hichcock administered wasn’t lethal, merely putting her into a deep coma for a few weeks and Martha, whilst hoovering one afternoon whilst the doctor was away discovered her clawing at her coffin lid covered in shite and egg.

Which is nice.

Strangely enough Martha has decided to keep this a secret a secret from the doctor, only confessing the truth when he happens across her one night whilst skulking around the garden one night whilst looking for badgers.

Aroused by Margaret's new corpse-like look, Hichcock follows the only sensible course of action open to him so decides to trap Cynthia in an airtight coffin before draining her blood and injecting it into Margaret.

No, me neither.

Will his vile plan succeed?

Or will Dr. Lowe arrive just in time to save the day?

And will we come across yet another movie in the next few months with this very same plot?



From director Riccardo Freda (the man behind the 1948 version of Les Misérables fact fans) comes a deliciously deadly drama of dodgy deviants, dastardly doctors and damsels in distress which mixes nightmarish gothica, necrophilia and natty lighting with the ultimate scream queen in the perfect form of Barbara Steele.

With a script by Eurohorror stalwart Ernesto Gastaldi - who wrote everything from The Long Hair Of Death to Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion via Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and 2019: After the Fall of New York, see how many you've seen - the film attempts to marry Mario  Bava inspired visuals with the "explained supernatural" storytelling style of the 18th century author Ann Radcliffe in a highly enjoyable -  if a rather silly - way.

This is due in part to the myriad of production problems that beset the film, giving director Freda no choice but to cut many of the scenes that offered any explanation (or logic) to the doctors actions leaving us with visually stylish movie with fag packet motivation and nonsensical reasons for what we see on screen.

Which frankly adds to the general bizarreness of the proceedings no end.

Harsh.

With a top notch cast (is Barbara Steele ever anything other than perfect?) and a vivid over the top style and delivery usually reserved for Christmas pantomimes The Horrible Dr. Hichcock is a gem of a movie that not only deserves to be seen but demands a big budget remake with Eva Green and Richard E Grant.

The campaign to make it happen begins here.

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