Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Paranoiac! (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  
    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Paranoiac! (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-cover.jpg Views:	0 Size:	44.2 KB ID:	386030

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: February 8th, 2022.
    Director: Freddie Francis
    Cast: Janette Scott, Oliver Reed, Sheila Burrell, Maurice Denham, Alexander Davion, Liliane Brousse
    Year: 1963
    Purchase From Amazon

    Paranoiac! – Movie Review:

    Directed by Freddie Francis in 1963, his first for Hammer Studios and written by Jimmy Sangster, Paranoiac! is more of a psychological thriller than the type of horror that the company was known for, but that doesn’t make it any less great.

    The film revolves around Simon Ashby (Oliver Reed), a young man with a very real drinking problem. He’s a bit of a bastard, really, in that he intends to drive his genial but fragile sister Eleanor (Janette Scott) insane so that the inheritance she’s set to receive since their parents passed away in a plane crash years ago. It was to go to their older brother Tony (Alexander Davion), but before that could happen he committed suicide, so these days? Well, it’s just Simon and poor Eleanor... who insists that she sees Tony around regardless of his passing. As such, she’s under the care of a beautiful French nurse named Francois (Liliane Brousse). Simon’s financial situation is rather dire, making his actions increasingly aggressive, and Aunt Harriet (Sheila Burrell) doesn’t seem able, or really all that willing, to do much about it.

    With Simon set to receive the money in only a few short weeks, things take an interesting turn when Tony, long thought to be dead, shows up at the family home. Eleanor couldn’t be happier to see him and soon, they’ve become quite close, leading her to realize that maybe she wasn’t as crazy as Simon and Aunt Harriet had led her to believe. Increasingly desperate, hard drinking Simon decides he’s going to take Tony and Eleanor out of the picture all together, with some help from Harriet, but of course, it doesn’t go as planned and before it’s all over, the truth about the whole matter is exposed.

    Clearly influenced by the success of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho made just three years earlier, Paranoiac! is nevertheless very much a worthwhile film. Francis directs with skill, controlling the pacing quite deftly and doing a very good job of unveiling the clues to the film’s big finish at just the right speed. The black and white cinematography from Arthur Grant, who worked on scores of Hammer productions from the fifties through to the seventies, creates plenty of shadowy mood and atmosphere. This really is a very sharp looking film. Elisabeth Lutyens, who worked for Hammer on this film and on Never Take Sweets From A Stranger as well as on a few Amicus productions, provides a score that works well enough. If it’s not a classic, it’s at least reasonably interesting, heightening drama, suspense and horror as a good score should.

    The acting in the film is pretty solid. Janette Scott is well cast as troubled Eleanor. She has the right sort of fragility to her look and her performing style to work quite well in the part, we buy her with no problems at all. Sheila Burrell also does just fine as shifty Aunt Harriett, while beautiful Liliane Brousse, who appeared in Maniac for Hammer the same year (also penned by Sangster), delivers quality work as Eleanor’s mysterious nurse even if she’s rather underused in the movie. Alexander Davion, who had a very prolific television career, is also very good here. The real star of the show, however, is Oliver Reed. Interesting that he’d be cast as a troubled alcoholic, given his relationship with liquor and trouble, but he turns in a powerhouse performance as Simon. He stops short of chewing the scenery but manages to bring his inimitable intensity and brooding screen presence to the film in a big way and Paranoiac! is all the better for it.

    Paranoiac! – Blu-ray Review:

    Shout! Factory offers up Paranoiac! on a 50GB Blu-ray with the transfer using up just under 24Gbs of space in its proper aspect ratio of 2.35.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation that looks quite excellent. The black and white image, taken from a new 2k scan of the interpositive, shows great contrast, strong detail and nice depth. It retains a filmic texture throughout, showing natural looking film grain but very little actual print damage outside of a white speck now and again. Black levels are nice and deep and the picture is free of any obvious noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts. That said, when compared to the Anolis release here, the image looks oddly stretched, which is clearly incorrect.

    The disc contains a 24-bit English language DTS HD-MA 2.0 Mono audio option with removable subtitles provided in English only. The track on the disc sounds fine. It’s properly balanced, clean and quite clear. The dialogue is easy to understand and there are no audible issues with any hiss or distortion to note. There’s even some surprising depth to the score in places where you might not expect it.

    Extras start off with a new audio commentary with Author/Film Historian Bruce G. Hallenbeck, author of the book 'The Hammer Thriller.' He talks about where Hammer was at in the late fifties, the influence of Diabolique on Jimmy Sangster's output of the time, Hammer's relationship with a young Oliver Reed after the success of Curse Of The Werewolf, Freddie Francis' career and his importance to Hammer's output, details on the different cast and crew members affiliated with the production, Reed's on-screen intensity and how it compares to some of the other character actors in the movie, how Sangster used his real name in the credits rather than an alias as he sometimes did, the film's production schedule, the quality of the visuals in the film and the frequent use of shadows and lots more.

    Drink To Deception is a new interview With Author/Film Historian Kim Newman that clocks in at fifteen minutes. Here, the always amusing and heavily mustachioed scribe goes over the importance of Josephine Tey's source novel 'Brat Farrar,' how Hammer was 'pitching out of their league' with this production as it was quite a bit more ambitious than almost all of their work prior, why Freddie Francis directed the film instead of someone like Val Guest, the film's release history, how the film compares to the similar films like Psycho, Taste Of Fear and Diabolique, as well as some of the William Castle movies and quite a bit more.

    A Toast To Terror is a new interview with Author/Film Historian Jonathan Rigby that runs for just over twenty-five minutes. This segment discusses Sangster's screenplay and his place as one of the architects of Hammer horror, how Sangster early on became aware of what the modern viewer wanted, the quality of the performances in the film, similar thrillers that Hammer had made around the same time, how Reed really takes the movie over whether he's supposed to or not, how Francis requested Hammer get Elisabeth Lutyens to score the picture based on his appreciation of some of her earlier work, how a certain kiss scene in this movie mirrors one in The Innocents that Francis had worked on years earlier and the quality of Roy Asthon's makeup work in the film.

    Carried over from past editions is a featurette entitled The Making Of Paranoiac, a twenty-eight minute piece that cover the influence of Psycho, Universal’s happiness to cash in on the trend that it started, where Hammer was at during the time this movie was made and how this film differs from many of the studio’s other output. It also covers Reed’s performance, Francis and Sangster’s contributions (Sangster is interviewed), the importance of the supporting players, Hammer’s history of psychological thrillers and more. Appearing here, sometimes in newly shot footage and sometimes by way of archival clips, along with Sangster are Alan Lavender, Don Mingaye, Haugh and Pauline Harlow and Oliver Reed. Wayne Kinsey hosts the piece.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are the original American theatrical trailer, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection. As to the packaging, Shout! Factory offers up a slipcover and some nice reversible cover art with their newly created art on one side and the original one sheet art on the reverse.

    Paranoiac! - The Final Word:

    Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray release of Hammer Films’ Paranoiac! has a problem with the transfer but does offer a nice selection of extra features old and new. The movie would be worth seeing for Oliver Reed’s performance alone but has much more to recommend it than just that, including great work from the rest of the cast and some impressive production values.

    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Paranoiac! Blu-ray screen caps!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-01.jpg Views:	0 Size:	318.5 KB ID:	386031

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-02.jpg Views:	0 Size:	376.8 KB ID:	386045

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-03.jpg Views:	0 Size:	367.8 KB ID:	386033

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-04.jpg Views:	0 Size:	305.9 KB ID:	386032

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-05.jpg Views:	0 Size:	344.4 KB ID:	386034

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-06.jpg Views:	0 Size:	353.8 KB ID:	386043

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-07.jpg Views:	0 Size:	368.8 KB ID:	386036

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-08.jpg Views:	0 Size:	342.2 KB ID:	386035

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-09.jpg Views:	0 Size:	312.5 KB ID:	386040

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-10.jpg Views:	0 Size:	350.8 KB ID:	386041

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-11.jpg Views:	0 Size:	384.7 KB ID:	386044

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-12.jpg Views:	0 Size:	354.8 KB ID:	386042

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-13.jpg Views:	0 Size:	270.0 KB ID:	386039

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-14.jpg Views:	0 Size:	252.0 KB ID:	386038

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Paranoiac-Blu-ray-Review-15.jpg Views:	0 Size:	316.4 KB ID:	386037
    Ian Jane
    Administrator
    Last edited by Ian Jane; 02-09-2022, 11:05 AM.
      Posting comments is disabled.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • Red Lips (Saturn’s Core) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Saturn’s Core
      Released on: June 28th, 2022.
      Director: Donald Farmer
      Cast: Ghetty Chasun, Michelle Bauer, Danny Fendley, Mandy Leigh
      Year: 1995
      Purchase From Amazon

      Red Lips – Movie Review:

      Somewhere, two 90s Goth gals are making out. They get baked and make out some more, it's pretty graphic but not quite hardcore. The Gothiest of the two, wearing a choker, then bites the other, her victim’s blood turning her lips
      ...
      06-27-2022, 04:46 PM
    • Escape The Field (Lionsgate) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Lionsgate
      Released on: June 21st, 2022.
      Director: Emerson Moore
      Cast: Shane West, Theo Rossie, Jordan Claire Robbins, Tahirah Sharif, Elan Juatco
      Year: 2022
      Purchase From Amazon

      Escape The Field – Movie Review:

      Directed by Emerson Moore, who co-wrote with Sean Wathen and Joshua Dobkin, 2022's Escape The Field not surprisingly takes place... in a field. A corn field, to be specific. Here a woman named Sam (Jordan Claire
      ...
      06-22-2022, 05:26 PM
    • The Brain From Planet Arous (The Film Detective) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: The Film Detective
      Released on: June 21st, 2022.
      Director: Nathan Juran
      Cast: John Agar, Joyce Meadows, Thomas Browne Henry, Robert Fuller
      Year: 1957
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Brain From Planet Arous – Movie Review:

      Directed by Nathan Juran and released in 1957, The Brain From Planet Arous tells us what happens when a giant floating brain from outer space decides it wants to take over our planet. After it initially
      ...
      06-20-2022, 02:11 PM
    • The Northman (Universal Pictures) UHD/Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Universal Pictures
      Released on: June 7th, 2022.
      Director: Robert Eggers
      Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidmna, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ethan Hawke
      Year: 2022
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Northman – Movie Review:

      Directed by Robert Eggers and co-written by Eggers and Icelandic author Sjón (also known as Björk/The Sugarcubes collaborator Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson), 2022’s The Northman opens when King Aurvandil
      ...
      06-17-2022, 05:31 PM
    • Thriller - A Cruel Picture (Vinegar Syndrome) UHD/Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: May 27th, 2022.
      Director: Bo Arne Vibenius
      Cast: Christina Lindberg, Heinz Hopf, Despina Tomazani, Per-Axel Arosenius
      Year: 1974
      Purchase From Amazon

      Thriller - A Cruel Picture – Movie Review:

      What do you get when you combine a potentially insane director, a gorgeous Swedish sex kitten with an eye patch and a shotgun, eyeball slicing, more slow motion than Sam Peckinpah could ever dream
      ...
      06-17-2022, 05:20 PM
    • Miami Connection (Vinegar Syndrome) UHD/Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: May 27th, 2022.
      Director: Richard Park
      Cast: Y.K. Kim, Vincent Hirsch, Joseph Diamand, Maurice Smith, Angelo Janotti, Kathy Collier, William Eagle
      Year: 1986
      Purchase From Amazon

      Miami Connection – Movie Review:

      The story behind Miami Connection is a fascinating one. Spearheaded by Korean immigrant Y.K. Kim, a man who came to America with only his black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a heart
      ...
      06-14-2022, 02:44 PM
    Working...
    X