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HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK, THE (THE TERROR OF DR. HICHCOCK) (L’ORRIBILE SEGRETO DEL DR. HICHCOCK) (director: Riccardo Freda (Robert Hampton); screenwriter: story by Ernesto Gastaldi/Ernesto Gastaldi; cinematographer: Rafaele Massiocchi; editor: Donna Christie; music: Roman Vlad; cast: Barbara Steele (Cynthia Hichcock), Robert Flemyng (Professor Bernard Hichcock), Harriet Medlin (Martha), Montgomery Glen (Dr Kurt Loewe), Theresa Fitzgerald (Margaret Hichcock); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Luigi Carpenteri; Something Weird Video; 1962-Italy-in English)
A well-made haunting Italian Gothic horror film.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A well-made haunting Italian Gothic horror film directed by the Egyptian-born Italian filmmaker Riccardo Freda (“The Ghost”/”The Sins of Rome”/”Double Face”). He passionately directs this mad scientist pic as if it were an eerie Poe-like horror tale filmed by Hitchcock, with the tabu subject matter being necrophilia. The film is based on a story by Ernesto Gastaldi.

It’s set in London in 1885. Respected surgeonProfessor Bernard Hichcock (Robert Flemyng) had 12 years ago administered an overdose of an experimental anesthetic to his wife, Margaret (Theresa Fitzgerald), during one of their kinky sexual “funeral games.” Bernard has kept his Margaret’s corpse locked in the lab of his gloomy country mansion. When he returns to the isolated country mansion with new bride, Cynthia (Barbara Steele), after being absent since his wife’s demise, the mansion creeps out wife number two. Cynthia is immediately frightened when she hears screams in the night (explained away as being those of the mentally ill sister of the housekeeper Martha). Then there’s a skull found on the pillow of Cynthia’s bed and a ghost-like veiled figure of a woman (Margaret) roaming the premises. Bernard is aroused that his wife is still alive after injecting her with Cynthia’s blood, even if she’s withered. The sicko genius then attempts to restore his wife’s youthful beauty by drugging Cynthia with a lethal amount of sleeping pills and plans to afterward drain her blood for his favorite wife. But Cynthia suspects her arrogant and cold-hearted hubby still loves only his first wife and is up to no good. Therefore she doesn’t drink the drugged milk, but instead gets hubby’s young assistant Dr Kurt Loewe (Montgomery Glen) to analyze it. When Kurt discovers the milk has been drugged, he rushes by carriage from the hospital to the mansion and rescues Cynthia before hubby can hang her and drain her blood. In the rescue effort, Kurt struggles with the madman Bernard, depicted as a tortured soul who is unable to curtail his dark desires, and the mansion burns down with only Cynthia and Kurt leaving the place alive.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”