An Italian horror remake of 1955’s Les Diaboliques, I’ll give you one reason to watch this movie: Barbara Steele. Otherwise, it’s a brooding take on murder and gaslighting. And while this is directed by Riccardo Freda, stars Steele and has a character named Dr. Hichcock, it is not the same movie as The Horrible Dr. Hichcock. While this movie was shot right around the same time, it is also not a sequel per se. There are some people who care about these kind of things. Like me.
The ailing Dr. Hichcock and his housekeeper Catherine are engaged in a seance whole his wife Margaret (Steele) is having a love affair with Dr. Livingstone (Peter Baldwin, who in addition to acting in this movie and I Married a Monster from Outer Space, went on to become a director, being behind the camera for TV movies such as the aborted Revenge Against the Nerds TV show pilot, The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Girls Get Married and The Brady Brides series follow-up).
Soon, the doctor is dead and Catherine, Margaret and Livingstone get none of the money. And the key to his safe? Well, he’s literally taken it to the grave. Every time they think they get close or find the money, they’re thwarted. And soon, Catherine the maid is possessed and throws shade on the lovers, convincing Margaret that she should kill the not so good doctor.
The close is where this movie turns the screw. Hichcock has been alive and well the entire time and he murders Catherine, his co-conspirator, and incriminates Margaret. She had been planning suicide and poured a glass of poison, which Hichcock thinks is poison. He begs for the antidote, but she walks away to be arrested for Catherine’s murder. As the movie closes, Hichcock seals himself away inside his castle to die.
Should you watch it? Do you like gothic romantic horror ala Bava but want to see one with none of Bava’s directorial flair? How much do you love Barbara Steele? That should inform your opinion. The good news is that if you have an Amazon Prime membership, you won’t have to pay anything to watch it.