Thursday, April 14, 2011


Things aren't right in the old Ashby house.

Poor, distraught Eleanor has been seeing her brother Tony around lately. That wouldn't be a very big deal if Tony hadn't died eight years ago. So, then, is Eleanor insane? Is Tony just a figment of her broken psyche? Or, perhaps, is Tony a ghost, come back to haunt her?

Ghosts usually don't come sniffing around for their inheritances.

Tony (Alexander Davion) certainly seems to be flesh and blood, but he hasn’t convinced all the Ashbys he’s really who he says he is. Sure, Eleanor is falling in love with him, but her sanity is questionable. Obviously. Younger brother Simon (Oliver Reed), on the other hand, doesn't believe Tony at all. "Why not?" Tony asks. "Just call it a hunch," he says glibly.

But how is Simon so sure? Tony died in an apparent suicide, his body never found. And if Tony is a fraud, how does he know so much about the family's past? Simon is certain of another thing, with Tony back there's less inheritance to go around. He’ll need to get rid of Tony, Eleanor too while he's at it, if he wants to keep himself in brandy and fast cars.

When Tony meets a menacing choirboy in the hall late one night, things start to unravel. Bloodied and rattled, Tony isn't sure who is playing who now, and he sure as hell doesn't know what the fuck that kid in the mask is doing there trying to stab people.

This isn't your typical Hammer production. There are no monsters, no shrieking virgins, hardly any blood at all. Instead we have a good, solid thriller, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.

Directed by Freddie Francis • Unrated • 1963 • 80 minutes

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