Alfred Hitchcock delivers another cinematic masterpiece with this tale about a man who must clear his name after being framed as a ruthless killer.
The film follows Richard Ian Blaney, who has just been fired from his job and is down to his last few pennies. Although Mr. Blaney would never hurt anyone, people do think that after having a few drinks down him that could change. A killer has been raping and strangling women all over London and he has become known as the ‘Necktie Murderer’. After this killer does the same thing to Mr. Blaney’s ex-wife and other people in his life the public and the police begin to put him as the prime suspect for the murders. Mr. Blaney must clear his name, and the only way to do that seems to be to find out who the real killer is.
The stand-out performances in the film have to be by the two main stars – Jon Finch and Barry Foster. Finch gives a great take on a man being blamed for crimes which he did not commit, and does well to win over the audience’s trust after he comes across as a violent drunk to begin with. However the best role has to be that of Foster as the sex-crazed killer, in a way he sort of mirrors Alex DeLarge from 1971’s A Clockwork Orange. In the way that he is such a charming and lovable man to the public’s eye, but once he gets with his victims his whole demeanour changes, and the sadistic killer comes out.
You are gripped to the story line not only because you want Mr. Blaney to prove his innocence but also because of the terror on-screen, something which Hitchcock always does well. Along with his famous camera shots – one of which takes the viewer from a front door, down two flights of stairs and out into the street in a single shot – he also gives a small bit of comedy to give the audience some comic relief every now and then. This is shown through the chief Inspector as he attempts to please his wife be eating her horrific tasting foods.
Hitchcock once again makes it clear to his audience why he has been called the ‘Master of Suspense’ with this film. Although not as suspenseful as Psycho (1960) which had us clutching our pillows at the terror of the psychotic Norman Bates, there is one scene is particular in Frenzy which screams classic Hitchcock though. As the killer has left his victim in her office it is only a matter of time before the receptionist returns to find her boss’s body. All we are given on the screen is a shot of outside the building, we see the receptionist enter but the camera stays in the same place. Not moving, just waiting – along with the audience – for her to discover the corpse and let out that blood-curdling scream. So simple, yet so effective.
Hitchcock’s films tend to generally be associated with thrillers, however many of them have classic horror aspects to them. One which is clear in Frenzy is the name which he gives to the killer. Most great horror films are remembered for the antagonist which they present, and by having a memorable name for the villain makes people remember them more. Hitchcock’s Necktie Murderer is a great example of this. Long after you have watched the film if there is one thing you recall from it, it will be that name.
Although Hitchcock claimed that Marnie (1964) was his final masterpiece, Frenzy is proof that the world-famous director had many more great pictures to offer his audience.
Tag Line: A Deadly New Twist From The Original Hitchcock.
Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O)
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆