Hammer Horror: Paranoiac

 

1961’s Hammer entry Paranoiac doesn’t feature a conventional villain at all. In fact, it’s a bit hard to determine who’s the protagonist and who’s the antagonist. Oliver Reed brilliantly plays an angry young man swinging out of control, but it would seem that he could be the (anti)hero of the thing. You don’t know for sure until the final real.

Hammer Horror is notable in that it avoids schlock. You would expect elements of camp, which are completely absent from the better ones. That’s certainly true here. Paranoiac deserves to be regarded in the rarefied critical air of Psycho. And like Psycho, the less you know going in, the better.

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