“I swear I’m telling the truth! Do I look like a sex murderer to you? Can you imagine me creeping around, strangling all those women with ties? That’s ridiculous. For a start, I only own two.” Does that sound like a believable denial to you? Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they check out Alfred Hitchcock’s penultimate film, Frenzy (1972).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 153 – Frenzy (1972)
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London is terrorized by a vicious sex killer known as The Necktie Murderer. Following the brutal slaying of his ex-wife, down-on-his-luck Richard Blaney is suspected by the police of being the killer. He goes on the run, determined to prove his innocence.IMDb
- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Writers: Anthony Shaffer; Arthur La Bern (based on the novel “Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square” by)
- Selected cast:
- Jon Finch as Richard Ian “Dick” Blaney
- Alec McCowen as Chief Inspector Timothy Oxford
- Barry Foster as Robert “Bob” Rusk
- Billie Whitelaw as Hetty Porter
- Anna Massey as Barbara Jane “Babs” Milligan
- Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Brenda Margaret Blaney
- Bernard Cribbins as Felix Forsythe
- Vivien Merchant as Mrs. Oxford
- Michael Bates as Sergeant Spearman
- Jean Marsh as Monica Barling
- Clive Swift as Johnny Porter
- Madge Ryan as Mrs. Davison
- Elsie Randolph as Gladys
- Jimmy Gardner as Hotel Porter
- Gerald Sim as Solicitor in Pub
- Noel Johnson as Doctor in Pub
- Rita Webb as Mrs. Rusk (uncredited)
Frenzy is Jeff’s pick and, maybe not surprisingly, he loves it. He points out the huge jump from Hitchcock pushing the censorship line with a scene of a toilet flushing in Psycho (1960) to the lurid kills and their aftermath as depicted in Frenzy. Bill is impressed with Frenzy and finds it to be simultaneously old-fashioned and modern. He also identifies a few top-notch Hitchcockian sequences. Calling Frenzy pure unadulterated Hitchcock, Chad loves how small details early mean something big later in the film. He also delights in the scenes between the Chief Inspector and his wife. Doc is a huge Hitchcock fan but does not like Frenzy, finding it to be an indication of Hitch losing his touch. In fact, he doesn’t like the characters, the cast, the dialogue, or the ending and vows never to watch it again.
Depending on the Grue-Crew members’ individual points-of-view, Frenzy is either Hitchcock’s last hurrah or a film to be avoided. In either case, at the time of this writing, Frenzy is available to stream from the Criterion Channel and multiple PPV services, and on physical media as a Blu-ray from Universal Home Entertainment.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Planet of Dinosaurs (1977), chosen by Bill. Time for some stop motion animation!
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