GEP Pal Glenn McQuaid just wrote an amazing retrospective look at the work of director Freddie Francis for Shock Till You Drop.
In 1963, he directed Paranoiac, which marked the start of a loose trilogy of psychological thrillers Francis would direct for Hammer (1964’s Nightmare and 1965’s Hysteria followed). Paranoiac is a gothic romance of sorts – a return to the manor born for a long-lost sibling to a family surrounded by a crumbling mansion and a crumbling secret. It features a remarkable performance by Oliver Reed, who literally chews the scenery up from under his fellow actors, and his staccato, madcap delivery is something to behold. But it’s Francis, as the film’s director, who truly shines, especially in the choreography of the ever changing blocking and camerawork. His actors and camera are in a dance and not a beat is missed; it’s incredible stuff, and watching it, one is reminded of the power of the humble, single shot – moving from over-the-shoulder to close-up to wide and back again. Making it look this on-point must have taken a lot of effort.
For the full write-up, check out Glenn’s wonderful piece on Shock Till You Drop.