"Too clever for its own good" was how this film was reviewed at the time, but to these jaded eyes, more used to your Se7ens and your Usual Suspects, its not all that smart.
Once more its a Hammer thriller, which involves someone being driven bonkers by strange goings-on. In this case its American "beefcake" Robert Webber, who is suffering from amnesia following a car crash and is trying to piece his life back together along with his dodgy looking psychiatrist.
Of course, when hes offered the use of a fancy penthouse suite by a mystery benefactor, no-one bats an eyelid.
And when it turns out the penthouse was the scene of a murder six months ago, no-one seems to care.
And when our hero starts waking up in the middle of the night hearing ghostly voices arguing and finds bloody knives scattered around, still no-one gives a toss. It mustve been something to do with the swinging 60s, I suppose.
Things start to come together during an elongated flashback sequence smack in the middle, when our hero turns out to be not quite as clean cut as first thought. Maurice Denham pops up too as a seedy private eye with a nice line in self defence.
Theres something quite nice about these little films at least by having a twist at the end, it proves that someones given a certain amount of thought to the storyline but the "twist" in this one has all the subtlety of a speeding train, and can be seen coming from just about as far off, too.
All of these films can trace their origins back to Psycho, and in Hysteria its really obvious. Still, youve got to admire the kind of film maker who thinks "if one shower scene got em all going a few years ago, think how apeshit theyll go when we bung in several of them!" And bung them in they did.
Last updated: February 23, 2010
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