The Horrible Dr Hichcock is a 1962 Italian film (it was released in the United States in 1964). It is a Gothic Horror movie that is filmed seemingly in the style of the Hammer Horror franchise. There are no big named actors involved (unless you consider Barbara Steele a big name) and the budget seems modest to low. This film was also known as The Horrible Secret of Dr. Hichcock and The Terror of Dr. Hichcock. Did The Nerd Mentality become terrified and discover interesting secrets, or was the film just horrible? Read on to find out!
It is 1885 in London, and Dr. Bernard Hichcock has a fun little game he likes to play with his wife. He likes to drug her and pretend she is dead and make out with her. You see, Dr. Hichcock is a necrophiliac. Well, one day he goes too far and administers too much of the drug and actually kills his wife. You would think this would be a dream come true; however, the old doc is in agony and leaves his mansion and housekeeper behind. Seemingly overnight our doctor pal is married again and decides to live once again in his old house. Hichcock’s new bride feels uneasy and starts seeing strange things happen. Are our newly weds doomed? Is Dr. Hichcock truly horrible? Did you read this in the voice of William Dozier? Well to find out the answers you will just have to watch the film The Horrible Dr Hichcock.
The Horrible Dr Hichcock Blu-ray is only 77 minutes long and moves at a brisk pace. It really seems like scenes are edited out of this version, like it is a television cut (because it seems like there are places for commercials). Looking this film up on IMDB and other internet movie sites has this movie listed at 88 minutes. I don’t know if that means this version on the Olive Blu-ray is not the uncut version, but if that is true that is quite a shameful thing to release in 2016. Considering the time discrepancy and the disjointed story along with obvious edits I’m going to assume this version is edited. I personally think that is a serious mistake in this release, especially considering the previous DVDs listed online from the UK have a longer running time. There is little excuse for a Blu-ray from a boutique distributor to not be the definitive version.
None of this may really matter much to you, however. The Horrible Dr Hichcock seems to me to be of an Elvira or MST3K quality film. It’s not so bad that it is funny, but it does have a couple decent WTF moments. The story is not very coherent and the characters are pretty one dimensional with very little reason to ever do much. One of the taglines of the movie is “The candle of his lust burnt brightest in the shadow of the grave!” I think that pretty much explains it. There isn’t much substance to the film, and after reading the description on the back of the movie box there isn’t much more that is said about it. It is very much “imagine a doctor who is into necrophilia” and then they show you a guy into it. The audience is supposed to be grossed out by it but it never seems like it really comes up in the movie. Part of that may be due to with the code at the time and what they couldn’t show, and part of it may have had to do with the filmmakers. I am sure there is an audience for this but it just seemed like an average late night movie to me.
Audio and Visuals:
The original audio is mono and that is what is used here on the Horrible Dr Hichcock Blu-ray. Since this is an Italian movie there are many lip sync issues. None of the audio has been cleaned up so you have background noise and pops and other audio artifacts. These really aren’t hugely distracting, but they are noticeable. The music in the film at times hits that really high pitch where it becomes a bit of an irritant but that sort of just exists with certain movies of that era. English subtitles are included.
The visuals do not seem to be cleaned up any as there are blemishes and scratches, but not to the extent that takes away from the film. There is a bit of soft focus and poor lighting in scenes. Honestly, some shots look very similar to standard definition but I did not have a copy of the DVD to compare. This is not a movie to purchase for visual fidelity, although I can imagine that previous releases probably looked like VHS quality and this literally might be the best the film will ever look. The film is listed as its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and the framing seemed correct from my judgement. This is one of those films that if you go through with a fine tooth comb you are going to be disappointed.
There are no special features on this release.
I don’t know if I would go so far as to say this movie is interesting but it is a curiosity mostly because of the subject matter. It definitely needs a rental before purchase consideration, especially since this is most likely some sort of edited version. If you already are a fan of The Horrible Dr. Hichcock this release is adequate and could replace the version already in your collection, although uncut run time, a remaster and special features are greatly missed. The MSRP of $29.95 is a tough pill to swallow, but the current online price of $12.99 at Amazon or Best Buy might just be what the doctor ordered, if you are interested.
Note: This Blu Ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.