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The Full Treatment
Stop Me Before I Kill!

UK 1960
produced by
Val Guest for Falcon Film, Hilary Productions, Hammer
directed by Val Guest
starring Claude Dauphin, Diane Cilento, Ronald Lewis, Françoise Rosay, Bernard Braden, Katya Douglas, Barbara Chilcott, Ann Tirard, Edwin Styles, George Merritt
screenplay by Val Guest, Ronald Scott Thorn, based on the novel by Ronald Scott Thorn, music by Stanley Black

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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On his way to their honeymoon retreat with his lovely wife Denise (Diane Cilento), race car driver Alan (Ronald Lewis) has a terrible accident - but he can recover physically within a year. Mentally though, it's another story altogether, as he, former daredevil on the racetrack, panics as soon as he even sits behind the steering wheel. And whenever he and Denise get only somewhat intimate, he feels an urge to strangle her while being unable to perform in bed. And yet, Denise stands by him like a rock. The couple travel to the Cote D'Azur, hoping the change of scenery will help Alan - but rather the contrary is the case, he just finds more things that upset him, especially a chance acquaintance, psychiatrist Doctor Prade (Claude Dauphin), with whom he's unable to tell if he just takes professional interest in his case, is challenging him on a more personal level, or is actually lusting after his wife. Alan and Denise leave for London rather abruptly, but once back she persuades him to undergo treatment - with Doctor Prade. And the doctor does a pretty good job, too, using pretty much every tool available, from hypnosis to dream analysis, to help Alan remember pretty much every little detail that led to his car accident back when, and also uncovers how this has to do with his urge to strangle Denise. Eventually, just before Alan wants to make his comeback as a race driver, Prade pronounces him cured. But the next morning, Alan wakes up in his bed with Denise gone but traces all over the apartment that he has killed and dismembered her. Doctor Prade arrives and offers to have Alan admitted to an institution before calling the police, as it will help him at his trial. However, already on the way to the institution, Alan tricks Prade into having an accident and makes a getaway to the Cote D'Azur, where a friend (Bernard Braden) gives him, a murderer on the run, abode. Thing is, there's nothing about the murder or about his getaway in the newspapers, which strikes him very odd and convinces the friend that Alan has been had. Then, totally unexpectedly, Alan catches a glance of Denise, follows her, and finds himself at Prade's seaside home. It turns out Prade has lured her here, allegedly for her own mental well-being but his mother (Barbara Chilcott) reveals to her how fond he is of her. Confronted by Alan, Prade tries to convince him he's delusional, and the episode where he thought he had killed Denise had happened only in his head, and he does a pretty good job, too, so much so that Alan wants to give himself up to his doctor - when Denise finds evidence that Alan's story was very much true, and that he has been set up by Prade to believe himself to be a murderer ...

 

Even if the premise is a little far fetched, this is actually a pretty effective psycho thriller that from its opening pan that starts at a car radio playing upbeat music and then reveals the scene of a car accident unravels a game of deception that might give its game away a little too early, but despite that stays tense and suspenseful throughout thanks to a very elegant directorial effort, well fleshed out and relatable characters, and a very strong cast, all of which make this an a bit under-appreciated gem of suspense cinema.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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