Platform: DVD MOVIE Publisher: ALPHA VIDEO Packaging: DVD STYLE BOX The infamous Dr. Hitchcock performs seances and black magic rituals to ease the pain of a debilitating illness. Overwhelmed by sadistic demands his bea... more »utiful young wife concocts a plan to murder the doctor and inherit his riches. The ghastly voice of the murdered professor echoes through the haunted mansion when his ghost returns seeking vengeance. The wife's terror and the spirit's bloodlust lead to a horrific confrontation and their ultimate doom. The Ghost (originally released in Italy as Lo Spectro) is the second film by Riccardo Freda to detail the gruesome crimes of Dr. Hitchcock. In addition to The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock (1962) Freda's other legendary films include I Vampiri (1956) Caltiki The Immortal Monster (1959) and Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World (1962). Starring: Barbara SteeleDirected by: Riccardo Freda DVD Details: Run Time: 95 minutesNumber of Discs: 1Originally Released in 1963ColorNo region encoding; For global distribution.« less
"There's a reason The Ghost (1963) is rarely mentioned over such Barbara Steele films as Black Sunday (1961), The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962), or Castle of Blood (1963) and that's because it's not very good. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Euro horror queen Barbara Steele, but I'd be hard pressed to recommend this one over any number of her other, better films. By the way, the spelling of Hichcock with relation to the film I mentioned earlier and also the surname of the main characters in this film is the correct spelling. I'm not going to harp on the trifle matter, but I find it odd that confirmed fans seemed to believe the spelling to be `Hitchcock'. Directed by Riccardo Freda (Lust of the Vampire), even though the credits state Robert Hampton (I would have went with a pseudonym too, seeing the final product), the film stars Barbara Steele, Peter Baldwin, who seems to have found his calling behind the camera (thankfully) directing on such television shows as Full House, Murphy Brown, and Blossom, to name a few, and Leonard Elliott (Buck Privates). Also appearing is Harriet Medin, sometimes credited as Harriet White (The Frightening Secret of Dr. Hichcock, Black Sabbath), as the maid (the character of dutiful house servant seemed to be Ms. Medin's bread and butter, as it was a role she appeared in often).
Supposedly a sequel to the earlier The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (even though the good doctor himself is played now by Leonard Elliott instead of Robert Flemyng, and has changed his name from Bernard to John, and Ms. Steele is no longer Cynthia but now called Margaret), the film begins, set in early 20th century Scotland, as we see Dr. Hichcock confined to a wheelchair, now an invalid, probably due the particularly nasty spill he took at the end of the previous film (which was also directed by Freda). The doctor seems to have taken an interest in the spirit world (probably because he'll be joining it soon enough), by which he regularly holds séances, and also believes he can cure his own paralysis by having his friend Dr. Charles Livingstone (Baldwin) regularly administer a poison, followed by the antidote (seems like a strange treatment, but hey, I'm no doctor, though I play one on TV). Anyway, Margaret and Charles are secretly fanning some torrid affair, and she convinces Charles to kill her husband, so that not only could they be together, but share in her soon to be deceased husband's vast fortune (they're quite the pretty pair). Things go as planned, that is until the deadly duo discover all the material wealth isn't where it's supposed to be, and John's spirit has apparently returned to get all supernatural on their behinds, focusing more on Margaret. Oddly enough the strength of their bonds, forged from deception, greed, and adultery, begin to weaken, and the relationship heads into some troubled waters, highlighted by Charles being on the receiving end of one of the worst shaves I've ever seen, administered by Margaret and a straight razor.
The film isn't all that bad, but I doubt it's the highlight of anyone's career, either. The script seemed pretty lame (filled with weary expository statements), and the actors (most of whom seemed to be alumni of the Keanu Reeves School of acting) had an awful tendency to step on each other's lines, along with the opposite, that of allowing more time than necessary between lines, i.e. pregnant pauses (perhaps these were both due more to lousy dubbing). The settings were appropriate (what I could see of them...I'll get more into this later), so that helped with the atmosphere, but little else did. The shocks were of the most rudimentary kind, as often we see a character, alone in a darkened room, approached by a hand whose owner we can't see, grasping the shoulder of the original character in dramatic fashion (the hand usually belonged to the maid, who I would have fired after one such occasion...scare yourself to the welfare line, baby...I guess knocking, along with windows, aren't part of her duties). I desperately tried to get into this film, and I was aided by the fact Ms. Steele appeared nearly throughout, but even her lovely visage and large, hypnotic eyes only went so far...she did have a fairly extensive and appropriate wardrobe throughout the film, if you're interested in that kind of thing (my girlfriend is, more so than I). The ending is, well, an ending alright, but one I would have expected from a Scooby Doo cartoon rather than a horror thriller. The clunky exposition comes fast and furious, as every little stinking detail is laid out for us, as is necessary because otherwise how would we understand the intricacies of such elaborate schemes (capable storytelling, perhaps)? This is a case where the writers tried to get too cutesy, developing the story in haphazard fashion, only to figure everything can later be explained at the end of the film.
Alpha Video, the company that released this DVD, specializes in releasing films and television features where the original copyright has expired, so their original source material is most likely limited to a previously released VHS copy, this, along with the fact they don't have to pay any royalties, is why they can offer these films so cheaply. The fullscreen print on this DVD is exceptionally poor, with the audio a little better. Any gothic feel is completely obliterated, as the daytime scenes are often murky, while nighttime scenes are obscured completely, along with the occasional missing frame here and there. There's relatively few scenes where excessive damage and/or age wear isn't present, and I actually became weary watching the film as I spent a great deal of effort trying to focus on the events on the screen, rather than the poor quality of the picture. I've heard this film is also available on a DVD set from Brentwood, featuring 10 public domain horror flicks, but the quality there is equally poor.
FOR STEELE FANS.....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 11/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Riccardo Freda followed up his 1962 classic "Terror of Dr.Hitchcock" with 1963's "The Ghost"...again with Barbara Steele. This time, Hitchcock is a frail ailing man in a wheelchair relying on seances and drugs. His beautiful and glamorous wife Margaret (Steele) is tired of looking after him and wants to be with her lover, family friend Dr.Livingstone. She also wants his wealth and the jewels he keeps locked in a safe. So she persuades Livingstone to kill him. But as soon as he's entombed, Dr.Hitchcock's ghost seeemingly returns to haunt them. Margaret is especially targeted and driven to frenzy. In a well done scene, she believes Livingstone has tricked her out of the jewels and slashes him to death with a straight razor---the blood splattering and running down the screen. "The Ghost" is an exquisitely mounted Gothic horror film with beautiful sets and dripping with morbid atmosphere. Steele looks fantastic. She is well photographed to show off her lustrous dark hair and dark exotic eyes. She is especially fetching in period costumes...particularly a black sequined lace gown. Her performance as vixen/victim is very good. The pace of the film is very leisurely allowing the terror to mount bit by bit until full throttle horror sets in. Unfortunately, it's released by the cheapo Alpha Video people so the transfer is lousy. Diehards (such as myself) will find it watchable though. Until someone rescues it and gives it the treatment it so richly deserves, this is the best we can get. So for the fans, it's a find. Enjoy."
A boring title for a beautifully fiendish movie
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 09/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"British scream queen Barbara Steele, perhaps the most talented, beautiful, and prolific leading lady of European horror, stars in this lavishly Gothic story of murder, greed, and deceit. Steele plays Margaret, a young woman unhappily married to an older, crippled scientist/metaphysician. This film from 1963 is in fact a sequel of sorts to the previous year's The Terror of Dr. Hichcock, but ignorance of the first film is in no way an impediment to one's enjoyment of The Ghost. Such a boring, nondescript title does this film an injustice of sorts because it is a riveting thriller blessed with enough atmosphere and suspense to keep the viewer enthralled up until the very end. Peter Baldwin plays Dr. Charles Livingstone, the doctor treating Dr. Hichcock for his paralytic condition; the treatment is a strange one, but it is Hichcock's own proscribed cure for what ails him. Basically, the doctor shoots the patient full of poison and then gives him the antidote in short order; this unorthodox treatment supposedly has quite an invigorating effect on the patient's system. Naturally, the doctor and Margaret have fallen in love, and Margaret finally convinces her lover to put her husband out of commission for good. The expected bliss of the murderous young widow and her tarnished lover is not to be, however, as Hichcock's presence in the house grows stronger than ever. All of the money and jewels are hidden away from the "grieving" widow, the town begins to talk about the young doctor remaining at the home of his deceased patient, and the local clergyman periodically shows up to voice his displeasure at the circumstances. Most importantly, Hichcock"s ghost makes several terrifying appearances to both of his murderers in the house. While the secret of the haunting and eventual course of events are rather easy to see coming, the story remains vibrant and suspenseful, and the ultimate conclusion is quite satisfying to this viewer.
There is just something special about European horror films, especially Italian classics such as this somewhat neglected thriller directed by Riccardo Freda. American horror films can rarely equal their transatlantic cousins in terms of atmosphere. The Gothic look of the huge castle-like manor, the lighting of each scene, the subtle, almost-perfect camera movement, the convincing performances by the players, and most especially the music work together beautifully to keep the pulse of suspense beating strongly and increasingly faster as the film progresses. Not only does Freda know how to accent the presentation with wonderful music, he also knows when to cut the background music off completely for just the right effect. I rarely notice the musical background in movies, but it stands out as a palpable force in The Ghost. This film is so wonderfully made and effectively presented that the somewhat predictable conclusion takes very little away from the viewer's satisfaction."
Dead Elvis 1988 | Atlanta, Georgia | 04/23/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"To this date April 23rd, 2008 my great wish is still that one day someone will release She Beast, The Ghost, Castle of the Living Dead AKA Crypt of Terror, The Sorcerers and The Long Hair of Death in their correct aspect ratios and with a decent crisp transfer with audible sound. This is in reference to the Alpha DVD release. The Movie gets 3 to 4 stars from me personally."
Woman Of Steele!
Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein | under the rubble | 12/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE GHOST is my favorite Barbara Steele movie. She is fantastic as the scheming, coniving, back-stabbing wife of the seemingly weak and dying Dr. Hitchcock. With the help of the family doctor (who is also her lover), she plans on bumping off hubby for his stocks, land, and jewels. Everything goes according to the sinister plot until after Hitchcock's death by poisoning. He just doesn't want to stay dead! The rest is a masterpiece of double / triple cross and betrayal. An excellent ending makes this a perfect mystery / revenge film. Besides, Barbara Steele's in it almost the whole time! That's enough for me right there..."