The Ghost (1963)
directed by Riccardo Freda
Barbara Steele as Margaret Hichcock
Peter Baldwin as Dottore Charles Livingstone
Elio Jotta as Dottore John Hichcock
Harriet Medin as Catherine Wood
Well known for “I Vampiri” (“Lust of the Vampire”), Riccardo Freda was an Italian movie director who specialized in horror films. He was most effective due to his light treading of the supernatural realm in his films. In “Lo Spettro” Dottore Hichcock is an invalid doctor living in Scotland with his wife while he receives medicinal “help” from Dottore Livingstone. Livingstone is actually slowly killing Hichcock while sleeping with Hichcock’s wife. Growing impatient for Hichcock’s death and hating him more and more as the days go on, Margaret begs Livingstone to end her husband’s life. Giving in, he poisons Hichcock with a single lethal injection.
The supernatural element kicks in when the spirit channeling maid, Catherine channels the late Dottore Hichcock, terrifying the guilty lovers. I won’t spoil anything, because it is an enjoyable watch!
My favourite scene, which I think successfully uses suspense the best is Sweeney Todd reminiscent. Margaret approaches her husband, who has his face lathered and neck exposed, awaiting a shave. Her hand comes into view and it carrying the straight razor…at a very threatening angle (pictured above). She approaches him slowly, yet at the last second adjusts her hand and begins shaving him.
I am a fan of all horror flicks and while French foreign films are the only foreign films I’ve ever watched, I’m very glad I chose “Lo spettro” as my first Italian horror film.