Stop Me Before I Kill! (1960)

We move on, therefore, to the Hammer Films Icons of Suspense collection (Icons of Horror will follow hard upon), and before I begin I’d like to echo the apparently numerous complaints about the packaging, stacking three discs on a single spindle (in fact when I first opened the case I didn’t realise what they’d done and thought there was just one disc in it). What the fuck, Sony US? It’s a conspiracy, no doubt, to force people who buy the thing to buy one of those three disc cases as well…

Anyway, the set isn’t chronologically organised, so we’ll be flopping around in time over the next few days. Let’s start in 1960 with The Full Treatment, to give it its original English title, although frankly I suspect the Americans got the better title, which is the one used on the DVD, though apparently it’s the English print otherwise cos there’s a very brief flash of nudity in it that got snipped from the American release. Anyway, it’s a story of a man who used to race cars for a living until a horrendous accident puts paid to that; now he’s just got a variety of emotional problems, not the least of which is his strange compulsion to strangle his wife. Not just kill her, specifically strangle her. It’s going to need a psychiatrist to unravel this one, assuming he doesn’t just complicate things further. Apart from a couple of other minor figures this is basically a three-hander of man, wife, and shrink, and it’s well enough done (I particularly like Ronald Lewis in the lead role, who has a difficult job rendering some quite wild mood swings but does it in fine style), but it’s awfully predictable—while I didn’t see the precise denouement coming, I wasn’t far off—and it places what should’ve been a key event far too late into the film for it to be as effective as it should. Apart from that it’s far too long; at 108 minutes it’s by far the longest thing in the set (only one of the other five films breaks the 90 minute mark) and chopping it by about 20-odd minutes would at least have made it move better.

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