1972 / Director. Alfred Hitchcock.
I've been on a Hitchcock bender lately and tonight's treat was FRENZY. This was the first Hitchcock film I had ever seen. My parents (gotta love 'em) let me watch it with them when I was 8 or 9 years old. It's imagery has always left an impression on me and the film was hugely influential during my teens. I made it a point to see as many Hitchcock films as possible. Having recently returned to England after several decades making films in Hollywood, he upped the ante with this psycho thriller. With the late 60s and 70s giving rise to risky and provocative filmmakers like Brian DePalma, Roman Polanski and Michael Powell it was finally time for Hitch to test his own boundaries. FRENZY was his final opus. A perverse and darkly comical thriller about a neck-tie serial killer who terrorises the streets of London. The first thing that's so striking about the film is it's sense of pride. London is filmed with solace and shots of the London Bridge and Covent Garden almost feel like Hitchcock has knelt down and kissed his home soil. He was happy to be back. The film itself is shockingly sordid and perverted. The scenes of rape and murder are horrifying and yet thickly layered with humour. With new a new freedom to be explicit, Hitchcock exploited the material with a cheshire-cat grin. He has used many of his classic themes, none more bankable than the mistaken identity angle. This has always worked for him in the past and with several failed espionage films weighing him down, FRENZY was a return to form. A return to sex and murder - only now it's no longer implied - and we get to see it. The players are all great with Jon Finch and Barry Forster belting out two brilliant performances. It would have been nice for FRENZY to have been Hitchcock's final film. What a way to finish a legendary career... but alas he made one more film, FAMILY PLOT, which was easily one of his lesser productions. But never mind that because FRENZY WAS Hitch's last hurrah. FRENZY is .... "lovely".