Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Frenzy

1972 shocking masterpiece

Rating: 17/20

Plot: Oh, snap! London's got itself a Jack the Strangler who sexually violates his female victims before tie-ing them in the necks until their tongues hang lifelessly out. Since poor Richard stumbled into an Alfred Hitchcock movie, he's mistakenly suspected by the po-po after his ex-wife winds up dead. He's all like, "Whatever, man. I didn't do nothing!" and tries to find the real killer like the guy searching for the one-armed man or O.J. Simpson to prove his innocence.

I like working Monday mornings at the motel because one of the channels I get for the Urine Couch AM Movie Club shows a Hitchcock movie. The one before this was The Birds, one of the most erotic movies ever made in my opinion, but I missed it because I got the dates mixed up. Like a lot of Uncle Alfred's later films, this one seems a little dated. It just looks like a product of the 1970s to me. But although it's not quite a masterpiece, it's a tense thriller with some great moments that nobody but Hitchcock, here at his surliest and randiest, could provide, most famously in a great long shot that walks the viewer backwards out of the scene of a crime and into the street. Unlike a previous scene, this one spares us the brutality, but the shot might be even more chilling because of it. Just masterful stuff. That earlier scene is especially brutal, the camera lingering on the violence before ending with an almost clownish shot of the victim with her tongue hanging out like a child pretending she's just been strangled. Another great scene involves the murderer hiding in a potato truck. Like most of Uncle Alfred's work, he offers a generous helping of dark humor with the moody violence, so there's this odd blend of grim and comical that I really liked. And the perverse old man threw in some nudity as well! I liked the cast a lot, more probably because I didn't recognize any of them, and the finale, with one hell of an final line, rivals my favorite Hitchcockian endings. This is a well-written, edgy thriller that works as a final semi-masterpiece. It's also got a lot of really ugly English people in it. Do they all look like that?


l@rstonovich said...

Strange I never saw this one. I must! Rope is my favorite and I love The Birds as well. Also strange TPT has no song about Tippi.

cory said...

Good review. This is a really dark film, even for Hitchcock, and is very effectively disturbing and in your face. A 16.

Shane said...

'Rope' is coming soon...well, I saw it early this morning anyway. Who knows when I'll catch up and write about it.

Matt Snell said...

"I think I bought everything Waits had made in about a month despite being as poor as dirt." That's awesome, I did the same thing. I was working as a fry cook at a rundown chip truck in Halifax when I got hooked, and spent all my pay acquiring his back catalog.

Agreed - less than stellar Waits is still head and shoulders above the rest. However, thus far he has an aura of untouchable genius, and I hope Bad as Me keeps the myth alive!

Barry said...

I have a week until I cancel my Netflix, and I decided to make this film one of the last ones I get from them. All thanks to this review.

And I am cancelling Netflix because they suck, they keep raising their rates, while reducing content.

My political moment of the day.

Kairow said...

I agree about Netflix.