Monday, October 17, 2011

The Collector

(1965) ****

Not to be confused with the 2009 mainstream horror, this is an intense psychological horror. Freddie Clegg, masterfully played by a young Terence Stamp, is a disturbed man. We see glimpses of his everyday life, where he is picked on and laughed at by his coworkers. He spends most of his time absorbed in his extensive butterfly collection. Freddie just wants to be loved, he wants to have a normal life with a loving wife by his side. So he stalks Miranda Grey (Samantha Eggar), a young art student. He abducts her and keeps her locked away. He is convinced, if given a chance, she will fall in love with him. When he promises to release her after a month, Miranda becomes hopeful and decides to play along. It’s a psychological game from here on out, each player trying to get a feel for where the other’s motive lies.


Although it seems a bit lengthy and slow paced at first, the story here is gripping. Freddie behaves like a perfect gentleman with Miranda, well other than the fact that he has abducted her and is holding her captive that is. He’s not making sexual advances or treating her roughly, he even knocks before he enters her room to make sure she is decent. His polite, well-mannered behavior is far more unsettling than watching the violent or angry type of hostage situation that is most often portrayed in film. It’s much harder to gauge where Freddie is coming from, Miranda finds it difficult to piece together exactly what he wants. Anyway, it’s a great old flick and I do recommend watching it.

7 comments:

Jordan said...

Anyone interested in the young Terence Stamp should see the excellent Steven Soderbergh movie The Limey (1999). It's a reasonably-violent crime thriller about a dangerous Englishman (Stamp) who travels to Los Angeles on a mission of vengeance. It's top-form Soderbergh (i.e. it's extremely, extremely good) and there's this trick where the flashbacks to earlier parts of the Stamp character's life (before his decades in prison etc.) show the actual young Terence Stamp (in footage from a 1960s movie that's seamlessly integrated into the story). Highly recommended. It's a funny career path that gets from the sixties to the nineties with General Zod in between.

Octopunk said...

Someone should do a parody of that flashback technique in which some of the older footage melded seamlessly and some of it didn't fit at all, like when he dresses like a sailor for the big musical number or is fighting in the Crusades.

Nice pick, Cat! Interesting parallel with the "polite" kidnapping vs. the modern trends (Saw, Captivity) and Crystal's point about older movies and better character development.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Nice one Cat! Kidnappers simply have no manners anymore.

JPX said...

I've never heard of this but it sounds good - nice review! I never saw The Limey but I recall thinking it looked good at the time.

The last Phantasm movie showed "flashbacks" of the main characters using delted scenes from the original Phantasm 20 years earlier.

Jordan said...

I've never seen any of the Phantasm movies because the whole thing has always struck me as one of the funniest routines I've ever come across and I'm afraid watching the movies will ruin the comedy.

I mean, come on: they make a movie in 1980 about some hapless teenage couple entering a kind of murky horror environment which has two notable features: 1) a chrome sphere the size of a magic-8-ball that floats around at muppet-speed and plunges a drill into someone's forehead real fast; and 2) this weird old guy in a Munsters costume who follows the couple around, constantly insinuating how much trouble they're in. Flash forward to 1990 (ten years later!) and there's a sequel which is exactly the same thing (except the weird old guy has gotten much weirder and older). There was an ad for Phantasm II in which the couple stood in front of a drapery and one of them said, "It's only a dream"...and then the curtain suddenly opened, revealing the weird old guy, just standing right there, who said, "No, it's not!" I thought this was hilarious. A return to the essence of the first film. Anyway I never saw them.

DCD said...

Sounds great, Cat! You're missing out on Phantasm, Jordan (imo). That movie rocks.

Trevor (Tami's friend) said...

Jordan! Good to hear from you. I'm waiting to read some of your reviews this year.

Agreed - The Limey is well worth it.

Also, I like how you paint this one as the antecedent to the last decade's torture porn.

By the way, can somebody check - is the torture porn fad over?