Friday, 30 January 2015

THE HYPNOTIC EYE












d. George Blair (1960)

The Hypnotic Eye is a hybrid film: part shock horror, part psycho thriller, part film noir. It’s also fairly nasty, being concerned with a series a horrible ‘accidents’ that befall young, beautiful women. In an arresting opening sequence, a pretty blonde happily shampoos her hair – over a gas stove.  The poor girl dies in the ensuing conflagration, the eleventh victim of who knows what, who knows who, and who knows why. The Police, as they so often are, are baffled.  

Completely coincidentally, the city is currently hosting a famous French hypnotist called Desmond, a man who can make anybody do anything just by flexing the power of his mind. Is there a connection between this suave mesmerist and a woman washing her face in sulphuric acid as if she believed it was soapy water? Or another drinking drain cleaner thinking it was coffee? And what, if anything, does his glamorous but permanently scowling assistant Justine have to do with it? You’ll just have to watch it and find out. Seriously, you should see it.

The most far out non-mutilation sequences are delivered in fabulous HypnoMagic. Not actually a cinematic variation on 3D as the poster might lead you to believe, but a dramatic style. Desmond’s act is mainly delivered direct to camera (by French actor Jacques Bergerac who is so good at it that it’s a shock to realise that he wasn’t really a hypnotist). It’s very effective and, apparently, in some cases led to some low level trance states amongst susceptible cinema goers. Don't worry, like all intelligent people I am immune to such psychic manipulation, although since watching this film I have started eating raw onions as if they were Granny Smiths.    

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