I'm among those who feel Hitchcock hit his artistic peak with Psycho in 1960. After that, his films went in steady decline, though a few of them do have their champions, chief among them being The Birds, Marnie, and Frenzy. Frenzy is of special interest, as it is the most graphic movie in Hitchcock's long career, featuring graphic scenes of rape and murder. It's decidedly modern in aesthetic, probably Hitchcock trying to prove he wasn't so old-fashioned and could keep up with the grislier fare being served up by the younger filmmakers of the period.
However, my issue from the film comes from not caring much for the characters. Nastiness aside, I couldn't get invested in the plot, which by extension, means I didn't find it that suspenseful either. But your mileage may vary.
FRENZY contains a very disturbing rape scene, maybe not as disturbing as the one in Gaspar Noé's IRREVERSIBLE or Richard Brooks' LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR, but still very intense after 45 years. Yes, the lead actor, Jon Finch, is hard to stomach, but I thought Barry Foster did an excellent job as the psycho-killer. Hitchcock even indulges in a couple Antonioni-like scenes. I think it is a movie worth seeing.
I saw Frenzy when it came out in 1972. Now that I have seen the write-ups about real serial killers and their unfortunate victims, I don't enjoy this film at all! The stars are forgettable. The only real humor is watching the police inspector trying to cope with his wife's mania for cooking up meals he can't eat. Back to the movie. Blaney, a hot head with an ex-wife and a string of failures in life, is wrongly convicted of being 'the necktie killer' of London who murders women and leaves their naked bodies with a necktie around their necks. Rusk, the real killer, is actually a friend of Blaney and arranges for the arrest and conviction of Blaney in some kind of futile means of diverting attention from himself. If you want an alibi then don't keep murdering women. But Blaney is completing unlikeable. Rusk is personable and treats everybody with a handshake and a pat on the back. There actually is something twisted in Hitchcock. In the face of murder or rape or horrible abuse of people, Hitchcock finds comic relief in bizarre scenes. Hitchcock's earlier films were good but he did have a rather noted obsession with blond actresses. All his male stars were always being convicted on flimsy evidence and even a small town jury would reject.
Laughable, over-rated, Hitchcock psycho-shlock.
Perhaps not in the top ten of Hitchcock films, nonetheless this is another gripping tale of murder from the master of suspense. I find this film to be more visceral and raw than any of Hitch's other films- and definitely worth watching if you're a fan.
(Movie quote) - "Now, do I look like that sort of a bloke??"
OK. Here's my slant on things -
For starters - "Frenzy" was certainly no "Psycho". Nope - Not even by a long-shot.
And, speaking about "Psycho" - Character Bob Rusk (the fruit & veggies guy in "Frenzy") was certainly no cross-dressing momma's boy like Norman Bates, neither. Nope - He sure wasn't.
"Frenzy" was released 12 years after the classic, twisted, shocker "Psycho" - And, if you ask me - It was clearly one monstrous step down the ladder when it came to direction by Alfred Hitchcock. This was especially so if the viewer was expecting to see an "in-depth" character study of a deranged serial killer. (I mean - Hello!!?? - There was no character study of this killer here, at all!)
And, finally - I can't believe that Hitchcock actually had the low-down gall to substitute the sharp blade of a knife (slice. slice), as the killer's weapon, for (of all things) a frickin' necktie. (choke. choke)
Anyway - Because of these 4 serious strikes against "Frenzy", I had no choice but to reduce my rating of it to just 1.5 measly stars.
Hitchcock goes Tarantino -- while Tarantino was in elementary school. Frenzy is one of the films often cited as evidence of Hitchcock's misogyny (the other being The Birds; but well, there was some personal motivation there.) Frankly, I don't see it. Set aside the fact the vast majority of Hitchcock's films have female leads, are told from a female point of view, and/or have a wealth of sympathetic and interesting female characters. Frenzy has a different focus: the guilt and innocence of two males -- one who is a serial killer, and the other who has all the appearance of being one. The serial killer murders women, and it is unpleasant and unsettling, as murder tends to be. But even here, all the women are three dimensional, and when they die, you will feel a loss. Maybe this is the source of some people's problem with the movie. In traditional serial killer films, the victims are two dimensional at best, and practically marked for death by the screenplay from the beginning. You wouldn't want the popcorn chewers to be UPSET, would you? But if you don't mind having your emotions and expectations played with, you will like Frenzy.
Graphically tame by modern standards (what would Hitchcock think of the Final Destination franchise?), yet effective & arguably necessary to establish the dichotomy in the killer's personality. The entire plot of this film falls apart with modern forensics, but if you can suspend all your knowledge of DNA evidence, then this film still offers some classic Hitchcock suspense at the cost of gratuitous violence & nude scenes.
Hitchcock’s penultimate film, a curious mix of bleak humour and disturbing violence, actually garnered a British “X” rating upon its initial release…the only one of his films to do so. Darker and more explicit than the usual Hitchcock fare with nudity, swearing, and intense close-ups of strangulations in progress, Frenzy nevertheless exhibits the biting wit of its director: the staunch British-ness of the characters provide a stream of in-jokes; Mrs. Oxford’s attempts to foist “continental cuisine” upon her husband have him running for the mash and bangers; and a macabre tussle with a stiffening corpse in the back of a potato truck threatens to go beyond the pale. An opening credits sequence features a fly-over of London accompanied by grandiose travelogue music—a score repeated throughout the film with ironic effect. Good grotesque fun all around!
Hitchcock's penultimate film and the one in which he embraced more graphic violence with decidedly mixed results. He had been in steady decline since the early 60s and while their are flashes of his genius, it's a rather conventional movie that struggles to keep up with the new generation of horror/thriller directors. Not for the Hitchcock novice.
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