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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

(aka "L'orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock" or "Raptus" or "The Terror of Dr. Hichcock" or

"The Horrible Dr. Hichcock" or "Raptus: The Secret of Dr Hichcock" or "The Horrible Secret of Dr. Hichcock")

 

Directed by Riccardo Freda (as Robert Hampton)
Italy 1962

 

One day the necrophiliac tendencies of Dr Hichcock (Robert Flemyng, The Quiller Memorandum) go too far and his wife dies from an overdose. Bereft, the doctor leaves his house but returns years later with a new wife, Cynthia (Barbara Steele, Black Sunday). The house they return to is eerie and Cynthia hears strange things, meanwhile, she doesn’t realize Dr Hichcock intends to use her body to re-animate his dead wife's corpse. Released at the height of the Italian horror boom that was produced in the wake of the influence of Hammer’s era-defining horror productions, director Riccardo Freda (The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire) and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (The Whip and the Body) create a dark and wicked gothic horror that brings in sly allusions to the work of Alfred Hitchcock while the period detail of Victorian London provides a lush backdrop.

***

The year is 1885, and necrophiliac Dr. Hichcock likes to drug his wife for sexual funeral games. One day he accidentally administers an overdose and kills her. Several years later he remarries, with the intention of using the blood of his new bride to bring his first wife's rotting corpse back to life.

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 1962 (Rapallo Film Festival)

Reviews                                                  More Reviews                                                DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Radiance - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Vinegar Syndrome- Region FREE - 4K UHD

Box Covers

 

Bonus Captures:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Radiance Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime

Export + Italian: 1:27:29.035

North American Cut: 1:16:22.619

Italian: 1:27:43.007

North American Cut: 1:16:34.881

Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 39,249,181,312 bytes

Feature (Export + Italian): 26,211,422,976 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.80 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Re-ordered North American Cut:

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,853,834,967 bytes

Feature: 21,820,253,568 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.85 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.85:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 99,568,202,672 bytes

Italian Feature: 53,327,286,528 bytes

Video Bitrate: 74.86 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

 

Re-ordered North American Cut:

1.85:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 99,568,202,672 bytes

North American: 45,662,486,784 bytes

Video Bitrate: 74.85 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Export + Italian Blu-ray:

Bitrate Re-ordered North American Cut Blu-ray:

Bitrate Italian 4K Ultra HD:

Bitrate  North American Cut 4K Ultra HD:

Audio

Export + Italian:

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1282 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1282 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1335 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1335 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Re-ordered North American:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1408 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1408 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

Italian:

DTS-HD Master Audio Italian 1074 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1074 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1078 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1078 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -27dB

Re-ordered North American:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1109 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1109 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English (for Italian), English (SDH) for DUB, None English (for Italian), English (SDH for DUB), None

(Only English SDH) For North American version

Features Release Information:
Studio:
Radiance

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by critics Kat Ellinger and Annie Rose Malamet
• Audio commentary by Tim Lucas
• New interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (2023) (34:12)
• Visual essay on Bluebeard in gothic film by Miranda Corcoran (2023) (28:16)
• An interview with Madeleine Le Despencer on necrophilia and taboo gothic (2023) (18:11)
• Trailer (2:46)
• Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring designs based on original posters
Limited edition booklet featuring new writing by critics and experts including Chris Fujiwara on the film; an archival piece by Alan Y. Upchurch, Tim Lucas and Luigi Boscaino on the making of the film featuring interviews with Freda, Steele, Flemyng and others; a comparison of the different versions by Tim Lucas; and a critical overview by Cullen Gallagher


Blu-ray Release Date: October 23rd, 2023

Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12 / 10

Release Information:
Studio:
Vinegar Syndrome

 

Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc

• Commentary track with film historians Eugenio Ercolani, Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
 

Region 'A' Blu-ray:

• Commentary track with film historians Eugenio Ercolani, Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
• "The Horrible Dr. Freda" - an interview with second assistant director Marcello Avallone (20:16)
• "The Most Honorable Julyan Perry" - an interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (30:34)
• "Necropolises and Necrophiliacs" - filmmaker Marcello Avallone on Italian horror and his experiences of working within the genre (16:33)
• Scene select commentary track with actress Barbara Steele, moderated by Barbara Steele archivist Russ Lanier (26:28)
• English "Raptus" title sequence (1:56)
• Italian trailer (2:53)
• Still gallery (1:29)
 

Reversible sleeve artwork

Booklet with photos and essay


4K Ultra HD Release Date: February 27th, 2024

Transparent 4K Ultra HD Case in custom box

Chapters 6 / 5

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Vinegar Syndrome 4K UHD (January 2024): Vinegar Syndrome are releasing Riccardo Freda's The Horrible Dr. Hichcock to 4K UHD. This package offers the 87-minute Italian cut that features both its Italian and English language tracks and the 76-minute American cut with its English language track - both are available in 4K UHD (NOT seamlessly-branched) with High-Dynamic-Range and the package has a second disc Blu-ray with both cuts in 1080P. They are cited as "Newly scanned & restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative". This appears to be a different source than the Radiance as it a slight framing variation and shows different scratches / marks. While I didn't think The Horrible Dr. Hichcock could look any better than the Radiance Blu-ray, the 2160P out-does it with richer colors (notable Barbara's red lipstick and green eyes) and extremely stable + consistent grain texture. Detail rises. There may be some blue leaning but it was not noticeable on my system. The film looks brand new. Highly impressive. Both versions, although separate transfers, look the same to my eye (see sample below). This is a triple layered 4K UHD disc with a very high bitrate. The second disc Blu-ray has both features and more video extras.  

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 52 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages recently: Conan the Barbarian (software uniformly simulated HDR) Django (no HDR), Lone Star  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Suspect Zero (software uniformly simulated HDR), Count Dracula (software uniformly simulated HDR), Full Circle - The Haunting of Julia (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Warriors  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (software uniformly simulated HDR), Blackhat (software uniformly simulated HDR), Mark of the Devil (software uniformly simulated HDR), Barbarella (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Last Picture Show (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Knew Too Much (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rope (software uniformly simulated HDR), Frenzy (software uniformly simulated HDR), American Graffiti (software uniformly simulated HDR), East End Hustle (software uniformly simulated HDR), Three Days of the Condor (software uniformly simulated HDR), Witness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Fascination (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lips of Blood (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Others (no HDR), It Came From Outer Space (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rosemary's Baby (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Last Wave (no HDR), The Train (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Trial (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Walkabout (software uniformly simulated HDR), Black Magic Rites, The Night of the Hunted (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Rape of the Vampire (software uniformly simulated HDR), Gorgo (software uniformly simulated HDR), Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Man From Hong Kong (software uniformly simulated HDR), One False Move, The Tall T (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cold Eyes of Fear (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rules of the Game (no HDR), The Manchurian Candidate (software uniformly simulated HDR), After Hours, Rain Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Changeling (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Night of the Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR), 12 Angry Men (software uniformly simulated HDR), Branded to Kill (no HDR), Picnic at Hanging Rock (software uniformly simulated HDR), Two Orphan Vampires (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shiver of the Vampires, Drowning By Number (software uniformly simulated HDR), Serpico (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cool Hand Luke (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Seventh Seal (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Maltese Falcon (software uniformly simulated HDR).

On their 4K UHD, Vinegar Syndrome offer the option of authentic DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono tracks (24-bit) in the original Italian or an English DUB on the Italian version. The North American version, sharing the 4K UHD, has only the English DUB (also DTS-HD Master mono.) NOTE: Each cast member spoke his or her own language when filming. The Horrible Dr. Hichcock has aggressive moments, blood-curdling screams that come through with effective depth and a dramatic and haunting score by Roman Vlad - his real name - (Beauty of the Devil, Caltiki, Jules Dassin's The Law,) sounding clean with reasonably consistent dialogue in the lossless transfer. The disc offers optional English (SDH) subtitles - and is, like all 4K UHD, region FREE, playable worldwide. The second disc Blu-ray is region 'A'-locked.

The Vinegar Syndrome 4K UHD offers a commentary by Eugenio Ercolani, Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson on the longer Italian version. Troy translates the cast/crew 'English' credits to their real Italian names, dispels some rumors about the production, Nathaniel defines the three version differences and Ercolani (who did all three other main extras) discusses director Riccardo Freda, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, deeper themes of the story mis-en-scene and much more. It's a very good commentary - all of them know their stuff - and they work well together passing the baton for a variety of information. "The Horrible Dr. Freda" is a 20-minute interview with second assistant director Marcello Avallone reminiscing about the film and working with Freda etc. "The Most Honorable Julyan Perry" is a 1/2 hour interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi who discusses writing the script. "Necropolises and Necrophiliacs" spends 17-minutes with filmmaker Marcello Avallone on Italian horror and his experiences of working within the genre. There is a 26-minute scene select commentary track with actress Barbara Steele, moderated by Barbara Steele archivist Russ Lanier - from Steele's home. She relates enjoying working with Riccardo Freda - who she found melodramatic, engaging, intuitive, energetic etc. She don't know why the film has such cult status - she states that it had a 'shaky script' as she reads words on a page. They talk about the cast and much more. There is also the English "Raptus" title sequence, an Italian trailer, stills gallery and reversible sleeve artwork. There is also a booklet with photos and an essay.

Riccardo Freda's The Horrible Dr. Hichcock with exquisite Barbara Steele is 'Gothic cinema' royalty. I admit that I am surprised at how much improved the 4K UHD transfer is. The HDR pass has richness but is, overall, restrained - giving the film an easily identifiable bump in the image - just where it counts - in the colors and contrast. It is a beautiful film (kudos cinematographer Raffaele Masciocchi - who did a lot of peplum genre work.) The Horrible Dr. Hichcock was made quickly but just works and is infinitely rewatchable. Steele was at her peak of hypnotic beauty. Absolutely worth the upgrade - for the stellar 4K UHD presentation on two versions, commentary, interviews etc. You must own it. 

***

ADDITION: Radiance Blu-ray (October 2023): Radiance have transferred Riccardo Freda's The Horrible Dr. Hichcock to Blu-ray. It is cited incorrectly on Amazon and this is more accurate: from a "New 2023 2K restoration of the film from the original negative presented in three versions across two Blu-rays: Disc 1: the 87-minute export version The Terror of Dr Hichcock and the English dub of the complete 87-minute Italian cut Raptus: The Secret of Dr. Hichcock with extras; Disc 2 has, exclusive to the limited edition, the re-ordered 76-minute North American version The Horror of Dr Hichcock".

We reviewed the 2016 Olive Blu-ray of the re-ordered 76-minute North American version of The Horror of Dr Hichcock, HERE. The Olive 1080P image quality/audio and extras are quite inferior (cropped, 1.78:1 AR, much softer, no grain, bare-bones etc.) compared to this new Radiance 2023 2K restoration where all three 1080P presentations look almost exactly the same (same source - max'ed out bitrate). In fact the 'export version' and the 'Italian cut' are both on the first Blu-ray disc and are seamlessly-branched with inserts for the credits, titles etc - and they run the exact same length (1:27:29.) The HD presentation(s) are a notable step above the old Olive transfer with tighter sharpness, consistent texture, more balanced colors, no scratch damage and the quality is near flawless for the format. A fabulous upgrade to see genre-icon-queen Barbara Steele looking more hypnotic than ever with three versions of the film.

NOTE: We have added 48 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

The Radiance Blu-ray offers two new commentaries. The first is by by critics Kat Ellinger - author of Daughters of Darkness (Devils Advocates) - and Annie Rose Malamet (Girls, Guts & Giallo) and they discuss the Alfred Hitchcock resemblances (Rebecca, Vertigo) except the perversity is cranked up significantly, Freud, male anxieties, Italian Gothic etc..  The second is by our favorite, Tim Lucas (The Book of Renfield: A Gospel of Dracula.) He discusses the Anglophone aliases in the credits, the English DUB (and specifics about them in this film), as a marketing ploy - representing a British film which would attract more viewers. This includes Freda being credited as Robert Hampton, set designer Franco Fumagalli became Frank Smokecocks, actress Harriet Medin under her maiden name - Harriet White, actor Silvano Tranquilli as Montgomery Glenn, actress Maria Teresa Vianello as Teresa Fitzgerald etc. Tim talks about the various versions, re-edits and alt-titles, shots eliminated in "Horrible...", intense reds and blues intentionally used in the film (possible Bava input?), how AIP turned it down because of the necrophilia content, cost-effective filmmaking examples, excessive "fainting", novelization differences, etc. It's filled with vital tidbits and stories of the production. He gives his opinion that  Barbara Steele never looked better onscreen. Another great job by Tim. There are more extras on the first Blu-ray; In a newly filmed 35-minute interview, produced exclusively for Radiance in September 2022, prolific Italian screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (Torso, The Grand Duel, My Name is Nobody, Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory) discusses his work on The Horror of Dr Hichcock (credited as Julyan Perry), and experiences with the cast and crew. We also get a new 28-minute visual essay by Gothic scholar Miranda Corcoran (author of Haunted States: An American Gothic Guidebook) who explores the Horrible Dr. Hichcock within the context of Gothic melodrama and the 40s “Woman’s Film”. It is another exclusive by Radiance Films - produced in in August 2023. Included is an 18-minute interview with visual artist and scholar Madeleine Le Despencer (Blog) who delves deeply into the world of 'Necrophilia and Gothic Taboo'. The package is offered in Radiance's full-height 'scanavo' labeling with removable UK OBI strip leaving packaging free of certificates and markings (see sample at bottom.) The package has a reversible sleeve featuring designs based on original posters an a limited edition booklet (5,000 copies) featuring new writing by critics and experts including Chris Fujiwara on the film; an archival piece by Alan Y. Upchurch, Tim Lucas and Luigi Boscaino on the making of the film featuring interviews with Freda, Steele, Flemyng and others; a comparison of the different versions, by Tim Lucas; and a critical overview by Cullen Gallagher.

Riccardo Freda's The Horrible Dr. Hichcock has, fan-favorite, Barbara Steele who took 10 days off the set of Federico Fellini's 8½ to perform her role of Cynthia Hichcock. The Horrible Dr. Hichcock has a heavy subtext of sex and death done in a hauntingly wonderful Victorian backdrop. There are obvious links to Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca and Vertigo and fans may appreciate this evocation. There are scenes of gravediggers, a doppelgänger cat, sexual attraction involving corpses, foreshadowing nightmares, and a brief scene where Dr. Hichcock's face is deformed - swelling unnaturally. I was sold at 'Barbara Steele' and can now throw out my 2016 Olive Blu-ray with only the shorter North American version. The Radiance Blu-ray is a complete package - 3 versions, 2 commentaries, interviews, visual essay, booklet etc. Gothic film devotees cannot be without this one. Absolutely recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Blu-ray 1

 

Blu-ray 2

4K UHD Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY and 4K UHD CAPTURE TO SEE IN FULL RESOLUTION

 

1) Olive Films (2016) Region 'A' - Blu-ray - TOP LEFT

2) Radiance (North American version) Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP RIGHT

3) Radiance (Italian cut translation) Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE LEFT

4) Radiance (Export Version) Region 'B' - Blu-ray - MIDDLE RIGHT

5) Vinegar Syndrome (Italian cut translation)  Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM LEFT

6) Vinegar Syndrome (North American)  Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

(CLICK to ENLARGE)

 

 

1) Vinegar Syndrome (Italian cut translation)  Region FREE - 4K UHD - LEFT

2) Vinegar Syndrome (North American)  Region FREE - 4K UHD - RIGHT

 


 

1) Olive Films (2016) Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Radiance AIP (North American version) Region 'B' - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Radiance (Export Version) Region 'B' - Blu-ray - THIRD

4) Vinegar Syndrome (Italian cut translation)  Region FREE - 4K UHD - FOURTH

5) Vinegar Syndrome (North American)  Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Radiance Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Radiance Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 


1) Radiance Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 


1) Radiance Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 


1) Radiance Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 


1) Radiance Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 


1) Radiance Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 


1) Radiance Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD - BOTTOM

 


 

More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Radiance Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Covers

 

Bonus Captures:

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Radiance Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray Vinegar Syndrome - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 


 

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