29 July 2014

Repulsion (1965)
105 min.
Directed by Roman Polanski.
With Catherine Deneuve, Yvonne Furneaux, Ian Hendry, Patrick Wymark, John Fraser, Renee Houston.
Director Roman Polanski's first film in English was this tale of psychological degeneration. And one helluva horror film.

Beautiful Carol (Deneuve) is quiet, unassuming...and dangerously withdrawn.

She has a rabid fear of men, which would seem to be complicated by a general sense of agoraphobia. It's difficult for Carol to cope with her job as a manicurist, to interact socially, and to fulfill her daily responsibilities.

And when her sister Helen (Furneaux) goes on an extended vacation, Carol finds herself alone in the London apartment they share together.

Slowly, Carol begins to lose her last grasp on reality.

Soon, she's letting food decay around the flat. Then she begins to hallucinate: the walls are beginning to crack and peel. There's groping hands coming out of the corridors, attempting to assault her.

Worse still, when well-meaning friends and acquaintances begin to call on Carol, inquiring as to her well being, they're met by her new friend: a trusty straight razor!

Stunning throughout, with real moments of terror including Carol's clubbing of suitor Colin as well as her straight razor tantrum.

Alternately hallucinatory and brutally psychotic, lovely Deneuve's remarkable performance is given full range and colorful scope by Polanski.

Repulsion remains one of the best horror character studies ever. Certainly, it's one that manages the most stark and haunting of moods.

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