Wendy and I just got finished watching another Barbara Steele spooker called The Ghost, after watching Nightmare Castle just two nights ago. This one is on a 4-disc compilation titled Horror: Do Not Watch Alone from TGG Direct. Ghost is on the same disc that Nightmare Castle is on and suffers some of the same issues, namely tracking issues. The images are a tad grainy, too, all of which makes me think these were burned from a tape copy at some point. Audio’s still good, which is surprising.
I thought we’d do like we usually do, which is to watch a movie over a several night period at supper, but Ghost hooked us. We both love these Gothic creepfests, and this one delivered. Got to say, we’re late-comers to the Barbara Steele camp, but the more we watch the better we like her. She ranges smoothly from seducer to victim to just plain whacked-out.
First released on March 30th, 1963, it didn’t make it to the U.S. Until February 18th, 1965, in Dallas, TX. Titled The Ghost for American audiences, the original titles were Lo spettro, Lo spettro de Dr. Hitchcock, or The Spectre. Seems that ol’ Dr. Hitchcock just won’t stay buried as this one apparently picks up from 1962’s The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock.
Similar to Nightmare Castle, we have the old dark house setting (or castle), thunder and lightning, creepy housekeeper, and a deadly love triangle. Although, in Castle, it was more of a quintangle. Oh, yeah, and there’s bad love in the greenhouse in both movies. That should be one more guideline for characters in horror flicks, right up there with, “Don’t go off by yourself” – if you’re gonna mess around, stay out of greenhouses.
Ol’ Doc Hitchcock is a-knock knock knockin’ at heaven’s door, although for the doc it’s probably not heaven’s door he’s really knockin’ at. Ghost is the sequel to 1962’s The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock. I’ve not seen that one, but from what little I read, the bad doctor loves playing with dead things, and has a history of dancing around that border country of the black arts and black science. At the beginning of Ghost, Doc Hitch is wheelchair-bound and getting regular injections from young Dr. Charles Livingstone (Peter Baldwin, who’s done more directing in his career than acting) to hopefully cure him from the paralysis that grips him. Unfortunately for Dr. H, young Dr. Livingstone and Dr. H’s wife, Margaret (Barbara Steele) are messing around and Mrs. H wants Dr. Livingstone, I presume, to up Dr. H’s meds so Dr. H will kick off, leaving Dr. H’s fortune behind.
Unfortunately for Dr. Livingstone and Margaret, Dr. H has a lot of experience playing around with that border country between life and death (the whole undead/mostly dead/not dead yet thing), and he’s tougher to bump off than Rasputin.
What follows is a good deal of red herrings as we, along with our players, try to figure out who’s dead, who’s alive, and who wants to off and/or double-cross who. Ghost has a good creep factor, and with the extra mysteries, it makes for a fun Gothic viewing.
Director Riccardo Freda (he also goes by Richard Hamton or Richard Hampton) worked with Barbara Steele on this project and the prequel, The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock, although Doc Hitch went from Dr. Bernard Hitchcock in the first one to Dr. John Hitchcock in Ghost. To make things even more confusing, John Hitchcock was played by Elio Jotta, also known as Leonard G. Elliot; Robert Flemyng (also known as Robert Flemyng) played Bernard Hitchcock. Wonder if he was something like Dr. Who?
‘til next time… Adios.