Mr. Honeybadger and I enjoyed watching a lovely print of The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) last night, which we had the good fortune to find on eBay recently. We’ve been on a steady diet of extreme visual violence lately, what with Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story: Coven, and a bit of an Argento kick we’ve been on. (We saw Goblin live at the Egyptian Theatre last week.) So watching some good old 60s Gothic Horror was quite refreshing for a change, although I think this movie should be retitled The Sad Dr. Hichcock.
Is Dr. Hichcock really so horrible? It’s 1885 and he’s a charming and well groomed man, with what appears to be a marriage with a strong bond, and has built himself a very successful medical career with his proficiency in surgery and his advanced knowledge of anesthesia and it’s… ahem… recreational uses. Yes, he does some unfortunate dabbling in… romantic notions about the cadavers in the morgue of his thriving hospital, but really it is the Victorian era after all right? Dr. Hichcock’s… romantic notions are the least of those corpses’ problems, what with grave robbers and all. Besides, his lovely buxom blonde wife seems like she is oddly more than enthusiastic about her husband’s… interests.
Whoops! One night he accidently administers a little too much “good time serum” to his devoted and obedient wife and the poor darling expires. Writhing in apparent agony I might add. Not a pretty sight. So hence our friend is now the sad Dr. Hichcock. Twelve long years pass and the good Dr. has the great fortune to hook up with none other than the charming Barbara Steele in the form of the newly minted Mrs. Cynthia Hichcock. Have the lovely Ms. Steele’s charms ever been more apparent than they are in this film? On the DVD we were watching last night her skin is like smooth polished ivory and the rich colors of her fur mantle and hair match equally the lustrous chestnut flanks of the carriage horses in her opening scene. Now he is the lucky Dr. Hichcock! I have some marital advice for the Dr. to facilitate his felicity: let sleeping corpses lie. Nothing has ever been more important in a marriage than communication. Perhaps with knowing trust and mutual respect Cynthia wouldn’t mind participating in his… romantic notions.
Just don’t kill her.