Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion (1965)is a Psychological Horror set in Kensington London by Director Roman Polanski and starring Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Patrick Wymark and Yvonne Furneaux .

In the 1st English language film by Roman Polanski , Catherine Deneuve plays a thoroughly convincing role as the beautiful but mentally unstable manicurist Carol Ledoux living in Kensington London and shares a mansion style looking flat with her sister Helen Ledoux ( Yvonne Furneaux). Carol works as a manicurist during the day, cautiously walks home afterwards trying to avoid any kind of eye contact with the male specie. Especially a near frustrated Colin ( John Fraser), who has taken a liking to her, even though she remains distant, constantly turning down dates with him and not showing up for most of them. At home she is disgusted by the sight of her sister’s boyfriend Michael (Ian Hendry), who seems to be slowly but surely moving into the flat with them, leaving his toothbrush into a cup in the bathroom and his shaving blade on top of the sink. Helen, who also acts as Carol’s mother, decides to away with Michael for a few days, leaving Carol to fend for herself with grave consequences.

Done in black and white photography, Gilbert Taylor excellently captures both the sleek cosmopolitan look of London (including streets, restaurants, bars and manicure parlours) and Carol’s fragile mind state. After being inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1963), Roman Polanski insisted on having its Director of Photography Gilbert Taylor on this film, to create the same use of lighting and shadows so effective in the best of Black and White movies. He does just that and gives the audience the perfect view not of the world Londoners live in but the one that Carol does. A very dark and distant place with some lighting. A perfect example of this showed in one scene, where Carol walks into the living room and everything thing in the room seemed very dark and far away.

If the photography helps the audience to get a better view of Carol’s world, the music helps them to understand what it feels like to live there. Chico Hamilton’s music and sounds from the fast paced Jazzy tracks to ticking clocks adds to uneasiness felt by Carol. So eerie at times it is almost unbearable. One of the many examples of this includes a scene where the rhythm of a ticking clock provides the worry expressed by Carol while in her bedroom of a stranger trying to come in after her.

Repulsion is a frightening, disturbing psychological horror film. Roman Polanski takes audiences into the flat of Carol’s Ledoux mind and keeps them there until they understand what she is going through and capable of. The film in my opinion is a magnificent example of how to tell a horror story without the traditional use of monsters, gremlin like creatures and demons. Instead preferring to use a beautiful exotic blonde girl to hit home the point that the true horror lies inside a disturbed human being, whatever their appearance may be.

The film is an absolute must watch, for all types who ever you are. It will grip you, carry you to a dark place, carry you safely back home and leave you with memorable images and hallucinations that will last you for the rest of your life (just kidding).

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