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Film / Paranoiac

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Paranoiac is a 1963 thriller from Hammer studios.

Tony Ashby (Alexander Davion), who has been thought to have killed himself years ago, returns to his home, much to the joy of his sister Eleanor (Janette Scott) and displeasure of his brother Simon (Oliver Reed). He is in fact an impostor set by the son of Ashby family's lawyer to con them out of their money. However, the impostor starts developing feelings for Eleanor, and becomes entangled in the Ashby family's secrets.

Loosely inspired by the novel Brat Farrar, which is more of a Cozy Mystery; the film is a lot more gothic.

Unrelated to the 2011 freeware horror game of the same name. Or to the tabletop game Paranoia.

This film has the examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Simon drinks heavily, and has problems with his allowances because of it.
  • Anti-Hero: Fake Tony is a con-man who's pretending to be a wealthy family's dead brother to get their inheritance. But, he admits to the con to save Eleanor from trying to hurt herself and seems to genuinely like her, saving her life on more than one occasion.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Ashbys are pretty messed up.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: One night, overcome by her love for him, Eleanor kisses Tony in a very un-sisterly manner. Recognizing how deep her feelings have become sends her into a mental tailspin that nearly drives her to suicide. This is what makes Tony reveal to her that he isn't the real deal, but an impostor.
  • Cain and Abel: Simon tries to kill (fake) Tony and Eleanor by sabotaging their car to keep his hands on the inheritance. It's later revealed he murdered the real Tony.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: The Ashby siblings, their parents having died in a plane crash when they were young.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the novel it was loosely based on.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tony allegedly threw himself off a cliff when he was 15, leaving behind a suicide note, although his body was never recovered. It turns out that Simon actually murdered Tony, hid his body and staged it to look like suicide. Eleanor also comes close to killing herself due to harbouring incestous feelings for her brother, prompting Tony to reveal he's actually a con-man to dissuade her.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Eleanor who manages to escape her brother's clutches and possibly live a normal life with fake Tony.
  • Hooks and Crooks: Both instances of "choir boy" attacking someone involves a meathook.
  • Jerkass: Simon. He's a greedy, self-centred hedonist who is trying to have his sister declared insane in order to gain the family inheritance for himself. He later ups his game to trying to kill her and the man claiming to be his brother Tony. He also murders his lover for trying to leave him and is revealed to have murdered the real Tony.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Invoked, as Simon thinks he's keeping his brother locked up inside the chapel. What he hasn't realized is that Tony is long dead.
  • No Name Given: Fake Tony's name is never given.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Simon lets out one from time to time.
  • The Reveal: Tony (the real one) has been dead all along, murdered by his psychotic brother Simon for his inheritance. Aunt Harriet was apparently in on this too.
  • Same Language Dub: Liliane Brousse was dubbed by Christine Finn.