So today has been a day to stay well indoors and stare out of the window. Outside there seems to be one hell of a storm brewing up and I’ve been all rock and roll, spening the afternoon cleaning the oven (i always love to use cleaning products that say “If you don’t follow these instructions to the letter THEN YOU WILL DIE!”). And now i feel a little pooped and in need of a culture fix.
Doppelgangers. Our film culture is full of them. I mean there are the likes of The Dark Half, Fight Club, Youth In Revolt, Twin Peaks, Single White Female, The Man in the Iron Mask, etc, etc. The idea that there is an identical twin/double haunting your every move is veritable catnip for a director wanting to make some decent thrills on celluloid.
But for this weeks Sunday Cuuuuuult Film Cooooooornerrrrr, I’m going to look at one of the earliest Doppelganger films that’s risen in stock over the years to become a bit of a cult classic. Ladies and Gentlemen, i give to you THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF.
Directed in 1970 by Basil Dearden, it stars Roger Moore as a prim businessman who suffers a major car accident after appearing possessed. While he is recovering it seems that all is not what it seems. People claim to have met him in places he hasn’t been. People claim that he is for a company merger that he opposed before the accident. He also appears to be having an affair but has no recollection of this. It becomes apparent that someone is trying to take over his life. But who?
When this film first came out, it fared poorly at the box office, but over the years, the consensus has been that this is one of the better versions of “the Doppelganger” movie. Most of this is down to the performance of Roger Moore. At the time he had left his role as Simon Templar in The Saint and was looking for a meatier role to play. It’s felt by many people that his acting in this film is some of the finest in his career, and they have a point. you can see Moore absolutely relishing playing a much darker role than he was used to. Of course, Moore would go on in a couple of years to take on the role of James Bond, where the rest as they say, is history.
so if you want a decent psychological thriller, then wrap yourself in a decent duvet, get some hot chocolate and watch how a man can somehow haunt himself…