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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Release Date: February 27th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1962

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Limited Edition)

Overview -

4K UHD Review By: Matthew Hartman
Riccardo Freda’s classic entry in Italian Gothic Horror - The Horrible Dr. Hichcock terrorizes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome. Featuring the Italian and American cuts in 4K with alternate audio options, the film is a genuinely uncomfortable creeper while enjoying an extravagant A/V presentation. Complete with hours of terrific extra features, this is an excellent release and an essential pickup for any Italian horror fan - Highly Recommended

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Video Resolution/Codec:
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English/Italian - DTS-HD MA 2.0
Newly translated English subtitles
Release Date:
February 27th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


There’s a good reason I don’t always leave my first reaction to a film stand as my only opinion. Especially if I didn’t like something the first time I sat down to it. A case in point is the first time I saw The Horrible Dr. Hichcock in my youth. I point to my first reaction to not knowing or appreciating Italian Horror enough (as well as being a stupid teenager), but I recall not liking this film at all. I don’t remember the circumstances of how I found it exactly, I do remember someone recommending it highly, but I recall turning off the T.V. utterly bored and wishing I had spent the time with something else. I guess tastes and wisdom improve with age because, by the time I was in college, I had become a huge fan of Riccardo Freda’s classy and stylish creeper. 

Our new writer S. Tony Nash has done such an amazing and passionately detailed writeup, I’m going to let his thoughts largely stand i just a moment. Suffice it to say I love this movie now. With a topic that borders on the taboo, The Horrible Dr. Hichcock is an eloquent horror feature. The film doesn’t become salacious, cheap, or exploitative as the beautiful Barbara Steele investigates the secrets of her new husband played by Robert Flemyng with ghoulish vigor. It’s a movie whereby today’s standards the shock is relatively tame. However, if you really let your brain noodle with the concept of the good doctor's salacious habits, it’s damned scary and borderline sickening. 

At 87-minutes or the shorter leaner 76-minutes, The Horrible Dr. Hichcock finds a brisk pace but never feels shortchanged. From the jump, the film exudes a sense of class and esteem. It feels like a genuine tale of terror right out of the Victorian era; like a lost Poe story come to cinematic life. The film establishes the characters, the creepy castle-like setting, and the eerie laboratory where our titular doctor performs his experiments. All is done economically but not cheaply. We understand the stakes without feeling bogged down by endless seconds of exposition. While I feel like the shorter American Cut is very good, I have to tilt my hat to the longer version simply to give us more of a good thing without overloading the screen. At 87 minutes it’s the right length of setup and payoff, with the breathing room to let the suspense build and the terror strike. 

I look back at my youthful era needing horror to have a certain amount of blood and viscera with a forgiving eye. I was right in the throws of discovering extreme horror with copious amounts of blood and guts. Zombies were the genre de jour and it took me a while to open out of that space and back into some of the gothic classics I grew up on. Thanks to this release from Vinegar Syndrome I have a genuine favorite for the collection looking its spiffy best. 

Read S. Tony Nash's Radiance Blu-ray Review

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock terrorizes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a two-disc Limited Edition release from Vinegar Syndrome. Offering both cuts in 4K HDR and 1080p the 4K disc is a region-free BD-100 with a Region A BD-50 disc for 1080p and additional bonus features. Both discs are housed in a standard black case with alternate insert art with a double-sided o-card slipcover featuring alternate poster art. Also included is a 40-page book featuring photos and essays by Alexandre Heller-Nicholas, Erica Shultz, and Nathanial Thompson. The whole set is bound together with a lovely hard-stock slipcase exclusive to Vinegar Syndrome.

NOTE: This edition is exclusive to VInegar Syndrome, at the moment they are in the middle of their Partner Label sale and this set is not currently available while that sale is ongoing. 

Video Review


Vinegar Syndrome delivers both the 87-minute Italian Cut and the 76-minute American Cut of The Horrible Dr. Hichcock to 4K UHD Blu-ray with HDR10 preserving the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Given its status as an early Italian Gothic Horror film, the details are terrific allowing fans to soak in the impressive details. Facial features, makeup work, production design, and costuming are all on display. Fine natural film grain remains without any signs of smoothing or noise reduction. The only slight imperfections I could spot are a little bit of mild speckling and a few moments of softness. Whenever there’s an optical transition, the image can soften quite a bit, but for a show of this vintage that’s not unexpected. Once that optical transition is done, it’s back to looking perfectly beautiful. The HDR grade is effective and clean giving primaries plenty of pop and presence while keeping skin shades appropriately healthy. Black levels are deep and inky, whites are brilliantly crisp, and the image maintains an appreciable sense of depth and dimension. All around a lovely transfer.

Audio Review


Our friends at Vinegar Syndrome deliver multiple audio options. The longer Italian Cut sports DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono Italian and English language options. English subtitles are available for the Italian version. The shorter American edition features an English MA 2.0 Mono track. Each of these tracks are a solid representation of the film. A little bit of low-level hiss remains but nothing too overt to be distracting our sound out of place. As some of the main cast members dubbed their own dialog for the English language mixes, they sound just fine if you don’t feel like reading subtitles. That said, I felt like the Italian track with English subtitles felt most authentic. Some of those subtitles read more detailed and true than the simplified dubbing.

Special Features


True to form, Vinegar Syndrome delivers one hell of a bonus features package. On top of the three excellent essays in the included booklet, fans need to devour the amazing audio commentary for the longer Italian cut. Eugenio Ercolani, Troy Howarth, and Nathaniel Thompson make great companions for this track offering tons of interesting insights, fun trivia bits, but also an infectious appreciation for this film. After that, we have some great interviews with Marcello Avallone and Ernesto Gastaldi with a nice scene-specific commentary with Barbara Steele. 

4K UHD Disc

  • Italian Cut Audio Commentary featuring Eugenio Ercolani, Troy Howarth, and Nathaniel Thompson. 

Blu-ray Disc

  • Italian Cut Audio Commentary featuring Eugenio Ercolani, Troy Howarth, and Nathaniel Thompson. 
  • Scene Select Commentary featuring Barbara Steele - Moderated by Russ Lanier (HD 26:28)
  • The Horrible Dr. Freda - Interview with Marcello Avallone (HD 20:16)
  • The Host Honorable Jylyan Perry - Interview with Ernesto Gastaldi (HD 30:35)
  • Necropolises and Necrophiliacs with Filmmaker Marcello Avallone (HD 16:33)
  • English Raptus Title Sequence (HD 1:56)
  • Italian Trailer (HD 2:53)
  • Still Gallery
  • Booklet

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock isn’t one I’d exactly call a masterpiece of horror, that term feels too loaded, but It’s a damn great film! A classic gothic creeper, it brilliantly subverts expectations and gets under your skin without being unnecessarily graphic or on the nose. When dealing with themes of necrophilia, director Riccardo Freda wisely lets the mind make the magic, so to speak, and it’s all the more terrifying. We have a genuinely terrific 4K UHD release to celebrate thanks to Vinegar Syndrome. Complete with both versions of the film in 4K HDR and 1080p we get a stellar audio commentary, great essays, and new interviews to punch up one hell of a Limited Edition set. Highly Recommended 

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