The Collector (1965)

Article 4904 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 8-18-2015
Directed by William Wyler
Featuring Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar, Mona Washbourne
Country: UK / USA
What it is: Thriller

A butterfly collector kidnaps an art student and holds her prisoner in his isolated house. His hope is that he can make her love him, but that may prove impossible.

IMDB classifies this in three categories: Drama, Romance and Thriller. It does not classify the movie as Horror. As a matter of fact, almost all of my reference works from which I draw my lists similarly reject this one as a genre work, and I’m not sure why; it’s definitely closer to Horror than it is to Romance, even if the subject of love is a central part of the story. I think it gets rejected because Terence Stamp’s character, even though he is clearly psychotic, is NOT homicidal; my usual category for this type of movie (“Psycho Killer”) doesn’t apply. But that doesn’t make him any less unhealthy or the scenario one whit less nightmarish. He wants something that his very actions have made impossible. And Samantha Eggar’s character’s situation is also impossible; her every failed attempt to escape or to fake what she’s feeling only eradicates the trust that she must build in order to finally be free. The end result is a nightmarish spiral that is quite horrific in its own right, and we sit on the edge of our seat because we don’t know exactly what this psycho will ultimately do when he finally realizes he’s not going to get what he wants. In my opinion, this IS a horror movie; it’s certainly closer than any other number of films I’ve covered. Furthermore, this one is highly recommended.

1 Comment

  1. A first-rate psychological thriller with 2 excellent lead performances and superb direction by legendary Hollywood director William Wyler. Remarkably the film rivets attention despite the fact that it is limited to 2 characters with only 2 other actors who have 1 scene each and provide the only other dialog in the film.

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