The nightmare world of a virgin's dreams becomes the screen's

                  shocking reality!


Carol (Catherine Deneuve) is a young Belgian manicurist who lives in Kensington, London, with her sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux). She suffers from androphobia (the fear of men), and finds the interaction with, or the mention of, males repulsive. Throughout the film, innuendos derived from her neurotic, fragile mind hint that the underlying reason for this asocial behaviour lies in childhood trauma, although this is never confirmed, and a group photograph in her flat merely depicts a solemn, disturbed young girl who is uninterested in the taking of a family photo.

When Helen, with whom Carol shares a strained relationship, leaves on a holiday to Italy with her married boyfriend (Ian Hendry), Carol is left to withdraw deeper into her own paranoia. What was phobic neurosis now unveils as full-fledged psychosis. She withdraws from work, refuses to leave her apartment, food rots around her and the flat falls to shambles. Furthermore Carol starts to experience spiralling hallucinations, including the walls of the flat cracking and turning into clay, hands appearing out of the walls to attack her and even an imaginary intruder breaking in and raping her.

When Colin (John Fraser), a would-be suitor whom she has rejected, breaks into the flat, she bludgeons him to death with a candlestick and dumps the body into the overflowing bath. Later, the landlord (Patrick Wymark) arrives for the late rent. Carol pays him and at first just sits on the sofa, staring into space, as he remarks on the state of the apartment and gives her water to drink. But when he tries to force himself on her, she slashes him to death with a straight razor.

When Helen returns, she discovers the dead men's bodies and finds Carol hidden under her bed. Carol appears catatonic, only a shell of her former self. As neighbours arrive and call for help, the focus returns to the family photograph, zooming in on Carol's face as a child. As the focus gets tighter, one realizes that this is not a typical family photo.....














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Directed by Roman Polanski
Produced by Gene Gutowski
Written by Roman Polanski
Gérard Brach
Starring Catherine Deneuve,
Ian Hendry,
John Fraser,
Yvonne Furneaux
Music by Chico Hamilton
Distributed by Compton Films
Release date(s) January 1965
Running time 104 minutes
Language English