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Repulsion (1965) Online

Repulsion (1965) Online
Original Title :
Genre :
Movie / Drama / Horror / Thriller
Year :
Directror :
Roman Polanski
Cast :
Catherine Deneuve,Ian Hendry,John Fraser
Writer :
Roman Polanski,Gérard Brach
Budget :
Type :
Time :
1h 45min
Rating :
Repulsion (1965) Online

In London, Belgian immigrant Carol Ledoux shares an apartment with her older sister Helen, and works as a manicurist at a beauty salon. Helen uses the word "sensitive" to describe Carol's overall demeanor, which is almost like she walks around in a daze, rarely speaking up about anything. When she does speak up, it generally is about something against one of those few issues on which she obsesses, such as Helen's boyfriend Michael's invasion of her space at the apartment. That specific issue may be more about men in general than just Michael's actions, as witnessed by Carol being agitated by hearing Helen and Michael's lovemaking, and she not being able to rebuff the advances effectively of a male suitor, Colin, who is infatuated with her. One of those other obsessive issues is noticing cracks and always wanting to fix them. While Helen and Michael leave on a vacation to Pisa, Italy, Carol chooses largely to lock herself in the apartment, ditching work. There, she is almost hypnotized...
Complete credited cast:
Catherine Deneuve Catherine Deneuve - Carol
Ian Hendry Ian Hendry - Michael
John Fraser John Fraser - Colin
Yvonne Furneaux Yvonne Furneaux - Helen
Patrick Wymark Patrick Wymark - Landlord
Renee Houston Renee Houston - Miss Balch
Valerie Taylor Valerie Taylor - Madame Denise
James Villiers James Villiers - John
Helen Fraser Helen Fraser - Bridget
Hugh Futcher Hugh Futcher - Reggie
Monica Merlin Monica Merlin - Mrs. Rendlesham
Imogen Graham Imogen Graham - Manicurist
Mike Pratt Mike Pratt - Workman

Features the first depiction of female orgasm (sound only) to be passed by the British Board of Film Censors.

This film, along with Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Le locataire (1976), forms a loose trilogy by Roman Polanski about the horrors of apartment/city dwelling.

Roman Polanski: appears (at around 1hr 41mins) disguised as a woman among the tenants who came pouring in Carol's apartment.

In his autobiography, Roman Polanski admitted that he and co-writer Gérard Brach came up with the film so as to have a commercial success which would then help them fund the making of Cul-de-sac (1966), a much more personal project for them.

When Roman Polanski first announced this, he stated the actress he required would have to be "an angel with a slightly soiled halo".

Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies".

Roman Polanski's first English-language film.

After unsuccessfully pitching the film to Paramount Pictures and British Lion Films, director Roman Polanski and producer Gene Gutowski, eventually received financing from Compton Pictures, a small distribution company that had been known primarily for its distribution of softcore pornography films.

The scene where Catherine Deneuve stumbles across the bridge and down the street was filmed at Hammersmith Bridge, London.

The Charlie Chaplin film Catherine Deneuve's coworker, Bridget, recommends is Kullapalavik (1925).

The film was shot in black and white by Gilbert Taylor, who had recently worked on Dr Strangelove ehk Kuidas ma lõpetasin muretsemise ja õppisin armastama pommi (1964) and A Hard Day's Night (1964). Taylor photographed the apartments of female friends in Kensington for inspiration.

Including among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.

Anthony Chinn, who appears as an interrogator in The Man Who Came in From The Cold, is seen here as a workman sitting next to Mike Pratt in the early sequence when Cath Deneuve crosses the road and Pratt requests Cath for sexual relations. Chinn would later appear as main alien in the TV series UFO.

User reviews



Extremely shocking if you consider the time it was filmed!

Carole, a beautiful, young, unusually shy, fragile, foreigner, works in a beauty salon and lives with her older sister Helene in London. Her behavior at first seems "faintly strange" and distant, but it appears like this is normal for everyone around her. Soon we realize she is antisocial and has a psycho-pathological fear of males and sex. When Helene leaves for a trip with her lover, Carole isolates herself in her sister's apartment and surrenders to her morbid fantasies that lead her down a path of hallucinations all the way to murder.

Polanski uses "the world outside" in a clever way, to give us the whole parameter that helps bring about Carole's downfall. The social alienation a foreigner feels, the domination games and the self-interest of the people close to her. The men that approach her together with her own sexual fears, are all catalysts. They create the image of a threatening world and her helpless existence in it, as seen from inside her already troubled mind. Then begins a very true, detailed description of her problematic mind that slowly worsens into madness. Done in a natural and simple way and perhaps that is what makes it so haunting.

The first part is purposely slow. A moment-to-moment reality that builds up tension and soon gives way to a nightmarish world. We watch as everyday reality transforms into a closed-door hell and as Carole transforms from "strange" into a clinical psychopath. The house becomes a character, its dimensions distorted and Carole is left there, to wander in it alone, with the house and the objects acting as symbols to portray exactly what is going on inside her head. (Everything symbolizes Carole's mental decline in parallel). Space becomes distorted. Time becomes distorted. She becomes distorted.

The black and white makes you focus exactly where the director wanted and the visual effects are very limited compared to todays psychological thrillers. Here, the girl and the apartment are enough. The violence is not graphic it is psychological. Polanski's expert use of sound, sets, camera angles and framing all play a great role in creating the horror atmosphere.

Deneuve is Fantastic! In a very difficult part (if you consider she plays alone and without dialogue most of the time) delivering an extremely complex role (her best performance to date) perfectly!! People have rushed to say she was "flat" but in this specific film, I believe that was the intention. The MIND is the protagonist here; she is only the vehicle where the mind lives. Her "underplaying" helps the viewer focus on what is happening inside her head, makes you follow her and go through the experience with her. If one decides to watch this film and not experience it, then yes, she looks hypnotized.

By the time Helene and her boyfriend return, the viewer is just as shocked to have seen what the couple finds there. It is heartbreaking. The very last scene then finishes you off, perhaps giving the biggest clue. Revealing a secret as to why this has happened. And the way this scene is filmed leaves you with a chill in the spine. I became even more disturbed well after the movie was over and my thoughts had settled down. This is why I call this film an "experience".

I think that some factors always needed when putting a "value" on films are often overlooked. Things like: Time of release, Level of difficulty in achievement of the story itself and Level of difficulty because of the budget or the country of production. Based on these, I think that Polanski has created masterwork. It could be considered very slow, especially for today's viewers. And for others it could even be considered a claustrophobic hell. In respecting everyone's personal opinions I would only recommend this to a specific audience and specific friends. Mostly ones who want to concentrate and allow themselves to be taken in by this type of film. For them, I am sure the experience will be rewarding.


"Repulsion" is a great example of how to make a truly scary movie: The trick is not to fill the screen with monsters or indestructible serial killers, it is to portray fear in a way that will be familiar to the audience. It is clear from early on in the film that the lead character, Carol, played brilliantly by an extremely young-looking Catherine Deneuve, is not exactly normal. When her sister leaves her alone in their shared London apartment for a few days, however, the things that scare Carol are the sorts of things that have scared a lot of people spending the night alone, such as hearing (imagined) footsteps in the hallway and the like. Of course, while normal people get a brief fright from such a thing, Carol descends into a madness of hallucinations. The movie is seen almost entirely from her point of view, using techniques borrowed by later directors such as Darren Aronofsky for his movie, "Pi", which gives the entire movie a claustrophobic feeling that enhances the impact of Carol's hallucinations.

There are no doubt people who would like to explicate this film as an exploration of sexual repression or the like, and perhaps they are indeed hitting the mark in doing so, but this film works brilliantly as pure cinema, with no metaphoric subtext needed.

Overall Rating: 4 stars (out of 4), or 9 (out of 10)


Roman Polanski's movies divide movie fans. Even admirers of his output will single out a particular movie that just doesn't work for them (in my case it's 'The Fearless Vampire Killers', which for me is an utter waste of time). But I would bet that virtually every Polanski buff would list 'Repulsion' as one of his very best movies. It's a brilliant exercise in unease and paranoia that has lost none of its power of the years. It is still one of the most disturbing movies ever made, and manages to evoke an atmosphere filled with dread and fear without resorting to obvious shock tactics. Catherine Deneuve is perfect as a beautiful and disturbed girl slowly lost to delusion and phobia. This is arguably her most memorable role along with Bunuel's equally brilliant 'Belle De Jeur'. The rest of the cast is interesting, and includes Yvonne Furneaux ('La Dolce Vita'), underrated Brit character actor Ian Hendry ('The Hill', 'Theatre Of Blood', 'Get Carter'), John Fraser ('The Trials Of Oscar Wilde'), and Patrick Wymark ('The Conqueror Worm', and Hendry's co-star in the fascinating but almost forgotten 'Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun'). All the cast are excellent, but Deneuve's unforgettable performance is what really sticks in your mind long after the movie is over. That and Polanski's accomplished and tense direction make this movie essential viewing for all movie buffs. One of the most important and impressive movies of the 1960s, and one of the most chilling horror movies ever made.


This film, the first Polanski made in English, works so well, and for so many different reasons, that I felt like I had to watch it again as soon as it ended.

From the first moments of the movie, Polanski sets up the key conflict, cutting between shots of Catherine Denuve's gorgeous face and of the things she is seeing, all of which are almost frighteningly ugly by comparison. After fifteen minutes of this, it becomes clear why Denuve's Carol is unable to cope with anything in the world around her, and why she is so dependent on her sister and her attractive female co-worker, who provide the film's only beauty other than Denuve. When her sister leaves her alone, her surroundings decay further into ugliness, sending her deeper into her madness. I loved the way that despite Carol's growing insanity, Polanski keeps going back to closeups of her face, which remains beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that no one can seem to notice that she is clearly very deranged.

The only question the film left me with is this: How could Carol possibly survived for an entire lifetime up till the point where the film began?


Sometimes not saying anything in a horror movie, and letting a character lose his/her mind in a setting can really get the goosebumps going, more so than with the recent 'shockers' of late that all seem to take place within a haunted house or have some kind of ghostly secret. The most frightening thing about Repulsion, Roman Polanski's first film in English (and filmed in England) is that everything that can terrify the audience is within the lead character's mind. In this case, the young Catherine Deneuve plays Carole, a part-time manicurist who spends most of her time inside of her apartment she shares with her sister. Polanski piles on the atmosphere like fudge on a sundae- we literally get thrust inside of her mind as she goes into this down-ward spiral.

It would be one thing if the film was a great success just because of Polanski's tricks with adding true fear into the audience, but Deneuve is a big factor in this too. It may be a triumph of under-acting, or even over-acting from a point of view. All through the movie she plays her paranoia and sexual frustration (if not repression) almost like a kind of doll, following orders we can't quite understand. Sometimes she interacts or sees things that are strange (i.e. a cooked and eaten rabbit; the cracks in the walls springing up), but then as the film winds into its climax, she becomes perfected into this kind of traumatized, crazed creature. She is a beautiful person who plays a not too beautiful being, but she somehow pulls it off, even better than in her role in Belle du Jour. Bottom line, if you're tired of getting disappointed with the latest horror films where unexplained phenomena in a house terrorize its main character(s), take a look at this film and see if it will leave you when you're finished with it. A+


A close-up of an eye frames the beginning and the ending of Roman Polanski's psychological horror classic REPULSION. The owner of this eye is Carole Ledoux, one of cinema's most unsettling heroines, who is about to -- in the next 100 minutes -- undergo a complete personality transformation from a soft-spoken ingenue to a catatonic madwoman who actually anticipates her own imagined rape.

The choice to use Catherine Deneuve must have been a stroke of casting brilliance (even though the expression is dated and cliché) because her pale features, blond hair, and overall simpering body language make her an ideal for a young woman about to snap at any moment. Her Carole Ledoux is a obsessive compulsive woman who can't stand to see dust over a chair, much less the kiss of another man.

She receives no help from her sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux). A woman as outgoing as she is withdrawn, there is an implied notion that Helen would rather be living alone than with her sister Carole. It makes me wonder how much of Carole's eventual madness would her character be aware of, but then again, she is into her own life, so that would be unlikely.

The only person who seems to want to help Carole, who senses there is something wrong with her and is resolved to be with her despite anything is Colin (John Fraser), but she is too immersed in her own crumbling mind to notice. It's not a help that it ends badly and he winds up in her bathtub which she's already filled with water -- why, we never know. Once he's gone, her mind is free to devolve into its chaos, and this chaos is able to finally conquer her until she is in a catatonic haze.

Why do people go mad? There is no true explanation for it. There are people who doubt Carole's unraveling mind would have taken place in the way it does, but this is exactly what happens, not just in this movie, but in usual circumstances.

Polanski is excellent in establishing her progressive mental decay: she listens to a couple make love through the walls of her apartment -- itself enhancing her own repressed sexuality, a very striking moment of eroticism. She begins acting oddly not only at home, but at work, even while walking down the street. Polanski uses some experimental jazz to manifest her mind spinning out of control much in the way he used it in some of the more nerve wracking sequences of ROSEMARY'S BABY. About forty-five minutes into the movie -- roughly halfway -- we're treated to a blink or miss image of a man standing opposite from Carole, reflected in her closet mirror. It's a powerful moment and one that didn't need the shocks used today to make me jump out of my seat. Using odd camera angles, photographing people in extreme upside down closeups, and showing increasingly imagined scenes of rape, Polanski creates a hellish scenario where a woman's mind is torn to pieces, and where we can't do anything to stop it but watch. It does add to Deneuve's powerhouse performance that much of her time on screen is spent nearly mute and by herself. Terror, because of this, becomes an internalized experienced that only becomes external through the set the apartment was modeled on and Deneuve's extreme acting, which is a revelation. The mundane, even the trivial, does a 180 degree turn and becomes chaotic, a reflection of reality gone to hell, and a beautiful woman turned inside-out due to her repressed feelings directed towards her father, who at that last haunting shot of the family portrait looks a little like the rapist -- disclosing the root of her intability and her hatred/desire of men.

REPULSION is a groundbreaking horror film that has become more relevant in recent times with the advance of psychology. Eschewing ghosts for shadows and surreal settings, its influence can be seen in the more harrowing moments of REQUIEM FOR A DREAM where Sarah Goldfarb is stalked by her own crumbling mind in her own apartment and a refrigerator suddenly turns homicidal.


In "Repulsion" the gorgeous Catherine Deneuve suffers from an industrial-strength case of sexual repression, coupled with a hefty dose of sibling rivalry which foists upon her a succession of rape fantasies and delusional hallucinations. Polanski's direction is unparalleled as he elicits a creepy terror through the use of some fairly unconventional special-effects. The subjective world created for the heroine is a series of dreams and visions of a decaying apartment and psycho-sexual fantasy and this is what the film seems to be about. The cracking walls are perhaps one of the most ingeniously horrifying special-effects in cinematic history. The lack of dialogue that runs throughout complements the restrained narrative design as the neurotic obsessions remain largely unexplained. But for better or for worse, I think better, Polanski's final frame settles on an image which cryptically resolves the entire enigma with a kind of devastating efficiency. All in all, one of the great films of the 1960s.


Carole Ledoux (Catherine Deneuve) is a sexually repressed and schizophrenic young woman, living in a small apartment with her sister Héléne (Yvonne Fourneaux). Héléne has a lover, and spends a couple of days travelling with him. Carole stays alone in the apartment, and becomes insane, having violent hallucinations of rape and murder. This sick movie has an outstanding performance of Catherine Deneuve, one of the most beautiful women in the world, in the beginning of her career. The direction and black and white photography are stunning for a low budget movie. The story is very slow, disturbing, claustrophobic and morbid, and recommended for very specific audience. In my point of view, in the end, there is a hint regarding the reasons of the problems of Carole with her sexuality, when the camera comes closer to a picture of her family and she is looking fiercely to her father. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): `Repulsa ao Sexo' (`Repulse to Sex')


Carol Ledoux is a young Belgian manicurist living in a flat in London with her older sister Helen and Helen's boyfriend Michael. (I note that some reviewers have tried to alter the two women's names to the more authentically Francophone "Carole" and "Helene", but "Carol" and "Helen" are the spellings which we see in the credits and written down in the film itself). The film tells how Carol kills two men, a young admirer named Colin and Helen's sexually predatory landlord. The title "Repulsion" refers to the repulsion Carol feels towards human sexuality, something shown by her reaction to the noise of Helen and Michael's love-making, a reaction that is far closer to disgust than to embarrassment or annoyance. Carol is obviously mentally disturbed, something shown by her demeanour, walking around in a seemingly catatonic state and hardly ever speaking to anyone.

This was Roman Polanski's first English-language film and his second feature film following the Polish-language "Knife in the Water" from 1962. It has generally enjoyed a high reputation among Polanski devotees, but it has never been a film which I have been able to warm to, even though, technically, it is a good one. It is a psychological horror film influenced by the work of Alfred Hitchcock, especially "Psycho", and the use of black-and-white photography at a time when colour was becoming the norm may reflect this influence. (The use of a single-word title may also have been homage to Hitchcock; a lot of his films ("Saboteur", "Suspicion", "Notorious", etc.) only have one word in the title. Polanski and his cinematographer Gilbert Taylor are able to create a powerful sense of isolation and claustrophobia and there is a particularly frightening dream sequence.

The problem with the film is that there is no character with whom the audience can identify or sympathise. In "Psycho"- a brilliant piece of film-making- Hitchcock is able to make us sympathise not only with his heroine, Marion Crane, and the other murder victims but also, to some extent, with their killer, Norman Bates, who is the victim of his own disturbed mind. Polanski is not able to pull off the same trick. Carol may be mentally ill, but that does not mean that the two killings can simply be seen as the acts of a deranged mind. Indeed, they might even be seen as justifiable homicide in self-defence.

This is particularly true of the landlord, whom Carol kills while he is trying to rape her. Colin may not be a rapist, but there is nevertheless something creepy about him. He becomes obsessed with Carol, whom he hardly knows, and when she rebuffs his advances he breaks into the flat to protest his adoration for her, obviously frightening her severely. We cannot therefore really sympathise with Carol's victims, the one a would-be rapist, the other an obsessive creep.

So can we sympathise with Carol herself? We certainly could if we understood the cause of her psychological traumas, as we do with Norman Bates, but we don't. It has been suggested that she may have been sexually abused as a child by her father or another male relative, but there is no direct mention of this in the film itself. The only piece of evidence comes in the very last shot of the film, which shows an old family photograph including Carol as a child, looking at an adult male with what has been described as a "look of loathing". On the other hand, it might be a look of "Oh God, Daddy's making me pose for one of these stupid family photos, and I just don't want to!" Catherine Deneuve's performance is, again, a technically good one, at least as far as Carol's outward demeanour is concerned, but we never get much sense of her inner life- or even that she actually has an inner life. Carol seems so dead to the world that we never understand why Colin has fallen for her so heavily, even though Deneuve was of course strikingly attractive. "Repulsion" may be a film which engages the head, but it is never going to appeal to the heart. 5/10


This is only my second comment on a film on here as normally just read others but i had to leave a short comment on this film. I consider myself pretty scare proof as I'm a massive fan of psychological horror but i just caught Repulsion on TV tonight at 1.40am alone, in the dark. As i write its now 6am as all i can think about is this film.

I have never been affected by a film as much this before. Whilst some may consider the first part rather slow i found its a wonderful set-up for what follows. I wont review it as many others already have but all i wanted to say is that this film truly haunted me, genuinely made me jump and kept me tense as hell!.....i cant put it into words

The cinematography is amazing, much better than anything current. The lead actress is astonishing to say the least and unlike other films, this film is truly disturbing. I advise watching alone, in total peace, in the dark.

I can see where lynch got many of his ideas but this is far superior.The last shot is pure genius and very unsettling.

I can honestly say this is now my favourite film of all time.


The lovely lady's just not into it, fella. And she's got her reasons for flipping out.

Anyone who's lived downstairs from some inconsiderate couple who can't be bothered to muffle their giggling and lovemaking, can relate to Carole's wanting to put a pillow over her head. Or theirs.

It's not "repression" -- where do people get this idea Carole is somehow "repressed" for refusing unsolicited advances -- nor is it maladjustment, it's a normal response towards to people who behave like the world revolves around them and their sexual desires of the moment. Now, running around killing people, that's not a normal reaction. Or perhaps it is, if they are intruders like Colin and the lecherous landlord who physically assaults her, when you live in a society where that kind of abuse is the norm. That would be the point of Repulsion.

I'm not really sure what more it would have taken for Polanski to hit home the point. There are no likable males in this picture. In fact, there are no sympathetic characters except for Carole. Her sister and and sad Briget, her colleague at work, are too enmeshed in their pushy, jerk boyfriends to think of anything or anyone else. Miss Balch tells it like it is and is unfortunately all too right about Briget's heart breaker boyfriend (but the mainstreamers, conventionalist/conformists, traditionalists and other males with an axe to grind will write her off as a woman embittered because she doesn't fit conventional beauty standards). Madame, Carole's boss, only cares about her inasmuch as her behavior affects business.

These four female characters give clues as to what is supposed to be "normal" women's behavior in this film. They begrudginly endure slappy, brusque, unattractive creeps; complain about them to each other but do nothing whatsoever to alter their unhappy situations; impose them on roommates, unannounced and without consultation, as third roommates; it's as if Carole doesn't exist to these "normal" women, except as a go-fer and accessory. Not terribly different from the way the men in the film treat her. Handsome, impatient Colin isn't the red herring he would appear on first glance; he is jokingly advised by his friends to force her to give him what he is "naturally" entitled to, insistently breaking and entering her apartment when she has clearly been avoiding him. He deserved exactly what was coming to him. OK well maybe not outright murder, but let that be a lesson to the overzealous...

Repulsion's only failure (and I consider it massive) is that it is apparently too subtle. Even for contemporary audiences, content to feign ignorance and repeat over and over that it's the sad tale of a "repressed female", complete with rape "fantasies". It isn't. It's a portrayal of a traumatized woman driven murderously crazy by "normalcy" and convention, imposed on her at every turn.

Watch as a double feature with Chinatown (1974) or Fire Walk With Me (1992). 8/10.


Disturbing, harrowing tale of one girls' (Catherine Deneuve) descent into madness.

Catherine Deneuve's performance is fantastic--she plays it just right. Quite an accomplishment considering she was only 22 at the time! Roman Polanski's direction, beautiful black and white photography and effective use of sound really helps the film. Ahead of it's time.

Some people have complained about being bored by this film...I'm assuming they're watching in on TV. It's true--the film doesn't play as well on TV. I was lucky enough to see it for the first time in a theatre and it scared me silly. On a big screen you're pulled into the girls' madness--I was jumpy for days afterwards.

On TV it just doesn't work. It's still good, but nowhere near as unsettling. So, if you're going to see it, try to see it on a big-screen TV. This film almost never plays at revival cinemas--a real shame. Probably Polanski's best film next to "Chinatown".


Recently, I viewed Roman Polanski's feature-film debut, "Knife in the Water," and found it to be a well-done effort that would foreshadow his later, better works. "Repulsion" came 3 years later, and while a fine film on a purely technical level, its psycho-mindf*ck ambitions are shredded to pulp by the time the film reaches its close, leaving the viewer cold and unfulfilled. While containing some incisive, veiled sentiments on how the male and female gender perceive each other, from aggression and fear, to promiscuity and perversion, "Repulsion" ultimately becomes overshadowed by artistic pretension and symbolism.

The surreal plot follows a remote young hairstylist (Catherine Deneuve) who doesn't say much, and finds herself in perpetual fear of the opposite sex (solidified in the presence of an inexplicable stranger who 'rapes' her in the middle of the night); her paranoia and insecurity only worsens when her sister takes a vacation with her lover, and things quite literally begin to fall apart.

What's unfortunate about "Repulsion" is that Polanski doesn't stick the knife in far enough...a few years later, he would do a superior study of patriarchal politics (with demonic overtones) in "Rosemary's Baby," and even later still, an impressive meditation on claustrophobic madness with "The Tenant". Both of these films combine the best elements of "Repulsion" into more satisfying wholes that one would be better off seeking them out instead.


This young woman's descent into insanity is so well documented that you truly thank God that it is not you that is going through this. Leave it to Roman Polanski to scare the hell out of you! I was grieving the death of someone who was very close to me when I saw this movie, and this movie snapped me out of that grief; the awareness that it could always be worse helped. Highly recommended.


This is my third film by Roman Polanski, the others being Chinatown (1974) and Rosemary's Baby (1968) (I barely count Rosemary's Baby (1968) because I remember almost nothing from it). I still have only a very vague idea of his style but thus far, his directing has not disappointed me.

The issues that Repulsion (1965) has are not in the directing, although the pacing could've been better. For me, it's in the screenplay itself. I expected this movie to explore themes like sex, sexism, and other things of this nature. But after seeing it, I don't think this movie actually explored anything. Perhaps it was trying to say something about human nature. Perhaps it was sending a message about men. But I can't help but to think about Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire (1987). My biggest complaint in my review of that film was that it had an interesting concept, but it didn't seem to have anything else. No themes, ideas, or things of that nature. And I think the exact same applies here.

This aside, Repulsion (1987) is a fairly good movie. The acting is good for the most part, the cinematography is great, and the execution of psychological horror is incredible for any decade, let alone the 60's. Very few classic horror films have ever managed to disturb me like they did to the people who saw them in theaters, but this one actually had some good and original scares.

Overall, I'm glad I saw it and I would recommend. I wouldn't, however, consider it a great film.


REPULSION (1965) **1/2 Early Roman Polanski f*ck -with-your-head-fest about a beautiful woman's (an ethereally haunting Catherine Deneuve) downward spiral into madness with some bold ideas

about what goes on in the human mind and its ramifications. Beautifully lensed by cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, jazz-from-hell score by Chico Hamilton and a sharp-eyed editing piece of jolts thanks to cutter Alastair McIntyre all leads to unnerving sense of dread and one of the saddest endings of any thriller ever made. Part ghost-story, part mental illness depiction. Look sharply for the filmmaker as a street musician.


Why on earth is this movie considered a horror masterpiece? It's boring as all heck. Absolutely nothing happens for 40 minutes, then we watch a mute woman go insane. If we had any reason to give a hoot about her character, maybe this would be interesting, but since she appears to be almost comatose right from the start I never once cared what happened to her. Her character never seems real or plausible (how has she lived this way for so long if she's always been so crazy?) and her actions lack any motivation we can understand. Oh, and the bonus for sitting through this endless bore-fest is a "climax" that takes 10 minutes to build up to...nothing. The only redeeming features of this movie are the brief scares (cracks in wall, rape scenes) which are affective at waking you up every now and then, and the rabbit. If Polanski made the rabbit the main character maybe this would have been more entertaining.


To say that this review contains spoilers would imply that there is anything good about "Repulsion" to spoil. There isn't. There is no development of plot or characters. There are no twists; there is no climax or resolution. "Repulsion" is just a remarkably impotent "descent into madness" film that garners no intrigue whatsoever. I haven't felt this burned by an acclaimed classic horror film since I watched "Don't Look Now".

Neither the main character nor her insanity is ever explained. There aren't any provocative implications towards any such explanations, either. It's as if they just decided to make a fraction of a movie. A short story or even a Youtube skit could have properly handled the intended subject matter. "Losing one's mind" is a concept that has been explored in many films, new and old, and done right.

"Repulsion" is as bleak as oblivion itself. Not Hitchcock bleak, not mind-warping "Carnival of Souls" bleak, bleak as in unfinished. Fractional. We get no back-story on anybody. We see a woman's crazy sister, Carol, having repetitive hallucinations and blacking out. Over and over. And she does inexplicable things in her house, like leaving meat sitting out for days to rot and killing a harmless man who was hopelessly in love with her. We do see a kill scene involving a men's shaving razor, but it is laughable. The guy just stands there and takes it while a skinny blonde manically gives him death by a thousand razor blades. Yeah, not stabbed. Just slit repeatedly. That is as exciting as it gets in "Repulsion".

So, who is she and why is she crazy? We simply never know enough about Carol to feel anything. Was there a traumatic event during Carol's childhood? Something her sister could attest to? Was there a recent incident that caused her to come unhinged? Was she just always insane?

Assuming she was always insane is actually the most plausible conclusion to be drawn, since her "descent into madness" is anything but delicate. She starts off as an introverted bitch that can at least hold down a job, but in a matter of a couple days she devolves into a lunatic who can't take care of herself or control urges to kill. But assuming that, we must then wonder: how did she make it this far in life if she was a homicidal freak with no grip on reality by default? As unbalanced as Polanski decided to make this woman, a lifetime of warning signs would have been impossible to miss.

There is no place for "Repulsion" in cinema. I'm not sure if one could make a more ungrounded film if they tried. I can offer no insight into how or why it has gotten the nod of the head from so many critics and audiences for 50 years running now. Do yourself a service and skip it. No matter how eccentric your taste in movies is, no matter how patient of a viewer you are, do not watch it. There is no redeeming aspect of "Repulsion". All historical relevance considered, it is simply a miserable piece.


I was bored to tears when I watched this. I don't understand why this was rated MA (on cable). This could have easily been rated PG-13. It was advertised as "still one of the most frightening movies of all time" but, in actuality it was one of the most boring movies of all time. My wife fell asleep after 20 minutes. It seems that nothing even happens until 3/4 of the way through the movie and then it doesn't seem to be very much. The whole movie is more character development and less story. There were only a few seconds that really seemed to cause any sort of interest. If the movie were cut down to a 5 minute flick, then it may have seemed interesting but, as it is, I barely made it through the entire movie (and I can stand some pretty bad movies).


This is Polanski's first English-speaking feature and what an intense feature it is. Carol (played excellently by Catherine Deneuve) is left alone in her apartment while her sister, Helen, goes on a vacation with her guy friend. During this time, Carol begins a slow decent into madness for, perhaps, several reasons. What sticks out to me is that her father abused her in some form and she has grown to hate and fear men and sex. The actions of her sister's boyfriend followed by their intimate vacation together could have triggered Carol's insanity. It also seemed that Carol depended on Helen and that her leaving felt like abandonment. All this led to Carol's loss of time, self, reality, and humanity. Of course, the film is definitely open to other interpretations as well. I would also like to point out that the devices used to show the insanity were very good. The cracks, clock, wall imprints and hands, potato "eyes", the rotting rabbit, and what-have-you were all quite inventive and effective. Anyway, Repulsion was ahead of its time in 1965 and is still an impressive picture today.


Well this was one of those films I read about in multiple film reference books and even saw a rather good review for it on Amazon.com..My friend let me borrow a copy of his on video tape. He also warned me that the sound track was muffled and very hard to understand.

He's right. I had to sit very close to my TV. Don't know if the upcoming DVD release is better quality but the video is Junk. I should be able to hear what characters are saying to move the plot along because unfortunately the "plot" moves along at a snail pace without any dialogue to take in.

Aside from the quality of the film on VHS this film is sleep inducing art house trash. I had read other reviews on IMDb saying how scary this film is and how boring it is but left it up to my own opinion. I spent a lot of time using the FFWD button on my controller. Especially during those really long scenes of the main character walking down the street.

Some of the visuals in the film are striking and I actually enjoyed the murder scenes. The rapes scenes weren't disturbing to me because of the way they were filmed..with a clock being the only sound noted I'm sure this was done to emphasize the agony of time passing along during a horrific moment but the music underscored thru out the film as well is about as gripping as being tied with the score for "Eyes wide shut" as the worst score in film history. ugh

I've had more more fun staring at cracks in the sidewalks than watching this film. Avoid at all costs. Horrible.
Impala Frozen

Impala Frozen

That's the way to watch this movie. I had heard a lot about this film ("a young woman's descent into madness...") and woke up about 2 am to watch it from my bed, alone. Big mistake! It is almost unbearably slow at first, yet still fascinating, largely for the unique technical aspects of the film. We feel trapped and alone in this little apartment. Silence, or just the ticking of a clock, the buzzing of flies, nothing happens...it really starts making you nervous and sort of anxious. But be sure, some of the scenes nearly made me jump out of my bed, and left me with goose-bumps. The episode with the loathsome landlord is very creepy. I loved the dead rabbit, which slowly decays over the course of the film, like the young woman's mind... This is really a beautiful piece of film-making and very disturbing. SPOILER ALERT! The following comments are intended for people who have already seen "Repulsion" If you have not seen the movie then please do not read any further. During the closing scene of the film, the camera lingers on a family portrait, finally zooming in on the young girls face. She seems to be glaring at a man in the picture, presumably her father. Am I reading too much into this, or does this suggest that she was molested as a child?


Shocking, scary and shot on a shoestring budget, Roman Polanski's 1965 horror masterpiece provides a riveting account of a beautiful young woman's unstoppable descent into the madness that turns her into a killer. As someone who finds sex repulsive, she feels increasingly threatened by the regular attention she gets from admiring men whose unwanted advances, she regards as unpleasant, unwelcome and an invasion of her privacy. The discomfort and vulnerability that she feels manifest into something more serious, however, when during a period of enforced solitude, she starts to experience the series of terrifying hallucinations that eventually leave her completely unhinged.

Carol Ledoux (Catherine Deneuve) is a demure, young, Belgian woman who lives in a London flat with her sister Helen (Yvonne Furneaux) and works as a manicurist in an upmarket beauty salon where she attends to the needs of the establishment's well-off clientele. Her regular demeanor is so detached, distracted and distant that he colleagues and clients often ask if she's fallen asleep. During her walks back and forth to work, she seems to be in a trance and is strangely unresponsive whenever she encounters a decent young man named Colin (John Fraser) who regularly tries to date her.

Helen is having an affair with a married man named Michael (Ian Hendry) and his presence at the flat makes Carol uncomfortable and repulsed by his habit of leaving his toiletries in the bathroom, in places that she regards as an invasion of her space. When Helen and Michael leave for a holiday in Italy, Carol is left alone and in this state becomes even more withdrawn and agoraphobic. She starts to hear and see cracks appearing in the walls and suffers from frightening hallucinations during which she gets attacked and raped. She becomes so distracted that she lets the bathtub overflow, irons her clothes with an unplugged iron and constantly ignores Colin's attempts to contact her. When in his frustration, he breaks into the flat; Carol kills him by hitting him over the head with a candlestick.

Before she went on holiday, Helen had cooked a rabbit which had remained on a plate in the flat, gradually rotting and becoming a magnet for flies. In her distracted state, Carol remains totally unconcerned about the carcass and takes no action to dispose of it. When the landlord (Patrick Wymark) calls by to collect the rent money, he expresses his disgust at the state of the place which he refers to as a pigsty. As he becomes increasingly attracted to Carol, he makes some unwanted advances and suggestions which she responds to by repeatedly attacking him with a straight razor until he lies dead on the floor. When Helen returns from her holiday, she's naturally completely unprepared for the horrific scene that confronts her.

"Repulsion" is well-paced to make each successive stage of Carol's breakdown seem perfectly natural and its tense atmosphere is well complemented by Chico Hamilton's often neurotic-sounding score. Dialogue is used economically and some of the movie's most powerful passages feature none at all. Distorted images, extreme close-ups and the use of effects like arms coming out of the walls, all add to the sense of unease that permeates the whole film and its circular structure which begins with a close-up of Carol's blank-looking eye (as an adult) and ends with a chilling close-up of her eyes as a child, provides the movie with its satisfying and extremely thought-provoking conclusion.

From the acting standpoint, Catherine Deneuve virtually carries the entire film with an incredibly intense performance that's even more remarkable as this was one of her earliest movies.

After having watched "Repulsion", it's clear that Carol had been in a very troubled and abnormal mental state for many years. This being the case, it raises the question of why no-one had ever done anything to make sure that she got the help that she so obviously needed and leads to the likelihood that someone wouldn't have wanted the real cause of her psychosis to be known. Whether this is the case or not, it's an astonishingly good movie and was clearly years ahead of its time.


Repulsion is a 1965 Polanski psychological horror/thriller (emphasis on the psychological) about a woman's descent into madness. Carol's (Catherine Deneuve) fear of men (the cause of which is hinted at but never explained) combined with her incredibly intense sexual repression, spirals into outright madness over a course of several days, as she's left largely alone in her apartment. A cascade of mental collapses, hallucinations, violence, and death follow. 

This is a movie that takes a bit to keep going, and the first half primarily focuses on establishing Carol's character. We slowly come to realize that something is clearly wrong with Deneuve's character. Then, in the latter half of the movie, things greatly accelerate as Carol's sister leaves her alone for a few days for a holiday with an older man, and Carol's grip on reality rapidly deteriorates. The very walls of her apartment seem to be cracking and leaking, she leaves rotting food all over the place, and she repeatedly has delusions of being attacked and forced to have sex by a sinister man.

Repulsion is creepy, disturbing, and even downright shocking, on occasion. I was bored somewhat by the slower initial half, but in retrospect, it's necessary for the movie to accomplish its highly effective latter portion. It's a nice introduction to Catherine Deneuve (who's startlingly beautiful, even as such a disturbed character), and it has an ending that's almost as haunting and memorable as another Roman Polanski favorite, Chinatown. Not a bad movie to be compared to, in my opinion.