Synopsis by Michael P. Rogers
Hugo is mad as heck, and he's not going to take it any more! Hugo is the dummy used by the Great Vorelli, a ventriloquist and hypnotist who wows London with his amazing act. Hugo can walk as well as talk, and he does other interesting things. Neglecting his statuesque mistress Magda, Vorelli pursues a pretty volunteer from the audience named Marianne; he know she is a wealthy heiress, and is after her money as well as her charms. Following a charity concert at Marianne's country estate, he mesmerizes the girl, who then falls into a baffling coma. When (in one of the movie's best sequences) a jealous Magda challenges the hypnotist over his attentions to the younger woman, Vorelli lulls her into submission, then gets rid of her, using Hugo to ensure his own alibi. Marianne's journalist boyfriend Mark investigates the mysterious murder and discovers another killing in Vorelli's past with interesting connections to the present. This underrated British horror story could be the best filmed variation on the "dummy with a soul" theme inaugurated by a brief sequence in Alberto Cavalcanti's classic 1945 anthology Dead of Night and continuing more recently with Magic (1978.) Fine photography by Gerald Gibbs, convincing performances by Bryant Halliday, Sandra Dorne and Yvonne Romain and flawless animation and editing of Hugo's scenes provide a galvanizing elaboration of the original, somewhat skeletal, concept. A rental video is hard to find, but available.
ventriloquist, dummy, entertainer, reporter, transfer, hypnosis, possession, soul, victim