The Collector

Director: William Wyler (1965)
Starring: Terence Stamp, Samantha Eggar
Find it: IMDB

No, silly, not that one. An adaptation of one of my favourite horror novels of all time, The Collector pits dweebish yet commanding butterfly collector Freddie Clegg (Stamp) against kidnapped college student Miranda Grey (Eggar) in a frequently tense battle of wits.

William Wyler's adaptation of John Fowles' fantastic novel lacks the intricacies of the source material, but makes up for it with a brilliant pair of performances from General Zod and the lovely Samantha Eggar. If it were made today, The Collector would likely resemble... well, The Collector, or Captivity. Thankfully, there's no torture here (aside from the mental sort) although poor Miranda does catch a nasty cold and there's an incident in which Freddie says that her favourite book is shit. To be fair, she does insult his butterfly collection.

A semi-classic that no-one ever seems to mention when recalling the greats, it occasionally feels too cheerful for its own good, lacking much of the dark atmosphere Fowles imbued the book with. Aficionados of kink will also be disappointed to learn that there's a lot less bondage than the novel, save for a brief bathtub bit for Miranda while Freddie tries to fend off a nosy neighbour. Still, it is largely true to Fowles' plot, and the calibre of its performers more than makes up for the shortcomings elsewhere. And that bathtub bit is one of the best bits of mainstream kink I've ever seen, so there is that. There's a "kneel before Zod" slash Fifty Shades of Grey joke about The Collector to be made there, somewhere.

Was The Collector worth the wait, given my esteem for the source material? Not completely, although it does stand very well upon its own merits, with a delightfully peculiar atmosphere and a great chemistry between its leads. An excellent addition to any horror collection. Geddit.

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