‘Seconds’ – one of the greatest psychological horror films ever made

Seconds 1966

Seconds
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Written by David Ely and Lewis John Carlino
1966, USA

Not for weak sisters! May not even be for strong stomachs!

John Frankenheimer’s ultimately terrifying Twilight Zone-like, futuristic thriller Seconds, received mixed reviews, and was critically panned at the Cannes Film Festival. But what do they know? Seconds is a chilling character study and a distressing examination of happiness, loneliness, consumerism, and the American dream. This paranoid take on the legend of Faust remains widely unseen. Thankfully repeated showings on late night television helped the film find a much-deserved cult following.

A New York businessman Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is recruited by the services of a secret organization which provides unhappily married middle-aged businessmen with new lives. Arthur is told that with some highly evolved plastic surgery, physical reconditioning and a promise of a new career, he can become a young man again and begin a new life. He decides to go through with the procedure and awakes as Tony Wilson (Rock Hudson), a hunky bachelor who’s given a chic beachside property, a girlfriend (Salome Jens), and even a butler to answer to his every request. But starting a new life isn’t as easy as it seems, especially when you’re burdened with so many emotional ties to your former self. Tony quickly learns that simply changing one’s appearance and materialistic attachments are not enough to ensure you are truly free. This provocative film underscores the Faustian theme – the yearning for youth and desire to live life over again – and the price to pay for everything gained.

Seconds features dazzling, disorienting, rich, black-and-white cinematography from the legendary James Wong Howe, whose use of long takes, wide-angle lenses, and skewed framing gives Seconds the feel of a Kafkaesque nightmare. Saul Bass contributes a spectacularly haunting title sequence that immediately sets the mood along with the edgy jangle of Jerry Goldsmith’s excoriating score. John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, Ronin) directs Seconds as a nightmare, heightening every shot to maximum discomfort. The unbroken hand-held camerawork on many angst-ridden sequences, including an outdoor orgy, gives Seconds a unique, rough feel of the ‘60s and ‘70s underground. And the echoing sound effect of a drill near the end will make you scream.

Frankenheimer’s claustrophobic hellish vision of an unhappy man examining his life to see what went wrong is essential viewing. Hudson’s portrayal of a tortured soul (now an abstract painter) struggling to fill in the blank canvas of what he now calls life, is a tour de force performance. Seconds is a masterpiece and one of the greatest psychological horror films ever made.

– Ricky D




Add Comment


50 CEOs Who Never Went to College (and how they managed to succeed)
10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
7 Best Golf Courses in St. Augustine, Florida
25 Bachelor Party Movie Ideas
People playing the clarinet
10 Different Types of Clarinets
11 Different Types of Drums
Pâté filled in a jar and spread on a toast
11 Different Types of Pate
16 Different Types of Apples
Dough used in baking
20 Different Types of Dough
20 Different Types of Raspberries
A Man in a Suit Opening a Car’s Door
9 Different Types of Car Doors
Headlights of a black car
9 Different Types of Headlights
19 Different Types of Construction Vehicles
Fire Truck with Warm Yellow Lights
9 Different Types of Fire Trucks
54 Different Types of Sports Played (Individual and Team Sports)
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
16 Different Types of Technology
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Camera Stores for the Perfect Pics