From The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki
An original screenplay about a necrophiliac serial killer in New York City.
Hitchcock approached many writers including Robert Bloch, Samuel Taylor and Alec Coppel, but in the end engaged an old friend, Benn Levy to flesh out his sketchy idea of a killer based on serial killers John George Haigh, Neville Heath and John Christie...
January 18, 1967 Dear Hitch, It's got to be Heath, not Haigh. Told forwards the Heath story is a gift from heaven. You'd start with a "straight" romantic meeting, handsome young man, pretty girl. Maybe he rescues her from the wild molestations of a drunken escort. "I can't stand men who paw every girl they meet". Get us rooting for them both. He perhaps unhappily married and therefore a model of screen-hero restraint. She begins to find him irresistibly "just a little boy who can't cope with life" -- least of all with domestic problems such as he has described. She's sexually maternal with him, she'd give him anything -- and we're delighted. Presently a few of us get tiny stirrings of disquiet at the physical love scenes but don't quite know why. By the time we see the climax of his love in action and her murder, then even the slowest of us get it! Be we shouldn't know till then. Next, the disposal of the body sequence. And next -- which should be the most bloodcurdling scene in your entire career -- the mere encounter, preferably not in too dissimilar circumstances, with a second girl. And drag it out forever. Will she? Won't she? At first she seems increasingly drawn to him, then she seems to be backing out, maybe because a former boyfriend appears on the scene. But then they have a row (yes, about the recent murder story in the papers!!) "I bet she asked for it" He disagrees, they fight.) So she phones Heath, who meets her, dries her tears, is infinitely understanding and comforting, takes her off to the scene of the crime (as near as maybe), makes love to her and does her in. The mechanism of discovery and capture is to be devised but it should still be "told forwards", i.e. more from the angle of the pursued than the pursuers. And at one point, if I know my Hitch, I don't doubt but that Heath with his maximum of charms will accost a police woman! The ultimate irony of his psychoses of course is that he truly is "just a little boy who can't cope with life". "Little Boy" might be a nice title. See you soon but give me a day or two. How's the smog? Love, Benn
Hitchcock responded to Levy...
February 7, 1967 Dear Benn, Just a thought. In the penultimate paragraph of the outline there is the sentence, "And, at one point, I don't doubt but that Heath, with his maximum of charms, will accost a policewoman!". Actually, I think there's much more in this. Supposing that the third woman is a plant by the police so that you get the extreme suspense of watching the man fall into a trap - or does he fall? Supposing he nearly succeeds with the third woman, especially if he maneuvers her into some remote area which prohibits protective observation. Bon Voyage.
The story would have revolved around a young, handsome bodybuilder (inspired by Neville Heath) who lures young women to their deaths. The New York police set a trap for him; a policewoman posing as a potential victim. The script was based around three crescendoes dictated by Hitchcock: the first was a murder by a waterfall; the second murder would take place on a mothballed warship; and the finale, which would take place at an oil refinery with brightly colored drums.
Hitchcock showed his script to his friend François Truffaut. Though Truffaut admired the script, he felt uneasy about its relentless sex and violence. Unlike "Psycho", these elements would not be hidden behind the respectable veneer of murder mystery and psychological suspense; the killer would be the main character, the hero, the eyes of the audience.
Universal wasn't keen on the film either, despite Hitchcock's assurances that he would make the film for under a million dollars with a cast of unknowns (though David Hemmings and Michael Caine had been suggested as leads). The film – alternately known as "Frenzy" or the more "sixties"-ish "Kaleidoscope" – would not be made, but some of the ideas – and the title – would be recycled into his 1972 thriller "Frenzy".
Segments of test footage, shot without audio
(c) Universal Studios
Pre-production stills, likely taken by photographer Arthur Schatz...
Screen grabs of shot footage from the "Dial H for Hitchcock" documentary...
Screen grabs from the BBC "Reputations" documentary...
Footage from "Kaleidoscope Frenzy" has appeared in the following Hitchcockian documentaries...