The Medusa Touch

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The Medusa Touch is a 1978 British supernatural thriller/horror film directed by Jack Gold. It stars Richard Burton, Lino Ventura, Lee Remick and Harry Andrews, with cameos by Alan Badel, Derek Jacobi, Gordon Jackson, Jeremy Brett and Michael Hordern. The screenplay was by John Briley, based on the 1973 novel The Medusa Touch by Peter Van Greenaway.

Monsieur Brunel, a French detective on an exchange scheme in London, is assigned to investigate the apparent murder of novelist John Morlar. As they examine the crime scene, Brunel discovers the victim is still alive in spite of his severe head injuries and has him rushed to hospital.

With the help of Morlar’s journals and Dr. Zonfeld, a psychiatrist Morlar was consulting, Brunel reconstructs Morlar’s life. Seen in flashback, it is filled with seemingly inexplicable catastrophes and the sudden deaths of people he disliked or who grievously offended him. Morlar has become convinced that, consciously or unconsciously, he himself willed the things to happen. He had become even more convinced when a supposed psychic examined his hands, became greatly unsettled at what he foresaw, and refunded Morlar’s fee. Dr. Zonfeld scoffs at this explanation, asking Morlar if he seriously believes in palmistry as a means of predicting the future.

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