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Frightmare – 1974
Worse than your most shocking nightmare!
Pete Walker

David McGillivray
Pete Walker story

Tony Tenser executive producer
Pete Walker producer

Rupert Davies – Edmund Yates
Sheila Keith – Dorothy Yates
Deborah Fairfax – Jackie
Paul Greenwood – Graham
Kim Butcher – Debbie
Fiona Curzon – Merle
Jon Yule – Robin
Trisha Mortimer – Lillian (as Tricia Mortimer)
Pamela Fairbrother – Delia
Edward Kalinski – Alec
Victor Winding – Detective Inspector
Anthony Hennessey – Detective Sergeant
Noel Johnson – The Judge
Michael Sharvell-Martin – Barman
Tommy Wright – Nightclub Manager
Andrew Sachs – Barry Nichols
Nicholas John – Peter
Jack Dagmar – Old Man
Leo Genn – Dr. Lytell
Gerald Flood – Matthew Laurence
Sue Shaper
Bill Barnsley – Patrolmen
L.W. Clarke – Patrolman
David McGillivray
Martin Taylor – Guest
Pete Walker – Mr. Brunskill (voice)

Review by Sven Soetemans

Quite deranged…rather great!,
It’s ‘granny goes gaga’ in this genuinely creepy bone-chiller, surprisingly well directed by Peter Walker and penned down by David McGillivray. These guys aren’t exactly known as the greatest cinema duo as some of their other projects like ‘House of Whipcord’, ‘Schizo’ and ‘Satan’s Slave’ were …well…complete stinkers! The power of this ‘Frightmare’ simply lies in its primitive goal to shock and to disturb the viewer by showing the disastrous fade of poor, innocent victims.

*** small spoilers*** The eerie black and white opening sequences introduce us to an elderly couple on trial for a series of savage murders. Dad is pretty much sane and a devoted husband, but mum suffers from cannibalistic characteristics. 15 years later, they’re freed from the asylum and declared properly sane. Even though they now live in a quiet farm outside the town and receive many visits from their oldest daughter Jackie, mommy (Dorothy Yates) resumes her old disgusting habits by enticing lonely people to the farm with the offer or reading their futures in cards. Things get even more complex when Jackie’s psychiatrist boyfriend digs up matters from the past and the couple’s youngest daughter Debbie seems to have inherited mom’s relentless sense of cruelty and taste for blood. *** end spoilers ***

There’s very few background in the story and not even a proper attempt to analyze the psychological elements the plot handles about. Frightmare wants to shock you, and from that viewpoint, it’s a very successful package of eeriness. Multiple scenes are loaded with tension and leave you with a very uncanny aftertaste in your stomach. There’s quite a lot of offensive gore in the film and the mind-blowing climax skyrocketed the cult-value of this film, back in the early seventies.

If you’re not too easily petrified, I certainly recommend checking this film out.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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