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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic shocker from exploitation's heyday
FRIGHTMARE

(UK - 1974)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Mono

One of the great exploitation titles of all time, FRIGHTMARE has often been described as the UK's answer to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) due to its bleak scenario and uncompromising violence. More importantly, the film established one of the horror genre's...
Published on October 25, 2001 by Libretio

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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old school horror.
This is a fairly well acted old style British horror (set in the disco age) it begins in black and white, that gives you a glimpse into the past. You may think that this movie is about the 2 young women who dominate the opening. 1 is a responsible woman trying to shoulder many burdens. The other is an underage hell raiser out for drinking, fooling around, with a bit of...
Published on August 23, 2012 by M. J. Petty


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old school horror., August 23, 2012
This review is from: Frightmare (Amazon Instant Video)
This is a fairly well acted old style British horror (set in the disco age) it begins in black and white, that gives you a glimpse into the past. You may think that this movie is about the 2 young women who dominate the opening. 1 is a responsible woman trying to shoulder many burdens. The other is an underage hell raiser out for drinking, fooling around, with a bit of blood on the side. Later the movie focuses in on the parents and their dark past and secrets. The movie climax is not a happy one and most people growing up on Hollywood endings wont see it coming. The movie is a bit hard to follow as so many secrets are being kept but eventually most things are concluded satisfactorily.

There is a disturbing scene where the mother goes at a dead body with a powerdrill (Nothing is shown except the mothers crazed face as blood splatters Her).

If you like older horrors with a lot of subplots this is a good watch. If you get easily annoyed with movies taking awhile to get somewhere you might want to pass.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic shocker from exploitation's heyday, October 25, 2001
This review is from: Frightmare (DVD)
FRIGHTMARE

(UK - 1974)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Mono

One of the great exploitation titles of all time, FRIGHTMARE has often been described as the UK's answer to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974) due to its bleak scenario and uncompromising violence. More importantly, the film established one of the horror genre's most distinctive villains, the deceptively fragile Dorothy Yates, an elderly serial killer who was making a meal of her victims long before Thomas Harris brought Hannibal Lecter to mainstream attention. Sentenced to an asylum in 1957 for acts of cannibalism along with her husband Edmund (Rupert Davies), who conspired to hide her crimes from the world, Dorothy (Sheila Keith) is released fifteen years later and soon slips back into her old ways, luring unwary victims to her isolated farmhouse with promises of Tarot readings before stabbing them to death with various household implements. Edmund's daughter from a previous marriage (Deborah Fairfax) suspects Dorothy is still insane and is forced to enlist the help of her psychiatrist boyfriend (Paul Greenwood). But the Yates' have another daughter (the aptly named Kim Butcher!), conceived just before their incarceration, and she's already beginning to show disturbing signs of following in her mother's footsteps...

Having infuriated UK tabloid hacks with his barely-disguised assault on the Festival of Light in HOUSE OF WHIPCORD (1974), director Pete Walker conceived the notion of cannibalism in the Home Counties (!) and commissioned a script from "Whipcord" scribe David McGillivray, a movie critic-turned-scriptwriter who later became an outspoken opponent of British film censorship (watch for his brief, wordless cameo as a white-coated doctor). The result is one of the best British horror movies of the 1970's. True, there's a little too much chat in drab apartments and some of the fashions have dated badly, but the film's antiquated charm is difficult to resist. Most of the action takes place at night, concealing a multitude of low-budget sins behind a gloomy visual style, though most of the film's Grand Guignol horrors are confined to the Yates' crumbling farm, an Olde Worlde slaughterhouse far removed from the bright lights of the big city. Walker has described his approach as 'modern Gothique', an unsettling antidote to the safe, predictable (but still enjoyable) Hammer formula, and perfectly suited to an era defined by its social and political turmoil.

Production-wise, the film is competent but unexceptional. The young leads are OK, nothing more, though Kim Butcher is suitably unpleasant as the sociopathic daughter, and there are brief, throwaway cameos from British movie stalwarts Leo Genn (THE WOODEN HORSE, 1950) and Gerald Flood (PATTON, 1969), both cast purely for their marquee value. Veteran character actor Rupert Davies is particularly impressive as the distraught husband who is incapable (and ultimately unwilling) to curtail his beloved wife's monstrous cravings. Immensely popular at the time due to his role on British TV as Inspector Maigret, he was singled out for special attention by outraged critics when the film opened in London, appalled by his involvement in such 'lowbrow' material, though it wasn't the first time this 'respectable' actor had dabbled in the exploitation arena (see also DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE [1968], MATTHEW HOPKINS: WITCHFINDER GENERAL [1968], THE OBLONG BOX [1969], etc.). As it turned out, FRIGHTMARE was Davies' last film - he died in 1976.

But the true star of the show is Sheila Keith, an unpretentious, supremely gifted acrtress who came late to the film business and stayed just long enough to leave an indelible impression on cult movie fans everywhere. As portrayed here, Dorothy Yates' pathetic frailty conceals a ruthless psychopath, capable of the most horrendous atrocities, and the demonic expression which transforms Keith's face as she stalks her helpless victims is as blood-freezing as anything in the grne. Nowhere is this more evident than in an extraordinary sequence - completely unexpected in a British horror movie at the time - when Keith uses an electric drill to mutilate the head of a corpse which she's hidden in the barn...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Your timing is immaculate. I just put the kettle on.", June 15, 2006
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This review is from: Frightmare (DVD)
Two cannibals were eating a clown. One said to the other, "Does this taste funny to you?"

Two cannibals were sitting beside the fire after a sumptuous meal. One turned to the other and said, "Your wife sure makes a good roast."

"Yeah, I'm really going to miss her."

What did the cannibal get when he was late for dinner?

The cold shoulder.

Okay, these jokes are pretty lame, but I really couldn't think of another way to start my review for Pete Walker's cannibalistic treat Frightmare (1974). Produced, co-written, and directed by Pete Walker (The Flesh and Blood Show, House of Whipcord, Schizo), Frightmare features Sheila Keith (House of Whipcord, House of Mortal Sin), Rupert Davies (The Brides of Fu Manchu, The Conqueror Worm), Deborah Fairfax (Missing Persons), Kim Butcher (House of Mortal Sin), and Paul Greenwood (Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter). Also appearing is Jon Yule (House of Mortal Sin), Fiona Curzon (Queen Kong), and Edward Kalinski (Intimate Games).

After a slightly off putting black and white opening sequence set in London England in 1957, we meet Jackie (Fairfax) and Debbie (Butcher), two sisters who share a flat. Jackie, the elder, cares for Debbie, who's all of fifteen and a real `bloody delinquent', after the death of their parents Dorothy and Edmund so many years ago, or so Debbie believes, but Jackie knows different. In reality Dorothy and Edmund have spent the last fifteen years (at least) in a mental institution for some heinous crimes committed in the past, have recently been certified as being cured and released, and are now residing on a secluded farm just outside of town. What were they committed for? Oh, not much, just a little murder and a bit of the cannibalism...turns out Dorothy has the problem, while Edmund, ever the devoted spouse, only help to facilitate the activity, but never actually participated directly (`ave another kidney pie, Mum?). Anyway, Jackie and Edmund, fearful that Dorothy may have a relapse, have concocted a scheme to try and keep her anthropophagous urges sated, but the old lady's a wily one, as she knows the score, and we soon see her secretly resorting to the old ways (time to hide the power tools and red, hot pokers), taking in the occasion traveler, reading their fortune in her tarot cards, and then...well, having them for dinner, literally. Jackie's boyfriend Graham (Greenwood), wanting to help ease the strife between Jackie and Debbie, starts rooting around in the girls past, thinking their relationship issues have something to do with their parents, and eventually learns the secret Jackie's been hiding all these many years. By the way, seems Debbie and her hot headed boyfriend Alec (Kalinski) have gotten themselves into a spot of trouble involving the disappearance of a local man indicating perhaps this rotten apple didn't fall too far from the tree...

While Frightmare is definitely a nasty and even disturbing little piece of cinema, it's also a whole lot of gruesome, grisly fun for those who can appreciate well-crafted tales of the warped and twisted. After the opening sequence things slow down to a crawl for the next forty-five minutes or so, or it would seem, but really it's all a build up for what's coming down the pike. There's an ominous sense the permeates a majority of the feature as Dorothy, who puts on a good show of being reformed on the surface, appears sly and manipulative underneath. The creepiest scenes for me not involving any violence or bloodshed were when Dorothy was doing her tarot card readings, and asking questions of those she was reading for in terms of their personal relationships, families, etc. It seemed innocuous to the individual having their fortune being told, but for those of us in the know it was obvious a predator was at work, trying to discern if something were to happen to this person, would they actually be missed? Sheila Keith, whom I last saw as a sadistic prison matron in Walker's House of Whipcord (1974), really stands out here as an unrepentant, remorseless, manipulative, devious head case whose only real crime, as she sees it, was that she got caught. Despite her various character flaws, she did have an uncanny ability in reading those tarot cards. I thought Rupert Davies also did very well as her doting husband, willing to turn a blind eye towards his wife's peccadilloes, but the stress of her activities obviously causing great strain on his ability to keep it together. I thought it odd Graham would want to get involved to the extent he did, given he and Jackie only had a date or two, but I suppose given the fact he was a psychiatrist he'd want to help someone he thought in need. I suspect the real reason, though, was his desire to get with Jackie, as being a guy, I have a pretty good idea how far guys will go if there's a chance to get a piece of ash. As far as the visceral material, there seems like a good amount, but overall there really isn't, as much of it's implied. We see everything leading up to the violence, and then see the aftermath, but rarely do we witness the actual carnage. These bits are filmed in such a way that allows you to fill in the blanks easy enough with your imagination, so it seems a lot worse than it actually is (especially if you've got an imagination like mine)...there is one sequence that is extremely violent, as some dude gets a pitchfork right in the face (talk about the pain that lingers). Again, we don't see the penetration of the flesh, but given the action and the copious amount of blood displayed, it feels like we did. All in all this is an unnerving tale of the macabre, one that includes an excellent sense of direction and a slew of solid performances.

As I write this review, there are two DVD releases of this film, one by Image Entertainment, and another, newer release by Media Blaster/Shriek Show (the Shriek Show release features art of a crazed woman brandishing a power drill, and has the text `The Pete Walker Collection' on the top). The picture quality, presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), looks clean on the Shriek Show release, but does display a few instances of damage, most likely due to age, but nothing to make a big fuss about. As far as the audio, it's presented in both Dolby Digital mono and 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, and it comes through very well. As far as extras, there's an original theatrical trailer for the film, along with a commentary track with producer director Pete Walker and director of photography Peter Jessup, moderated by biographer/professor Steven Chibnall. There's also a handful of trailers for other films by Walker including The Flesh and Blood Show (1972), Die Screaming, Marianne (1971), The Confessional (1976), The Comeback (1978), and House of the Whipcord (1974).

Cookieman108
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "What terrifying craving made her kill?", August 4, 2005
By 
Michael R Gates (Nampa, ID United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Frightmare (DVD)
In British indie filmmaker Pete Walker's outré thriller FRIGHTMARE (1974)--arguably one of his best films--the Western concept of family is skewed in a dark, dismal narrative that inexorably spirals in towards an inevitable downbeat ending. By modern standards, it's not high on the gore scale, but it is downright chilling nonetheless.

Though it is a color film, a black-and-white prologue establishes the tone of the story. When Edmund Yates (Rupert Davies) and his wife, Dorothy (Sheila Keith), are convicted of committing unspeakable acts of murder and cannibalism, a judge sentences them to a psychiatric institution, where they are to remain until it is proven that they are no longer a danger to others.

Shift about 15 years into the future (and to color film), when the couple has been declared sane and released. Not wanting any publicity or undue stress, they live a reclusive life in the country, and only Edmund's daughter from a previous marriage, Jackie, knows who and where they are. Even the daughter that Edmund and Dorothy procreated together--Debbie, now 15 years old--has been led to believe that her parents died just after she was born. (Debbie has been raised by her older half-sister.)

Lately, Debbie has been hanging around with violent delinquents and having run-ins with the law. Is she in any way responsible for the bartender that went missing soon after she and her friends visited the pub? And Jackie has been making mysterious visits to her father and stepmother in the wee hours of the night. Just what is in those blood-soaked packages she brings to them? Are Edmund and Dorothy falling back into old habits? And if they are, how deeply are their daughters involved?

As far as older British horror goes, FRIGHTMARE is one of the best to come from outside of Hammer studios. The dialogue is replete with witty funeral-parlor humor, but there is also plenty of grisly action that is no laughing matter. Some of the murder scenes can be stomach churning, but interestingly, most of the actual violence and gore is beyond the camera eye. Yes, a heaping helping of blood and guts is sometimes served, but rarely is the viewer privy to the actual slicing, dicing, or skewering. In many ways this makes the action all the more chilling, especially when the frame is filled with the wild eyes and crazed visage of the killer as the bloody, stringy nasty bits flip into view.

All of the actors do an outstanding job in FRIGHTMARE, but Sheila Keith's over-the-top portrayal of Dorothy Yates steals the show. She segues from tremulous, confused old woman to bloodthirsty maniac (and back!) with such skill and ease that she could raise goosebumps without any of the stage blood or props. Fans of British TV may recognize Keith from her later stint on the popular series BLESS, ME FATHER, where she again exercised her immense talent for portraying intimidating and frightening women in the recurring role of stern nun Mother Stephen.

The DVD from Image Entertainment is low on frills--in fact, they are non-existent--but it is well worth the price of admission. Considering the age of the source film, the digital transfer is surprisingly crisp and colorful (with only minor filmic scratches and dirt), and the mono soundtrack is quite acceptable. The aspect ratio is 1.33:1, but it is NOT pan-and-scan. The original film was shot full frame on 35mm stock, and Walker's intention was to matte the film to 1.85:1 when prints were made for distribution to theaters. So this DVD contains the unmatted full-frame AS ORIGINALLY SHOT, meaning that nothing that Walker intended to be there is missing and, instead, there's a little extra image at the top and bottom of the frame. Aesthetically, this causes some very minor compositional problems--few viewers are likely to actually notice--and it in no way compares with the butchering that is done when a film that is shot as widescreen is reformatted to a 1.33:1 pan-and-scan.

In short, Pete Walker's FRIGHTMARE is a well-made chiller that, while it seems tame when compared to today's horror, is genuinely unnerving. And the Image DVD makes a very worthy addition to the collection of any true horror fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and compelling, May 7, 2001
This review is from: Frightmare (DVD)
This is a movie most people hate or admire, but it's very hard to love. Pete Walker no doubt wanted to make his own "Texas chainsaw massacre" and, at the same time, some sort of statement about families gone bad (in this case REALLY bad), all in exploitation movie format. "Frightmare" is a truly depressing, shocking and disturbing movie, primarily because it manages to make it's goings-on seem a little bit plausible. The performances are natural and unaffected, the murders unpleasant (but not as gory as you think they are at a first viewing) and the 70's settings grey and bleak. At the heart of the movie, and it's greatest strength, is Sheila Keith! Her performance as Dorothy Yates is truly chilling and yet strangely sympathetic. Her savage attacks on her victims and, moments later, her timid knitting-mother style, chilled me to the bone. The final family confrontation in the attic truly is one of british cinemas most disturbing moments. Rupert Davies as her weak and suffering husband is also strong, but more subdued (it couldn't be otherwise). You are at the edge of your seat almost during the whole movie because you feel that almost no one is save from the slaughter (and how right you are!). Pete Walker never did anything approaching this level ever again (though he tried hard and had Mrs Keith cast as a murderess two more times). However, be warned, this is not for every taste (no pun intented).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated horror-thriller, May 6, 2013
This review is from: Frightmare (Amazon Instant Video)
"Frightmare" falls into the horror/slasher genre although it is way toned down compared to contemporary slasher flicks like Friday the 13th and a Nightmare on Elm Street, to name a few. There are several movies titled "Frightmare" so it took me a couple of tries before I found the listing on IMDB for the one I watched. This "Frightmare" is the 1974 British production which has the alternate title "Cover Up".

The story begins with a B&W scene set in the past and also includes a judge passing down sentence though the identity of the condemned is not revealed. The movie then moves to the present (in color) where a young woman named Jackie appears to have her hands full trying to cope with her sister, a 15-year-old hellion named Debbie. At a gathering organized by Jackie's girlfriend, Jackie meets a young psychiatrist and the pair connect. Things don't go smoothly for the couple though, primarily because Jackie tries to keep him at arms' length. Debbie, Jackie's younger sister is also in trouble with the law for having participated in an assault case, but Jackie just can't seem to reach her sister. Meanwhile, Jackie makes nocturnal visits to a run-down place that is the home of an elderly couple. Who is the couple, and what is Jackie's role in their lives?

The story unfolds slowly but I thought the suspense was credibly built up, and the horror when it is unleashed is quite violent. As I mentioned earlier, those who have been numbed by the violence in contemporary movies such as the "Saw" and "Hostel" movies will find this extremely tame in comparison. Fans of old school horror though will find plenty to appreciate here, and I appreciated the compelling plot and the time taken to develop and portray these characters, both the good and bad ones.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Is No Nightmare.....It's A Frightmare!!, June 25, 2006
This review is from: Frightmare (DVD)
Frightmare! The film that shocked the whole world! Well, not really, but it makes for a good intro. Lots of reviewers got the plot nailed down pretty good, so I'm spared all that nonsense. Frightmare's a rather well done British horror flick about an old cannibal chick(the Frightmare rap!). There's nothing terribly surprising or original about the film's plot, but for some reason it's never boring and you find yourself wondering how it's all gonna end up. It does have a bit of a Hammer feel to it. This is probably due in some small part to the presence of Rupert Davies who was in Dracula Has Risen From The Grave. Gore is minimal, but there are a few juicy parts thrown in here and there. All in all this movie plays out like a kind of gothic soap opera dealing with the relationships and psychological effects of being part of a dysfunctional family. Very interesting, well done and recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than expected, March 13, 2013
This review is from: Frightmare (Amazon Instant Video)
I'm a big fan of old "horror" films and this one didn't disappoint. The acting was good but the subject "matter" was unexpected. A couple gets out of the nut house after years of treatment but old habits, or should I say, tastes are hard to curb. There are quite a few scenes that really seem out of place but make sense in the overall context of the film. I really enjoyed this movie..not a gore fest to be sure but great fun to watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy and surprising., July 4, 2006
This review is from: Frightmare (DVD)
Try not to let the reputation of Frightmare influence your opinion of it - by which I mean that the abundance of praise from many professional reviewers and movie guides may actually dilute it's impact as it's hard to live up to a reputation that must have been mind-blowing at the time of it's release (1974), but the content of the film has been surpassed and taken to much further extremes by a lot of the sleazy horror releases that came out in the years that followed it.

That's not meant to distract, however, from the fact that Frightmare is a very good horror film. It's a brutal tale of a family struggling to live under the shadow of the elderly mother's previous stay in an asylum for the crime of cannibalism. After a rather unnecessary flashback prologue, the film starts properly with mother back home and supposedly cured, but you can tell by the uncomfortableness all round that she's probably not all that cured at all!

People disagree over what is director Pete Walker's best film, but I go with this one. I'm not sure how much of it's success is down to his directorial skill, but the story, script and acting are all top notch. I guess the acting performances must be due in part to Walkers direction, as most conversation sequences are natural and unforced. Although at times (daughter Jackie's dinner party scene, for example) the film seems more like one of those old 1970's television "Play For Today" dramas than a horror film. Mind you, the BBC never roamed into the territory that this film does, and we are soon knee deep in power-drills and red hot pokers. I mentioned the good acting, and all the cast do well, but of course it's Sheila Keith as the mother Dorothy who everyone remembers, and she's terrific. Playing Dorothy as outwardly completely harmless and loveable, while at the same time being able to turn her into a snarling murderess - while still making it recognisably the same character - is a skill that could easily be beyond many actresses, but Sheila Keith does it with great subtelty.

On the downside, the "made for TV" appearance of the movie probably works against it more often than not, and it's low budget origins are fairly apparent. Nevertheless, it has a unique "Britishness" about it that would be lost without this. I would wager that nearly all the footage was shot on real locations, as the lighting always seems harsh and the indoor scenes are all very cramped and murky. The gore scenes, while effective, are not particularly realistic, but luckily the sheer nastiness of what Dorothy is doing is enough to turn the violent parts of the film into very queasy viewing.

Frightmare is a nasty and sleazy treat of a film for fans of vintage horror. It's great to see it on DVD, and the Shriek Show edition has released it with the fantastic promo art of Dorothy wielding her drill that scared me to death when seeing it in a video rental shop as a child. It's drawbacks are the dated visuals and low quality picture, lacking in both budget and visual flair. Although the DVD release does a great job with the transfer, the lighting (as I mentioned) is poor enough to make several important shots suffer quite badly from being too dark, and added to which, no part of the film stands out as being particularly elegant or dazzling. But if you want simple brutality, Frightmare has it to spare. So hooray for Pete Walker's dark and cynical vision of family life gone rotten... just don't watch this if you want to feel good about the world at the end of it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One video nasty, please!, December 31, 2004
This review is from: Frightmare (DVD)
Pete Walker's exploitation classics are a lot of fun to watch. I have only seen two at this point, his women in prison entry "The House of Whipcord" and "Frightmare." The former film is a seedy little picture that purportedly seeks to examine the dangers inherent in letting corporeal punishment and the legal system operate outside the bounds of society. That's the overt theme, but "House of Whipcord" is really an excuse to show a lot of young, scantily clad women with long hair enduring numerous brutalities behind the walls of a private prison. Walker pulled that film off with a bit of flair, I thought, so when I noticed he directed "Frightmare" I knew I needed to check it out. The two films couldn't be more different in execution and tone, but there is a passing resemblance between the two, i.e. both movies deal with the failures of the justice system. In "Whipcord," this meant extralegal activities of a decidedly unwholesome character. "Frightmare" examines what happens when approved legal mechanisms fail to rehabilitate the worst society has to offer. Yep, according to this film even those wretches addicted to dining on their fellow human beings can easily earn a second chance at free living.

Edmund Yates (Rupert Davies) and his wife Dorothy (Sheila Keith) are just your average, everyday elderly couple looking to live out their remaining years in the comfort of a nice home. Unfortunately, we quickly learn that something isn't right with these two. They spent quite a few years in the confines of a mental asylum thanks to Dorothy's insatiable appetite for tarot cards and snacking on her fellow creatures. Edmund ended up incarcerated too, not because he took part in his wife's unsavory activities but because he knew what went on in the house and refused to stop it. Love makes us do silly things, doesn't it? Anyway, the authorities declare Dorothy cured and promptly release the couple back into society. As questionable as this release is, who can blame the good doctors and administrators at the asylum? Even if Dorothy somehow got a craving again, which she won't because of the curative abilities of modern psychology, both of these people are so old that they could hardly pose a threat to other citizens. It takes a lot of energy to hunt down humans, right? Wrong. According to Walker's film, all you need is good bait (an ad in the local papers offering a tarot card reading) and something heavy lying around the house with which to conk potential victims on the noggin.

Alas, Edmund and Dorothy had two children before they entered the asylum. Daughter Jackie (Deborah Fairfax) now lives in the city with her younger sister Deborah (Kim Butcher). Jackie worked hard to shield her younger sibling from the horrors committed by their parents, and is convinced Deborah has no recollections of the unpleasantness or of the parents themselves. Unfortunately, the younger daughter is a major delinquent. She hangs out with a very rough crowd at the local pubs, and even goes so far as to goad her boyfriend into beating a bartender to a bloody pulp for refusing to serve her a drink. As we'll find out much later, Deborah is prepared to go much further than her ruffian friends where trouble is concerned. In the meantime, the two sisters battle incessantly about Deborah's problems, about her propensity for staying out at all hours of the night and her inability to listen to her older sister's advice. Jackie worries her sibling could end up in serious trouble with the authorities, a legitimate concern considering there has been a minor run in already. When Jackie meets a nice young man named Graham (Paul Greenwood), she tries to hide her embarrassing past from him. Suspicious that she might be seeing someone else, Graham follows her around and finds out far too late the bloody truth behind the Yates clan. As for Jackie, she discovers her efforts to keep sis out of the mix failed miserably.

Gore and black humor is the name of the game in "Frightmare." "She's had a very serious relapse, I'm afraid," says Edmund Yates about his wife, in an understatement of hilarious yet frightening dimensions. As Dorothy slips back into her old lifestyle, the sauce starts to flow as thick as a river, especially when the old gal gets her hands on a power drill. The movie is so bloody, in fact, that it isn't surprising the British censors went after it with a pair of garden shears. Not that I agree with censoring something as minor as a horror movie, but the grue does occasionally achieve high levels. More important than the gory effects, however, is the performance of Sheila Keith as the depraved Dorothy. She oscillates between a lovey dovey attitude with her husband to pure nastiness with her victims, and it eventually becomes quite clear that this woman never had any intention of curtailing her grotesque habits. She is, rather, a schemer who treats strangers poorly because they represent nothing but food to her. When was the last time you treated a cow with respect? It's to Keith's credit that her nuanced performance keeps us in the dark as long as it does regarding the true, unredeemed nature of her character.

Sadly, the DVD version of the film contains no extras. The picture quality isn't so hot, either. But none of that will matter after you finish watching this pitch-black horror picture. "Frightmare" contains everything a hardcore horror aficionado loves: gore, kooky characters in the throes of lunacy, great lines, good performances, nice looking young women, and a spooky conclusion that doesn't wrap things up in a tidy package. Between "The House of Whipcord" and "Frightmare," I would choose this film every time.
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Frightmare
Frightmare by Pete Walker (DVD - 2006)
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