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The Confessional: House of Mortal Sin (1976)

Jack Allen , Stephanie Beacham , Pete Walker  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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The Confessional: House of Mortal Sin + Frightmare + The Comeback
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Allen, Stephanie Beacham, Kim Butcher, Norman Eshley, Mervyn Johns
  • Directors: Pete Walker
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Shriek Show
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BTGY3M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,352 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The macabre tale of a priest who records his parishioners' confessions and uses the tapes to blackmail his victims. Those unable or unwilling to meet his demands soon discover they must pay the ultimate price. After several parishioners turn up dead, a housekeeper begins to have her suspicions about him.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Do you wish to make a confession or not?" November 20, 2006
Verified Purchase
From The Pete Walker Collection comes the film The Confessional (1975) aka House of Mortal Sin, adapted for the screen by David McGillivray (House of Whipcord, Frightmare) and directed by Pete Walker (House of Whipcord, Frightmare, Schizo), starring Anthony Sharp (A Clockwork Orange), Susan Penhaligon (The Land That Time Forgot), Stephanie Beacham (Inseminoid, "Dynasty"), and Norman Eshley (Blind Terror). Also appearing is Hilda Barry (Carry on Loving), Stewart Bevan (The Ghoul), Julia McCarthy (Erik the Viking), and Walker regular Sheila Keith (House of Whipcord, Frightmare).

The film begins we see a distressed young woman returning home, after which she runs to her room and locks the door. Her parents, concerned for her welfare, try to talk to her through the door, but after finally breaking in the door, they discover she had thrown herself from the window for reasons unknown. After this we meet a young blonde woman named Jenny Welsh (Penhaligon), who lives with her older sister Vanessa (Beacham), the latter who runs a boutique of sorts. After Jenny has a chance meeting with someone named Father Bernard Cutler (Eshley), whom apparently was involved with Vanessa prior to entering the priesthood, we learn Jenny's having some man trouble with her live-in boyfriend Terry (Bevan), particularly in his penchant for playing the field. Jenny goes around to the church to talk with Bernard, but ends up given confession to Father Xavier Meldrum (Sharp), who seems just a bit too interested in the various intimate details of her relationship with Terry. Turns out Father Meldrum tape records the confessions he takes, and then, in some instances, uses them to blackmail people into doing his bidding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A film worth checking out May 8, 2008
By Chloe
One of Britain's finest horror films of the 1970s. Terribly underrated & has been virtually obscure over the years. Not viable in many outlets after being discontinued on home video back in the 1990s, The Confessional was a flick I had to hunt down & was fortunate to finally luck out with a former rental copy from one of the Blockbuster video chains & at a reasonable price. I wasn't at all disappointed. I'd gladly recommend this to any fan of horror films. It has an apt cast & the story is well worth checking out.

The late Anthony Sharp does a great job as the demented priest. There's a movie poster for this movie on
I had never seen a poster for this film before, so naturally was curious what the artwork had been. It's a keeper, too, as is this offering. If you're a fan of the horror film genre & can appreciate an older flick with suspense & not so much blood & gore & don't have a hangup about british films, you'll love The Confessional. Buy the DVD & add it to your collection.

Also I strongly recommend Horror Hospital, another horror film from Britain's Hammer Studios from the mid 1970s.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed This Dark Thriller May 20, 2011
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I really enjoyed this movie. It is creepy with an excellent plot, and an ending that surprised me, as I thought the old, wicked priest was either going to be killed, or would commit suicide.

But, in this engrossing thriller, EVIL survives, and the good go by the wayside!

Definitely "a watcher" for movie-goers who enjoy thrillers, good drama and great acting.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Confessional January 26, 2011
Be prepared to pay for your sins when you enter THE CONFESSIONAL! Cult British Horror director Pete Walker uses the film to take a penetrating look into religion, particularly in the archaic practices of the Catholic church. Father Xavier Meldrum uses his confessional booth to spy on his parish, using the tapes he collects to blackmail the members of his church and coerce them into doing whatever he likes. Young Jenny becomes the object of his obsession, and when blackmail fails to bring them together, he tries the next best thing: murder! The priest claims to be cleansing his flock by forcing their sins out into the open, where he threatens to expose their adultery, premarital sex, and abortions to their friends and families. The more modern Father Cutler frequently tries to convince Meldrum of the church's outdated practices, but Meldrum is locked in his ways, and accuses Cutler of allowing their members to fall into temptation. These impacted questions of morality are as relevant today as they were in 1976 upon the film's release, allowing THE CONFESSIONAL an added significance and deeper meaning than the average exploitative shocker of its kind. Walker's key lighting creates an ominous mood in the church setting, where a great number of the unexpectedly brutal and bloody murders take place. Although its pace often suffers, the performances by Anthony Sharp, Stephanie Beacham, Norman Eshley, and the great Sheila Keith hold the audience's attention throughout the slower exposition. This is one of Walker's better films, falling somewhere between HOUSE OF WHIPCORD and FRIGHTMARE in quality and style.

-Carl Manes
I Like Horror Movies
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Confessional June 27, 2008
By Bob Lew
Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Stephanie Beacham so I got this movie. I thought it was pretty good for the time in which it was made--but was dissapointed by the ending. But, I do recommend the video.
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