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Frightmare [Blu-ray]

3.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rupert Davies, Sheila Keith, Deborah Fairfax
  • Directors: Pete Walker
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • Release Date: March 18 2014
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00HR7364Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,312 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Years after being committed to an insane asylum for practicing cannibalism, a married couple (Rupert Davies and Sheila Keith) are let back into society...

Of all the grisly horrors directed by Pete Walker, Britain's chief specialist in shock cinema, Frightmare is perhaps his best known work. Much of this has to do with the memorably lurid ad campaign, not to mention the indelible image of elderly Sheila Keith advancing towards the camera, wide-eyed and brandishing a power drill. Typical of Walker's films, Frightmare abandons subtlety in favor of outright jabs at the establishment while embracing graphic gore and mayhem in a manner that makes the Hammer films of the period look positively quaint in comparison.

Britain's answer to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre finds its villain in a little old fortunetelling lady who likes to take an electric drill to the skulls of her customers. Sheila Keith is the seemingly dotty old woman recently released from an insane asylum with her doting husband (Rupert Davies). Brunette Deborah Fairfax's good-girl heroine helps stepmom through the transition with midnight visits and animal brains (yum!), while her thrill-killing delinquent half-sister (the appropriately named Kim Butcher) takes to the family business with a deliriously ferocious glee.

This is the film that gave British goremeister Pete Walker his notorious reputation, with its brain-munching matron and her gory murder spree (including a red-hot fireplace poker through the stomach--ouch!). The movie is tight and well acted, and Walker's usually blunt style rises to the occasion of David McGillivray's script, a sad and savage psychodrama that takes the blood in blood relations with a cruel literalness. Walker's grainy black-and-white prologue is startlingly visceral, and his penchant for numbing, nihilistic climaxes remains as strong as ever. This well-mounted splatter film is smarter than most of its ilk, with a strong subtext of family tensions, but it's definitely not for the squeamish.

Released uncut on home video for the first time by Image Entertainment, it's a sharp, colorful full-screen transfer of a good print, with only minor scratches. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
One of the great exploitation titles of all time, "Frightmare" (1974) 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 horrordom'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 Drothy 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 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.
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Format: DVD
Ya know, once a cannibal, always a cannibal.
Just a nasty piece of work as only the Brits can do, about Mama's quirky little habit of drilling her victims [or in that certain scene, the pitchfork to the face, or is it also the red hot poker?] to perfection! She's also a psychic........and has quuite a sideshow.
Hubby dear, try as he only may, cannot get her to quit [although she's apparently rehabilitated since that piercing opening sequence]. Then there's the confused off-spring and the so-called suitors. It's disturbing to see this matron-being "out of sorts" - but only in Merry old England. Akin to Monty Python going Psycho for real.
The 1974 posters warned about "the Black and Decker moments" - so be warned, this one's not for the squeamish, and graphic for the faint of heart. Talk about brainfood! This one's spread all over the place.
Companions? "Peeping Tom" [ditto the piercings], and possibly the much earlier "Horrors of the Black Museum" [Michael Gough].
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Format: 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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Format: VHS Tape
Servicable Brit horror entry in the early '70s about an elderly couple who was put away several years ago for cannibalism; the husband wants to put it behind him but the wife (Sheila Keith) can't help but lure visitors with promises of Tarot readings, which turn out, of course, to be dinner with the guests on the menu. And their 2 daughters are in the thick of it. Keith is lots of fun in this Pete Walker entry, which is miles better than his House Of Whipcord (also starring Keith). Not very gory, as British critics might try to persuade you to believe (only slightly cut for VHS release), and not great either, but worthwhile for Keith's enjoyable performance. Should be remade someday, with more gore, of course.
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Format: Blu-ray
Edmund (Rupert Davies) and Dorothy (Sheila Keith) have been released from a mental institution, their home for 18 years. They are cured from killing and eating people...almost. The oldest daughter Jackie (Deborah Fairfax ) cares for her 15 year old half-sister Debbie (Kim Butcher) who is a bit wild like her mother. Jackie tells Debbie their parents are dead, while she sneaks out at night to visit them with an offering from the butcher store.

The film was on the slow side. The gore factor is minimal. Some blood splatter and an occasional red meat special effect. I was bored for most of the film.

Parental Guide: No f-bombs, sex, or nudity. Fair DVD transfer.
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