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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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].
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.
Most recent customer reviews
This is not a "Euroshock" feature even though it's part of the Euroshock Collection. It's a well made but very tame British "gore" film from the seventies. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2002 by Mark Norvell
FRIGHTMARE is a classic example of great entertainment. It has all the elements of a horror film- it is shocking, violent, and scary as hell! Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2002 by Ryan Clark
This Brit slasher flick created some chills. The story concerns a grandmotherly type being released from an insane asylum because she is cured. Read morePublished on May 29 2001 by Wil-n-Tally
don't pay attention to these other reviews this movie stinks: period. it is one of the worse movies i've seen and if amazon would have a decent return policy i would send it back... Read morePublished on May 14 2001
THIS IS GREAT MOVIE.IT MOVES AT A CRACKING PACE (INTO TOP GEAR FOR THE LAST HALF AN HOUR),HAS PLENTY OF BROODING,CLAUSTROPHOBIC SCENES AND SOME TREMENDOUS EDGY PERFORMANCES. Read morePublished on April 19 2001 by Cash Steele
Tension. Good make-up effects (for the time). And a great ending... How old is this movie ? I only ask because it took my wife a couple of hours at bedtime after watching this,... Read morePublished on March 25 2001