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Director: Pete Walker
Cast: Sheila Keith, Rupert Davies, Deborah Fairfax, Leo Genn, Kim Butcher
Redemption Films / Region A / Rated R / 1.66:1 widescreen / Mono / 86 minutes
Extras: "For The Sake Of Cannibalism," An Interview With Pete Walker, By Elijah Drenner / Audio Commentary By Director Pete Walker And DP Peter Jessop, Conducted By Steve Chibnall, Author Of "Making Mischief: The Cult Films Of Pete Walker" / "Sheila Keith: A Nice Old Lady?" A Profile Of The Late Actress, Featuring Interviews With Her Former Collaborators / Original Theatrical Trailer
In her only film role, British TV actress Deborah Fairfax plays Jackie, the older sister in a fucked up family. Her mother murdered and cannibalized people 15 years ago and was institutionalized along with her complicit father and her younger sister Debbie is a hellion who runs with some nasty bikers. Now the parents have been released and are living on a farm where mom has started dabbling in doing tarot readings again, which is how she would lure her victims before.
Jackie knows they are free, but doesn't want Debbie finding out for fear that her wild ways wouldn't mix well with her crazy-ass mother. It's a good thing too because psycho mom has started back her wicked ways and poor old dad has found out again and again helps her to cover everything up. After Debbie kills a dude and is found out, she finds her parents and runs away to their farm. Jackie was right, that was NOT good. Now she is the only sane one in the whole damn family and must stop the Frightmare!
This is my second Pete Walker film and he definitely has a deliberate style. Like The Flesh and Blood Show–the other Walker film I've seen–Frightmare starts very slowly with lots of discussions in very bland settings. The only interesting set-piece was the farmhouse and that's only because there was some action happening there. That part of the story reminded me a bit of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which came out the same year. Farmhouse. Cannibalism. Nutso family. The bloodshed is pretty sparse until the last 15 minutes or so, where it does get pretty insane. The drill on the cover of the Blu-ray is not just for looks.
The entire cast of new and familiar faces are adequate but Sheila Keith really stands out as the seemingly feeble but insanely lethal mad mama, Dorothy. She is a Walker regular but this is her first starring role and she relishes in the insanity of the part. Kim Butcher (who two years later would be cast alongside Keith in Walker's The Confessional) is nice eye candy but she doesn't get naked or anything exciting. In fact, I don't think there is ANY nudity in Frightmare, unlike The Flesh and Blood Show which reveled in it. I guess he wanted to concentrate on the nasty, dark tones and gory climax in this one.
The former DVD releases of Frightmare were presented in a standard definition open-mat picture. This new release from Redemption Films has been remastered into a beautiful 1.66:1 widescreen presentation. There is a little film debris, very minor scratches and a few flashes of discoloration but overall they did a great job. The picture looks like you would expect a 40 year-old movie would, especially since Redemption didn't flatten the image and wash out all of the film detail like some companies tend to do. The mono soundtrack has similar quality, with only a few minor hiccups. If you are a fan of Walker's movies, this is a great release of what some say is his finest work.