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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 January 2010
Stephanie Powers is a young American woman who having returned to blighty, out of politeness goes to visit the mother of her dead fiancee to inform her that she is now betrothed to another. Unfortunately for Steph the elderly lady in question is a psychotic religious fundamentalist with an unhealthy preoccupation with the legacy of her departed son and resolves to punish the wicked unvirtuous american with the ultimate intention of ensuring this woman is a suitable wife for her son in the afterlife.
The performances are all pretty strong although Donald Sutherland was criminally sidelined, playing a half-wit gardener though actually the minor scenes he is involved in were undoubtedly quite poor by his usually high standard. I had never seen Yootha Joyce in a serious role before to my knowledge and with the other women in this very female led film her, Tallulah Bankhead and Powers (who was gorgeous in this) did a really good job.
The biggest let down for me and in fact what ruined it to an extent was the awful music played incessently throughout. The warning is apparent during the credits whereby the jaunty light hearted theme music was reminiscent of a made for tv Disney film. During the film potentially tense set pieces that should have been cranking up the suspense are stripped of all atmosphere by ridiculous plinky inserts. It is not an overstated point, imagine watching 'The Exorcist' with music from Hollyoaks randomly kicking in during the tense bits; for me it really overshadowed the film.
That asides some of the preachy segments from the religious mother were a little bit monotonous, a case of over egging the pudding a tad and for a 90+ min film other portions tended to drag also. So what could have been a real classic in my book becomes relegated to an interesting but somewhat flawed production.
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on 5 February 2010
Also known as Fanatic, this 1965 suspense thriller from Hammer Studios stars Tallulah Bankhead, the gaw-juss Stefanie Powers, Yootha Joyce, Peter Vaughan and a young Donald Sutherland.

A young American woman called Pat (Stefanie Powers) arrives in England to see her fiancee Alan (Maurice Kaufman). She tells Alan that she wishes to visit Mrs. Trefoile (Tallulah Bankhead), the mother of her former lover Stephen. Unfortunately, Stephen is now dead and, even more unfortunately for Pat, his mother is a religious fanatic who is not playing with a full deck.

Shortly after Pat arrives at Mrs. Trefoile's large house things start to go horribly wrong when Pat does not conform to Mrs. T's religious beliefs and the situation turns really nasty when Mrs. T learns that Pat plans to marry someone else. Mrs. T decides to keep Pat as a prisoner in her house and teach her the errors of her ways with the aid of her servants (who are also a few slices short of a full loaf) and a loaded pistol which she is not afraid to use if necessary. A game of cat and mouse then ensues (hence the opening credits sequence) as Pat tries to escape from her crazy captors.

Although this film is not one of Hammer's greatest efforts it is still worth watching mainly because of the good cast. The role of Mrs. Trefoile would have been perfect for Bette Davis or Joan Crawford but Tallulah Bankhead is still very good in the part and puts in a suitably wide-eyed, ranting performance. Her character is just as much a monster as Dracula, Frankenstein's creature or The Mummy.

If you like this movie then you may also wish to track down and check out Crescendo, another 1960s Hammer thriller starring sexy Stefanie Powers.
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on 10 August 2011
Hammer continued their trend of giving over the top monstrous roles to great Hollywood actresses passed over on their home turf for younger models. Tallulah Bankhead is magnificent as the obsessed and repressed Mrs Trefoile, relishing the outpourings of grief and visciousness, but also showing dignified restraint in the character's composed moments. Elsewhere, it's a good job Stephanie Powers is a good actress able to convey her character's mental and physical collapse so well, as the make-up department seem determined to keep her looking pristine at all times (apparently Mrs Trefoile's abhorrence of make up does not extend to eyeliner). She skillfully plays out the undermining of her character's confidence without ever sinking into bathos, and her suffering at the hands of Mrs Trefoile and her employees is well played. The four supporting characters are all excellent, although Maurice Kaufmann has little to do. Peter Vaughan and Yootha Joyce work wonders with underwritten parts. Vaughan adds depth of character to what could have just been a cardboard cut-out creep. While his character's motivations are fairly clear, Anna's are far less clear. You could wonder why she does what she does, were it not for Yootha Joyce's subtle looks and gestures. It's clear Mrs Trefoile has some sort of psychological or religious hold over her that she is powerless to resist. Last but not least, Donald Sutherland makes a good job of the young man with learning difficulties, again steering clear of the stereotype of the day.

The setting is both drab and menacing without being overdone, the tension builds nicely and the production values are high. As another reviwer says, the music is awful - Wilfred Josephs must have either completely misunderstood the brief or had a really off day. But don't be dissuaded from giving this film a go.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 March 2014
Fanatic (AKA: Die! Die! My Darling! is directed by Silvio Narizzano and adapted to screenplay by Richard Matheson from the novel "Nightmare" written by Anne Blaisdell. It stars Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan, Yootha Joyce, Donald Sutherland and Maurice Kaufmann. Music is by Wilfred Josephs and cinematography by Arthur Ibbetson.

Pat Carroll (Powers) decides to make a courtesy call on Mrs. Trefoile (Bankhead), the mother of the man she was courting seriously before his untimely death in an automobile accident. Her good intentions are not exactly welcomed with open arms, in fact Pat finds herself spun into a vortex of religious fanaticism and maternal madness.

Psycho-Biddy sub-genre meets Hammer Film's one word titled series of Psycho inspired thrillers, Fanatic is a thoroughly bonkers movie. Not in that it doesn't make sense or it is complex supreme, it's that it operates in some campy feverish world, a place where Baby Jane rests in peace. Unfortunately it's not as good as the other films that make up this wickedly entertaining sub-genre of horror.

That it's amazingly riveting is due to a bunch of cast performances that have to be seen to be believed. For even as the film meanders, where the makers repeatedly fall back on Pat Carroll's predicament with boorish time filling sequences, there's something enigmatically joyous about Bankhead and the crew making merry hell in this Hammeresque carnival of horrors.

Legend has it that Bankhead was permanently sozzled throughout the production, it matters not, always a tough old dame who never suffered fools gladly, it's a bravura performance that's rich with the excessiveness that the story demands. Joyce and Vaughan would become legends of situation comedies in Britain, but here they get to play seriously stern and creepy lecher respectively, with the latter tasked with waving his shotgun around as an unsubtle phallic erection!

Sutherland is woeful, but again it matters not, and it's actually not his fault, the character as written is a village idiot, a wet pants of a man purely in the story to fulfil the freak show quotient. Then there is the darling Powers, so young, sexy and vibrant, she escapes criticism because her performance is so measured it deflects from the preposterousness of it all.

Lipstick is banned, sex is banned, the colour red is banned and Religio Guignol is the order of the day. It's a film hard to recommend with any sort of confidence, but it's just nutty enough to make it worth seeking out as a curio piece. 6/10
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on 20 August 2006
This Hammer shocker has been out for a while now, and it is quite entertaining (in parts).

Tallulah totally steals the scenes as she aggresively rules the deranged household's occupants. The editing could have been better, it has a very boring start however as Mrs. Trefoile (Bankhead) drones her way through prayer after prayer readings, it does however quickly pick up when Mrs. Trefoile is not prepared to let her captor ecsape (Stefanie Powers) building quickly up to crescendo of chilling events. Definitely worth a look.
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on 25 January 2015
This totally demented effort is quite important because it is one of Hammer's very first "modern" looking film. It seems that with this flick gone were the sumptuous colors, gone were the elaborated sets and gone were Jack Asher's painfully put-together shots..
Here we have an average looking film but which is fully redeemed by an absolutely fantastic script and a no-less fantastic cast.
As far as the script is concerned, Richard Matheson wrote a screenplay that is slightly tongue in cheek, even campy at times, but also very scary: fear is never far out and the viewer is being kept on his toes throughout.
I must also say that all the characters are extremely well-written, in particular the victim of Mrs Trefoyle's madness. The usual "defenseless" prisoner will not stop trying to escape for 90 minutes and will show resilience and stamina. With a script like this, mostly-TV-director Silvio Narizzano has little to do , and indeed, little does he.
Indeed, the cast is top notch, from lead roles to bit parts. As the evil Mrs Trefoyle, Tallulah Bankhead is just sublime, OTT and seriously deranged: a performance to cherish. 22-years-old Stefanie Powers gets in Bankhead's face with aplomb, assurance, and a lack of fear which is absolutely brilliant. Around them, the actors are phenomenal. Sutherland makes the most of a (virtually) non-speaking part, Peter Vaughan (now a regular in "Game of Thrones") is appropriately sadistic and sex-obsessed, while Yootha Jones as the torn maid, is beautiful and hurt by her husband's behaviour - a great performance, that is.
A lot of scenes will get you out of your seats and overall this is a great movie, shot in Elstree (and not at Bray), which was a very encouraging sign for the new "Hammer".
Heartily recommended!!!!
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on 15 February 2011
One of the things which characterizes Hammer's non-supernatural output of the sixties is its array of strong parts for women. Sure, they often find themselves in the position of captive victims, but they're also smart, resourceful and very 'modern', almost always outwitting the psycho/fanatic/maniac/conspirator plotting against them. Another feature is the localized setting, which can be the twee English country village or a secluded Meditteranean resort (with the former sometimes doubling as the latter)Scream of Fear, The Witches and Fear in the Night spring to mind. This is obviously a requirement of the budget, but it serves to create a nostalgia-suffused familiarity that lends credibility to the stories and was a feature of 60s/70s British TV from Doctor Who to Brian Clemens' Thriller. Die (also known as Fanatic)is a decent example of the genre which benefits from fine performances from Talulah Bankhead (her last) as the almost-mother-in-law-from- Hell determined to keep her dead son's former fiancee pure and untouched in the attic of her rambling house. Peter Grant and Yootha Joyce are appropriately sinister as her accomplices and there's even a bit part for Donald Sutherland as special needs gardener. Scripted by Richard Matheson, there are enough plot twists to stop you from thinking too much and one or two examples of directorial flair, in particular the tracking shot which follows Powers' car when she first arrives at the house and closes on Grant's creepy leer. Hopefully Powers' other Hammer thriller Crescendo will be re-released on DVD at an affordable price.
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on 10 September 2014
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on 9 November 2011
unusual film from the studios of hammer.along the lines of whatever happened to baby jane,or hush sweet charlot,young woman goes to see the mother of her late boyfreind who died in a car crash sometime before against the wishes of her new bo.what she finds is a religous zealot who is 1 can short of a sixpack.played by bankhead.who has her own motives for seeing her would have been future daughter inlaw.eventualy miss powers becomes prisoner as miss bankhead trys to bend her to her will.there is a lot more to it but i do not want to give the plot away.the acting is good miss bankhead is a bit over the top but powers is good with good supporting roles from peter vaughn yootha joyceand in an early role from donald sutherland who plays a young man with learning difficulties.good film good qualitie transfer.
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