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3.9 out of 5 stars15
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 14 September 2012
This film is, more or less, a video nasty. However, whilst neither a pleasant nor glossy production, the acting and script are generally good. The fact that this is an exploitation piece designed to produce as much offensive gore as the censor would allow does indeed leave a nasty taste in the mouth (and does credit to the poster), but this fault is rendered almost irrelevant by the outstanding performance of Sheila Keith as the lead character Dorothy Yates.

Almost entirely unknown outside of those interested in Pete Walker films (or those that have an intimate knowledge of the bit parts in Britsh sitcoms that she otherwise filled), Sheila Keith is an absolute revelation. She manages to convey the most terrifying screen presence as the apprently kind old lady Mrs.Yates, whose mood can turn on a sixpence to become a vindictive maniacal killer. The most chilling moments are not when she has the drill (these scenes are in fact wholly unnecessary) but when she performs tarot readings aside a cup of tea and a chintzy tablecloth. You may now ask yourself, "Can a performance really be so very chilling? From a 1970's cheapie?" The answer I can assure you is, "Yes."

Not by accident is Sheila Keith venerated by those few who have seen Pete Walker's films, not by accident was she chosen to reprise this role in the parody 'Dr.Terrible's House of Horrible': hers is indeed a remarkable performance. You will have to wade through some muddy colour and some gore to get to it, but don't count yourself as a horror film fan until you have.
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on 2 August 2012
This film had me and my then girlfriend scared out of our wits at the cinema back in the 70s. I had to buy it when i found out it was available on dvd. I have to say i thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this classic horror film. No fancy special affects in this one, just a spine chilling plot mixed in with some blood and guts and some fantastic character acting from the cast. This is Pete Walkers best film, no wonder we were both petrified back then.
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on 14 June 2014
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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on 30 May 2011
As a fan of early 70s British horror I had high expectations and this certainly filled all my graves of deathly infatuation.
The characters are well drawn and develop well through a darkly suspensful and well told storyline. You are genuinly fascinated in the relationship dynamics of the elderly couple and have sympathy for their elder daughter. I especially like the way the film has a depth that constantly questions your responses to each character. You feel thrust into the role of an investigator into its dark heart as opposed to the usual passive voyeurism. The sanity of all characters is in constant question, not just the woman released from hospital.....
The atmosphere created by the script and photography is superb. I find returning to a past era usually helps to evoke a haunting feel anyway but, besides this, tension is carefully built and plotted throughout, culminating in an effective and satisfying closing pay off scene.
Overall this certainly does not disappoint. Its one of those quirky understated horrors that quietly lodges into your brain long after the lights are out and occasionally nudges your unconscious.

Why can't the endless torture and set piece obsession of modern day horror learn from movies like this?
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on 24 March 2013
very good horror film strange and scary never watch it alone its really good and shaken and frighting as well
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on 1 December 2009
The movie starts with a flashback to 1957 where we see a young,just proir to fawlty towers,Andrew Sachs visiting a trailer in an out of season theme park.Then we see a courtroom and a judge sentencing a married couple to years in an institution,for murder,until they are cured.It moves to present day(1974)and into the city to find a young girl in a night club and the cycle begins again.I do not want to spoil this for anyone ,so i wont say much more than this is a genuinely creepy and horrific movie.It has brilliant performances from,Pete Walker regular,Sheila Keith and,the always reliable,Rupert Davies(TVs Maigret,Witchfinder general,Dracula has risen from his grave,Waterloo).There are some extras namely a commentary by director,Pete Walker,and his regular cameraman,Peter Jessop,a Pete Walker trailer gallery and a poster gallery. As i have only recently seen this movie for the first time i cant really comment on whether it is a cut or uncut version but during the commentary the director mentions that it was cut by the censors before the public had seen it.It still was violent enough for its purpose.A surprising gem.
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on 19 April 2011
superb cast, great story made by the low budget franchises that made British makers promote talent above effects, style above salaciousness.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 October 2013
Frightmare is directed by Pete Walker who also co-writes the screenplay with David McGillivray. It stars Rupert Davies, Shelia Keith, Deborah Fairfax, Paul Greenwood and Kim Butcher. Music is by Stanley Myers and cinematography by Peter Jessop.

Edmund and Dorothy Yates are freed after fifteen years in an asylum, committed for despicable crimes, but is Dorothy cured? And what of their daughters?

Frightmare is what it is, a British exploitation horror made at a time when it was out to get the best rise out of the audience. As much as Pete Walker's fans don't want to believe it, there is no social comment being made, no hidden agenda or attempts to push the boundaries of British horror in visual or thematic achievements. Walker, a very likable and honest man, even says his films are not for deep cranial pondering, he couldn't believe his luck that he got to throw blood and guts about and got paid for it.

Frightmare is a thinly plotted and written picture that serves only to bask in some shock and awe scenes. The ineptitude of the mental health authorities is given a cursory glance, but really the picture plods from one scene to the next waiting for Dorothy to get busy with her tool kit. It's there, with the wonderfully scary Keith doing her stuff, where Walker excels. Though in today's desensitised age it's more fun than frightening, while there's actually not as much gore on show as you would think. It's all very basic in truth, but Walker achieved his aims back then, and kudos to him for serving up a truly bleak finale. 5/10
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on 8 July 2013
I've been a horror fan ever since watching the BBC's horror movie double bills that were first broadcast in the late 1970s. Surprisingly, I had never seen Frightmare until quite recently, and that was via the Odeon DVD. I don't recall this film ever being shown on TV, when I was young. Whether this had something to do with its subject matter, I don't know. It's a good film, if you enjoy old-fashioned British horror from the 70s. There's not that much blood and gore despite the film's grisly reputation, and what there is, is a bit tame by today's standards. The film is fully uncut. One of the main reasons I enjoy Frightmare is because of Sheila Keith's chilling performance as the deranged, cannibalistic granny depicted on the film's original cinema poster. I'd definitely recommend it for fans of horror from the likes of Hammer and Amicus.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 March 2012
Pete Walker's 'Frightmare' is a gloriously gory mix of psychopathic and cannibalistic killings and pretty English cottages, all topped with all those naff '70's fashions, haircuts and British cars.

Walker regular Sheila Keith is the woman sent to an asylum fifteen years ago, along with her abetting husband. He's helpless when her cravings come back and assumed cured, she now reads tarot cards. Their daughter gets romantically involved with a young psychiatrist and when her younger, adopted sister starts going off the rails, the young doctor naturally wants to help.

She's actually helping find feeding matter - and their brains - for her step mother. And step mother uses an array of everyday tools and appliances to get to her subject's gooey juicy bits. Electric drills, pitchforks, you name it. There's plenty of reasonable looking blood at the right times and some great make up effects of everyday folk with half their heads missing.

Now, nearly forty years on it's more a chiller than a screamer but very effective nonetheless and certainly one of the better Brit horror flicks I've seen.
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