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on 23 March 2005
The fourth and best of Anchor Bay's coffin-boxed collections of British Horror movies, the Pete Walker collection succeeds if nothing else because the quality of the films is consistently better than its predecessors.
Pick of the bunch is Frightmare, a darkly comic story of care in the community and cannibalism in the Home Counties with Walker regular Sheila Keith on top form serving tea in bone china the one moment and then proving that the maxim "you'll have someone's eye out with that" really is appropriate when it comes to pitchforks and power drills. Also excellent is the luridly titled House of Whipcord, which is a loopy cross between Kafka and Caged Heat and features a villain who bares an uncanny resemblance to Camilla Parker Bowles. House of Mortal Sin features - gleefully - a psychopathic catholic priest who dispatches sinners personally while his one-eyed housekeeper (Keith, again) looks on with raised eyebrow.
Of the rest, both Die Screaming Marianne and The Comeback are entertaining and well made, although they lack the devious wit of the set's best, they're still considerably better than many examples of the genre.
The extras are excellent and plentiful, with Walker contributing sprightly commentaries to each film, plus a handful of other interesting trailers and featurettes (including a welcome tribute to the late Keith).
Don't be put off by the fact that the cover-art looks a bit like David Dickinson wielding a power tool, this is a cracking collection and a bargain at the price.
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on 3 December 2012
This is an review of the blu-ray collectyion.

Four disc collection in a single keepcase with outer slipcase.

Die Screaming Marianne is a well made thriller with Susan George looking typically lovely. Film is very British and a little old fashioned but still fairly gripping.

House Of Whipcord is a very low budget version of Women In Prison films where a young woman is imprisoned in the country by puritanical matrons who punish sinners. Some nudity and whipping etc and feels like an extended episode of Hammer House Of Horror.

The Comeback mixes musical and horror in a similar way to Phantom Of The Paradise. It's not great but has its moments and a young Pamela Stephenson looks hot in it.

Schizo is the goriest film here and has Stephanie Beacham in the cast. Good British dialogue and quirky characters in a tale of a woman who is being stalked by a figure from her mysterious past.

Pete Walker's films were made independently on low budgets so there are flaws such as sloppy editing and occasional bad acting. But they are charming and very much of their time. The music is always good and the terror scenes are always tense.

All the films look their best on blu-ray (1080/16X9/Uncut) with strong colour and detail. Odd scratches are on the prints but overall they are clean. There is heavy grain and softness in bits of Schizo but other scenes in it are remarkably clear. Audio is always clear.

Extras are Walker commentary tracks for all films except Schizo, trailers and interviews with Walker.

The discs are region A (America).
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 July 2009
Top notch collection of films by British exploitation director Pete Walker. Pete Walker enjoyed making films that shocked and offended the sensibilities of cinema goers, especially the self appointed moral guardians of our viewing habits, the campaigners and advocates of censorship.
To those ends he made a number of quite shocking, at the time, and very good films including some of his more notorious horrors which are contained in this boxset.
The first film 'Die Screaming Marianne' (his most troubled production apparently) is quite a gentle introduction of what is to come. A tale of greed, family dysfunction, murder and treachery! Set partly in the UK and partly in the Algarve it hints at incestuous liasons without actually depicting it and involves Susan George (Marianne) who is due to inherit her late mothers estate including documents which could spell the end for her corrupt judge father. A good atmospheric film with a really good 70's vibe to it.
Interestingly Walker says he believed the part of Marianne was not really suited to Susan George but nonetheless she got the part of 'Amy' in 'Straw Dogs' off the back of it.
Next is 'House of Whipcord' a film about a private prison established and run by an insane elderly ex-judge and his sadistic cohort of female guards to punish, correct and dispose of female moral transgressors (wayward women). Walker states that the only way he believed it possible to depict this sado-masochistic environment of floggings, punishment and hangings without his film being banned was to set it within the context of a prison type institution. Regardless of the fetishistic imagery and nature of the film it is in itself a very dark and very good horror. Very good characterisation and acting including Sheila Keith as a sadistic prison guard.
The next film is 'Frightmare' the best film in this set in my opinion. A couple (with 2 daughters) are released from an asylum 'for the criminally insane' after 15 years or so. A brilliant performance by Sheila Keith as the wife and mother of the aforementioned twosome. An interesting sub plot unfolds concerning two sisters and daughters of this couple. Has mother been 'cured' of her cannibalistic murderous ways? What are those strange looking bloody packages wrapped neatly for mother? What is mothers fascination with cordless power drills? Splendid stuff.
Next is 'House of Mortal Sin' I really liked this one as well and actually prefered it to HOW. An insane priests repressed sexual desires leads him to commit various slayings Catholic style. Sheila Keith appears again, as a gestapo type housekeeper who enjoys a bit of sadism as well (It's time for the last rites!) Walker originally approached Peter Cushing to play the priest but he was busy. Anthony Sharp really seemed perfect for the part anyhow.
The last film is 'The Comeback' which is also quite good but never reaches the height of the previous three. An American singer is staging a comeback in the UK and there follow a number of, actually quite scary, slayings connected to him. Sheila Keith is in this again but without having quite the same presence as her other outings.
Shocking back in the 70's, maybe not so shocking anymore, but still visually powerful. A good range of stories allbeit with a running theme, a good amount of gore and killings for horror fans and great casting.
There are many worthy extras, the commentaries I have heard are great, very entertaining and there are nice short documentaries on Pete Walker and Sheila Keith.
I don't give many 5 stars, maybe too few and I may not even have awarded individually any of these films five but as a complete package it is very deserving of that. If this boxset is hard to come by it is definately worth tracking down at least some of these films individually. Try 'Frightmare' at least if you think it may be your 'cup of tea'
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on 13 April 2005
It's about time the films of Pete Walker were given this sort of attention - this box set, adorned with artwork last seen on the original FRIGHTMARE UK cinema release poster (I'm old enough to remember) is a must - the films within are a grimy, sleazy delight which make a welcome change to predictable Hollywood gloss. Besides the five movies (count 'em, five - what value!) the box set also includes some insightful extras, which strangely aren't mentioned on the packaging. I found these to be highly informative, and it was fantastic to see Pete Walker's contribution. The Sheila Keith (RIP) featurette almost had me in tears. Very touching - nice one Anchor Bay!
We want more coffin sets. Ane we want them NOW!
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on 20 August 2008
!!!WARNING! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!!
Well, what can one say apart from well done Anchor Bay for releasing this excellent collection of DVD's showcasing the talents of Pete Walker. Its long overdue that these classic 70's Brit horrors got a proper release, but better late than never.
Just to run through the films in the set quickly-
Die Screaming Marianne- A competant enough thriller, if a bit slow moving at times, with a brilliant title sequence. Enjoyable but a minor effort compared to the other films available here. 6 out of 10
Frightmare- The grimest of the bunch, an everyday story of Cannibalism in the countryside, with two wonderful performances by Walker regular Sheila Keith as the deranged Dorothy Yates, and Rupert Davies as her weak but devoted husband. The film has a tremendous visceral power, and can still shock after all these years. 9 out of 10
House Of Whipcord- The best of the films in my opinion, this is an uncompromising satire on the 'hang and flog 'em' brigade with its sarcastic opening comment dedicating the film to those who 'eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment'.
The story concerns a disused jail where a disgraged Prison Warden and her senile husband who is a retired judge are meting out punishments to those they believe have not been punished harshly enough by what they consider to be a too liberal justice system. They are aided and abetted by two sadistic prison guards, and their machosistic son who ensnares the victims. Brutal and uncomprimising, the horror on show here is of a psychological nature, with another wonderful performance by Sheila Keith, who is frightening as the sadistic Walker. A brilliant film. 10 out of 10
House Of Mortal Sin- A glossy and very bloody slice of horror, concerning the demented priest Xavier Meldrum, who is blackmailing and murdering his way through the local congregation. There is also a subplot involving the treatment of Meldrum's feeble, mute mother( who he uses as his own cofessional) by his sadistic housekeeper Miss Brabazon. The ending is as bleak and as uncormfortable as the one in 'Frightmare' and all the better for it. Another winner 81/2 out of 10
The Comeback- The final film in this set is the tale of a singer played by Jack Jones, whose attempts at a musical comeback are hindered by strange happenings, and punctuated by the vicious murders of those closest to him. Luckily he has the people in the house he is staying at, for support. Or does he? Another excellent film, with a clever, twisted resolution. 8 out of 10

So a wonderful box set all in all. I would recommend watching it in one go and getting a real feel of Walker's wonderful inventory. I really started to understand what an important figure he was within the field of British Horror films. If you would like to explore more of Walker's horror output, why not try either Schizo or The Flesh and Blood Show, both lesser efforts, but entertaing all the same
Oh, theres some great extras on each disc too. A wonderful buy, at a wonderful price
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on 10 September 2012
Whilst the Amicus set and the Tigon sets were filled with 'fun' horror films this set with the films of Pete Walker are choc a block with nasty, ghoulish stuff from the 1970's.
Grim and sleazy (which is not a bad thing) the set comes with 5 films all pretty good.
"The Comeback" featuring Jack Jones who plays a singer making a comeback but things start to go very wrong.
"House Of Mortal Sin" - Mad priest killing all sorts of people in all sorts of ways.
"House Of Whipcord" - The best of the bunch.
"Frightmare" - Cannibalism in your local town. Grim but superb.
and
"Die Screaming Marianne" - Probably the weakest of the bunch but still a competent thriller.

A great box set.
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on 2 January 2010
Very pleasantly surprised by the cleaned up discs! Anchor Bay have done a sterling job-especially on 'Frightmare' because the VHS copies were atrocious quality prints. The films? well enough has been said on the individual releases, but for me Frightmare Whipcord and Mortal Sin are undoubtably the superior trio!
Jackie in 'Frightmare': "Wer'e trying to help YOU mother" Dorothy: "You're trying to help me back into that asylum!-that's what you're trying to do!" Highly recommended box-set and five stars from me!
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on 30 July 2012
A worth to buy for anyone who are big horror fans. Pete Walker is one of the underrated British filmmakers of the 70's along with Norman J. Warren. The best of the bunch is Frightmare but I would recommend the other films as well.
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on 9 February 2014
FRIGHTMARE HAS SHELIA IN HER PSYCHO MODE THAT NOONE DOES BETTER.NOW DELETED THIS COFFIN SET IS HARD TO FIND .BUT THE FILMS ARE AVAILABLE IN SINGLE DVDS.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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on 24 December 2015
Fantastic. Exactly as expected. Highly recommended.
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