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on 17 September 2010
Dan(Warren May) an inmate of a high security unit in a psychiactric hospital, escapes and finds himself at Skare Valley Country Club. He meets the club manager Martha Tennant(Judith Holding) who promises him shelter for a while until it is safe to move on. All she asks in return is that he carries out a few jobs around the house. Oh and drink her nutritious health drinks every day along with partaking in a vigourous exercise regime. At first Dan is content but soon he becomes discontented with his almost prison like existance. Another question that needs answering is just what is the secret ingredient in Martha's meat sauce, and why do so many people dissapear in the vicinity of Skare Valley?.....
I hadn't heard of Michael J. Murphy until I read about his no-budget efforts on the wonderful British Horror Film Forum. This site champions neglected British horror films and those who direct it, Murphy being one such director. I had seen another film by him a few years back called 'Torment' but hadn't realised he had directed other British horrors. I did manage to aquire a poor copy of another of his films 'Invitation To Hell', a film that really epitomises the term low budget horror. Now the good people at Sarcophilous Films have given official releases to this film and Invitation To Hell, both releases crammed full of extras and lovingly presented.
Those coming to this film expecting another Invitation To Hell will be surprised as the production values on show here are much higher. The acting is generally much better too. Skare is a film that Murphy had already made once, but having 90% of the original film lost in the post, Murphy was forced to abandon the release of the original film. A few years on and Murphy was toying with the idea of making a ghost story when he decided that the cast he had lined up would be perfect for a remake of Skare. So there we have it.
Skare is a sort of cross between Lady Chatterley's Lover and Pete Walker's Frightmare. The images on the dvd sleeve imply a very gory affair, but when watching it it comes across a quite restrained, much of the blood shedding taking place off screen. The plot is quite slight, but grimly fascinating all the same. The acting honours go to Judith Holding who is in perfect eye rolling mode as Mad Martha. Warren May, a sort of cut price Shane Ritchie, is also pretty good as the tormented Dan. Interestingly, the horror films Martha is seen watching on television are scenes from the original Skare and another Murphy horror called Moonchild.
Whilst it is undoubtably exploitation film in its rawest form, I think that we should celebrate great British eccentrics such as Murphy, as he is a true auteur of British horror film making and his enthusiasm is catching.
So a real find, rescued from obscurity and lovingly presented by Sarcophilous Films. Do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy whilst it is still available. 5 out of 5 for an excellent release.
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