Sheila Keith, eh? Quite how director Pete Walker decided that such a sweet-looking mumsy type could play the variety of nutters she does in his films is anyone's guess. I'll just put it down to the man's genius.
In Frightmare she's a deranged cannibal granny, who spends much of her time luring people into her home to have their fortunes read. Of course, reading these poor unfortunates' fortunes doesn't take very long at all when "You will be brutally killed and eaten within the next ten minutes" is a dead cert.
Sheila has been released from psychiatric care after being "cured", her unfortunate (and sane) husband being so much in love with her that he had himself committed too to remain close.
Now she's out the killing hasn't stopped, and all her poor hubbie can do is cover it up. Meanwhile her step daughter brings in raw meat in an attempt to satiate her desires, little knowing what's actually going on. Step daughter also looks after Sheila's real daughter, who is displaying signs of following in the family footsteps.
Real daughter eventually finds out the truth about mummy, and the two round on step daughter whilst all the pathetic father can do is stand and watch, horrified Yes, it is that bleak. Much in the same way that House Of Whipcord gives a strict lesson about the dangers of taking the law into your own hands, Frightmare appears to be warning that care in the community doesn't work.
Whether you agree with that stance or not, Frightmare is terrifying stuff. Chuck in the usual trapping of an early 70s low budget film (a bit of nudity, crap teenagers, gratuitous violence) and you've got a film with something for everyone. Just don't watch it if you're feeling depressed already - it might tip you over the edge!
Last updated: February 23, 2010
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