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The Comeback (1977)

Films about made-up music stars rarely work, mainly because of the shockingly poor choice of songs used within them. The Comeback is no exception - even with the inclusion of a bona fide pop star (well, Jack Jones anyway).

As the crappy crooner groans his way through the tortuously bad easy listening songs on the soundtrack, only one thing is apparent - this Comeback is going to be about as successful as *insert name of star who has recently failed to make a comeback (the bastards keep successfully doing it, making a mockery of my lame attempts at music biz based satire)*.

The same could probably have been said of Jones' own career, if he was hoping that this Pete Walker sleaze-athon was going to resurrect it in the real world, too.

But awful muzak aside (it does add a certain crappy charm to an already charmingly crappy film), there is much to recommend The Comeback.

Walker cranks up the suspense in the opening murder - you know the girl's going to get it, the question is, how many times can she wander backwards and forwards in the seemingly empty apartment before it happens? And when it does happen, it's swift, brutal and scary, with limbs and gore flying all over the shop. Most terrifying of all, her attacker appears to be a squealing, fright-masked transvestite weilding a big scythe.

Meanwhile, Jones' character is heading back to Britain, to re-start a music career curtailed seven years ago by his marriage to the woman whose hacked-up remains are even now beginning to fester in their old apartment.

His agent - fantastically - is Bosley from the original Charlie's Angels. Yes, we're dealing with serious class here. And for an agent he's not a particularly friendly guy - which could explain why Jones is finding it so hard to find any gigs.

Anyway, Jones finds that rather than go back to the apartment (where things are getting distinctly whiffy), his agent has organised a stay in an old country mansion. Here's where the fun begins - the house is being looked after by none other than Walker stalwart Sheila Keith (awesome as always) and her husband Bill Owen (yes, Compo from Last Of The Summer Wine, no less), who has a strange habit of talking to trees, Clint Eastwood-style.

Jones has also immediately shacked up with a very young Pamela Stephenson, promising much in the naked busty bird stakes (see pretty much every other Walker film for more details), but in fact delivering very little (boo!).

However, a slightly more terrifying nudity threatens to raise it's ugly head at several points of the film, when, night after night, Jones is woken from his slumbers by ghostly screaming and crying, and leaps from his bed - each time revealing slightly more naked thigh than the last time. Luckily, we never quite get to see Jack Jones' jiggling johnson.

As the poor unfortunate in the apartment continues to go downhill (this must be the fastest decomposition in the history of film), there's assorted near-discoveries of the fly/maggot/rat eaten cadaver by assorted extras, as Jones gets driven near-insane by the ghostly rumblings.

Things move towards a typically histrionic climax, with Jones finding out exactly who wants him dead and why, a shit-your-pants entrance into the kitchen by the murderer, no nudity from Ms Stephenson and an unexplored plot strand when Bosley, for no reason at all, is seen making himself up as a woman and crying. Top stuff.

Director: Pete Walker Writer(s): Murray Smith

Cast: Jack Jones - Nick Cooper, Pamela Stephenson - Linda Everett, David Doyle - Webster Jones, Bill Owen - Mr. B, Sheila Keith - Mrs. B, Holly Palance - Gail Cooper, Peter Turner - Harry, Richard Johnson - Macauley, Patrick Brock - Dr. Paulsen, June Chadwick - Nurse, Penny Irving - Girl Singer, Jeff Silk - Police Officer

Last updated: February 17, 2010

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Penny Irving - hardly in this film, but still worthy of a photo

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