Frightmare – UK, 1974



Frightmare is a 1974 British horror film directed by Pete Walker and written by Pete Walker and David McGillivray (House of WhipcordSatan’s Slave).


The movie stars Rupert Davies, Sheila Keith. Deborah Fairfax, Paul Greenwood, Kim Butcher, Fiona Curzon, Jon Yule, Tricia Mortimer, Leo Genn (Die Screaming Marianne), Gerald Flood. Andrew Sachs, also in Walker’s House of Mortal Sin, has a minor role.


In an isolated farmhouse, a woman named Dorothy Yates lives with her husband. Dorothy has just been released from a mental institution after it was found she was a cannibal who killed and partially ate at least six people in 1957. Her husband, Edmund Yates was convicted as well but we come to find out that he only faked his dementia in order to remain with his wife. He was a truly devoted husband who loved his wife dearly but really had nothing to do with the actual murders in 1957 and in the present.

1974: It seems as if Dorothy has had a severe relapse. She secretly lures lonely young people to her Haslemere, Surrey home, promising tea and a tarot card reading, only with the session ending with a violent murder and “feast”…


Redemption/Kino Lorber Blu-ray Special Features:

  • “For the Sake of Cannibalism,” an interview with Pete Walker, by Elijah Drenner
  • Audio commentary by director Pete Walker and DP Peter Jessop, conducted by Steve Chibnall, author of Making Mischief: The Cult Films of Pete Walker
  • “Sheila Keith: A Nice Old Lady?” a profile of the late actress, featuring interviews with her former collaborators
  • Original theatrical trailer

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‘Though Frightmare remains Walker’s best-known work, it is arguably not his finest. The pacing is uneven; while the scenes dealing with the main thrust of the narrative are handled with confidence and conviction, there is some padding along the way that detracts from the overall effect. True, the central image of bloodthirsty Sheila Keith is unstoppable, yet the film never manages to be as disturbing as his later The Confessional.” Eccentric Cinema

Frightmare certainly seems dated and is admittedly a little rough around the edges in places but it still packs a wallop, even today, and comes highly recommended as what is very possibly Walker’s finest film. And, as a final treat, is topped off with an ending which, on first watching might seem a little abrupt, but is in-fact chilling, unexpected and deliciously cruel; which was to become something of a trademark for its director.” Hysteria Lives!


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‘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!’ British Horror Films

“an exceptionally nasty and depressing little movie … One of the first British horror films to match the callousness of the American independents, Frightmare may not be Walker’s best movie, but it remains his most upsetting.” Kim Newman, Nightmare Movies


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Also known as Frightmare IICover Up and Once Upon a Frightmare

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1974 - Frightmare (DVD)

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One Comment on “Frightmare – UK, 1974”

  1. an ad mat posted at the Facebook ‘Psychotronic movies’ group reveals this also played in the states under the title ‘Brainsuckers’ would never have believed it if i hadnt seen the ad!

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