‘A scream is not a scream… unless it’s heard!
The Comeback is a 1977 (released 1978) British horror mystery film directed by Pete Walker (Schizo; Frightmare; House of Whipcord) from a screenplay by Murray Smith. It stars singer Jack Jones, Pamela Stephenson (Bloodbath at the House of Death), Bill Owen, Sheila Keith (Frightmare) and Richard Johnson (Zombie Flesh Eaters; The Haunting).
Walker originally wanted to shoot the film in the US and unsuccessfully approached Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music to play the lead. It has also been released as The Day the Screaming Stopped and Encore.
A once successful American singer, Nick Cooper (Jack Jones), relocates to a country manor in England, leaving L.A. and a failed marriage behind him, to begin work on his career comeback. But instead, he finds himself embroiled in a mystery involving the murder of his ex-wife.
His nights are haunted by strange noises. His ex-wife’s ghost appears and tries to provide clues to her death. Is he going crazy or is something horrifyingly real going on? Harsh reality sets in as the mystery killer begins to emerge from the shadows…
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“This is a well-plotted horror film with outstandingly grisly gore effects. The rotting corpse that figures prominently in the film is chillingly effective. Performances are excellent all around with Doyle and Keith being standouts. As various friends and acquaintances start dropping like flies and his whole world gets scarier and scarier, Jones does a neat reverse woman-in-distress trick.” Horace Cordier, Rock! Shock! Pop!
“Unconvincing is the best word for a plot that has a perfectly respectable middle-aged couple driven to heights of murderous passion and lunacy by the filthy songs and lewd gyrations of a singer played by Jack Jones. Not even its brace of transvestite red herrings can help the story stand on its own feet.” SM, Time Out, June 1978
“A derivative and imitative addition to Pete Walker’s cycle of horror films, which constantly confuses the shock effects of the grotesque and physically horrible with the creation of suspense.” BFI Monthly Film Bulletin, June 1978
“The Comeback offered undemanding entertainment for those with a taste for silly but violent thrillers, and the absurdities of the script are offset by the humour, this time of the deliberate variety.” John Hamilton, X-Cert 2
” …more technically accomplished than his earlier movies, boasting assured direction, tight editing and flashes of fluid camerawork. Swirling together elements of old dark house melodramas with conventions of the gothic psychological thriller, The Comeback is also notable for its stylish gore and murder setpieces, predating the onset of the slasher-movie cycle by a year or so.” James Gracey, Fangoria
“The Comeback has all the cine-literacy of earlier films in his terror cycle but, with the departure of McGillivray as scriptwriter, something has changed. The key to the impact of the earlier films, it now becomes clear, was not so much their use of violence and gore as the transgressiveness of their ideas and themes. The Comeback is awash with blood , but its morality has become as conventionalised as its protagonists.” Steve Chibnall, Making Mischief: The Cult Films of Pete Walker
“Crude exploitation shocker, with no redeeming features in acting, writing or direction. The only conceivable point of interest is why singer Jack Jones should have chosen it for his film debut.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook
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Cast and characters:
- Jack Jones as Nick Cooper
- Pamela Stephenson as Linda Everett
- David Doyle as Webster Jones
- Bill Owen as Mr. B
- Sheila Keith as Mrs. B
- Richard Johnson as Macauley
- Holly Palance as Gail Cooper
- June Chadwick as Nurse
- Penny Irving as Girl Singer
- Peter Turner as Harry
Foxwarren Park Estate, near Cobham, Surrey, England