Frightmare (1974)

Article #1188 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-15-2004
Posting Date: 11-12-2004
Directed by Pete Walker
Featuring Rupert Davies, Sheila Keith, Deborah Fairfax

A woman tries to bring up her younger sister without telling her of her parents, who were committed to an asylum many years ago for acts of cannibalism. Unfortunately, her parents have been recently released…

The seventies were not a time for the meek horror fan; the permissiveness of the sixties combined with a disturbing nihilism to produce some truly unpleasant horror movies. During 1974, audiences in the States would contend with Tobe Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE while British audiences were given FRIGHTMARE, both movies about families of cannibals. In a sense, the movies would make interesting companions. TTCM was a low-budget independent film which places us among the victims in their attempt to deal with a family of ferocious monsters. This one is much more professionally made, and it unsettles you by allowing you to spend a lot of time with the cannibalistic family itself, and these are people you don’t want to spend a great deal of time with. It’s not quite as effective as the Tobe Hooper movie; it’s a lot more predictable, for one thing, and some of the shocking revelations aren’t exactly surprising, as the shocks are somewhat telegraphed. Still, it has its moments, though it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Incidentally, when this movie was released on video, it had to contend with the fact that another movie had been made in 1980 with the title FRIGHTMARE. Their solution? They released this one as FRIGHTMARE II. Talk about a confusing way to avoid confusion.


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