Screamer (1974)

SCREAMER (1974)
Episode of “Thriller”
Article 4493 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-3-2014
Directed by Shaun O’Riordan
Featuring Pamela Franklin, Donal McCann, Frances White
Country: UK
What it is: Thriller

An American woman visiting in England is traumatized by an attack by a serial rapist. After she is released from hospitalization, she sees her attacker, despite the fact that the police claim to have caught him. Is it just her imagination?

The British TV series “Thriller” is very uneven, but this is definitely one of the best episodes I’ve seen from the show. What makes this story intriguing is a plot element that is introduced early in the episode when the woman is hospitalized; she sees the face of her attacker in every man she encounters. As a result, when she starts seeing the attacker after she’s released, we’re never quite sure whether she’s seeing the man himself of someone else with her imagination supplying the face. It’s a clever concept, and this movie-length episode makes very good use of it throughout; though I had a good guess as to what the final revelations would be (and I turned out to be right), the suspense of not being really sure was quite palpable. The story involves a descent into madness, and that’s where it veers into horror. This one is very well done, and features a wonderful performance by Pamela Franklin.

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