Saturday, April 9, 2016

Frightmare (1974)

Don't you dare confuse this with Frightmare, Frightmare, or Frightmare, you little nerd.


This is a Pete Walker film, the first I've ever seen.  Pete Walker was apparently Britain's answer to the burgeoning horror sleaze that got pumped into grindhouses back in the seventies.  Watching this film, it's easy to see the resemblance.  It's a straightforward story of a pair who are arraigned for horrific crimes back in the black & white days.  Fast foward to the art-deco disco seventies and delinquents kiss before beating up bartenders.


This is one of the delinquents, teen Debbie, which the film takes great care to present in states of angry undress.  Her sister, Jackie, keeps sneaking out late at night with parcels that drip blood.  What's happening?


Well, their mom's a lunatic, as the film takes no care to conceal.  There's a pretty nice nightmare sequence on a train that lays it all out for you.


For a horror movie, this spends a lot of time in lower gear.  We focus a lot on the sisterly animosity of Debbie and Jackie, and the film devotes a lot of scenes to Crazy Mom and her put-upon husband.  Mechanically, it's very solid, as you can tell from the screenshots.  All the lighting is on fleek and the tight white shirt game is solid.


So, anyway, Jackie starts sort of dating a psychologist and they go see Marco Ferrari movies! Heart icon! And this Romeo and Juliet tale between reps of mental health and psycho cannibalism ends as well as one might expect.


I dunno, this was okay.  Only two plot points were remotely surprising and otherwise it just seemed rather standard.  Stylistically, this was engaging at times, but the structure and safe storytelling reminded me of Friday the 13th or something.    


**3/4

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