This weeks Spotlight is from the British director Pete Walker. One of the leading horror director in Britain. Critics at the time often panned his films for there violence, nudity and views on politics and religion. Over the years fans have rediscovered Walkers films, now that alot of his back catalog as been released on DVD and hopefully soon on Blu Ray. His films are now cult classics and in my mind must viewing for any serious gore/splatter film. But unlike some mindless blood soaked fair, Walker actually has something to say, in his own dark twisted way without coming off as preachy or heavy handed. We are going to be looking at "Frightmare" the 1974 shocker. While I am only reviewing this film, I totally recommend seeing as many of his films as you can.
Walker Bio: Born in 1939 and started out by making sexploitation film such as Strip Poker and School for Sex. Filmmakers soon knew that nudies just didnt "cut" it and that adding some red really brought in the green. So Walker began and gave us some good splatter classics. His first attempt at a thriller was "Die Screaming Marianne. Die Screaming. Not a fan favor it does showcase the directors style flare for the sleazy and macabe and sets up many recurring themes. It wasn't til House of Whipcord and Frightmare that really brought him into the horror genre and made a fan out of not only yours ghoulie but many others. In the late seventies Walker was hired to direct the film "A Star is Dead" about punk legends The Sex Pistols but sadly it was never filmed. After all these years Pete Walker has remained a sense of humor about himself and his films, famously quoted as saying 'All I wanted to do was create a bit of mischief" like myself and other fans he did more then just create mischief, he brought us into his dark and at times humorous world, showing us a different side of horror and most importantly keeping us entertained.
Biting dark sense of humor.
Corrupt Court system/Prison system
Gore and lots of it!!
Use of the wonderful Sheila Keith
The same year that Leatherface buzzed his way through American theaters and drive ins another cannibal family was stepping up to the human buffet. Across the pond Pete Walker cooked up a people eating stew of his own, and while maybe not as well known as TCM it is still a great thrill ride that will make you think twice when you vist dear old grandma.
Frightmare sets a great tone that is drenched in dread and the whole film is like a walking nightmare one never awakens from. The writing is tight and very rarely is there a issue in the pacing. As with most of his films there is a delightfully wicked sense of humor which makes the film alot of fun. Like any great film, its a build to a shocking ending that will leave you but creeped out and wanting more!
The cast is aptly acted by the entire cast. Rupert Davis is great as Dorthy`s husband. But of course the stand out performance is Shelia Keith. She is amazingly creepy and really takes the film to a whole other level of horror. Her character is just as disturbing as Lecter or Leatherface. Walker was very wise in casting her not only in this film but she also has a juicy role in House of Whipcord. She might leave some scenary chewed but I think that it really works in this films favor.
Unlike alot of the films from this decade the gore effects are very well done, and at times just down right gross. This due in part to George Partleton who did the makeup and worked on other Walker films such as The Confessional and Schizo .He also had worked with the legend himself Stanley Kubrick, working on the makeup for Lolita and A Clockwork Orange. This is seriously a must see for anyone interested in gore films. If you don't like this movie then you shouldn't be reading this blog-end of story. Easily the best of the Walker splatter films and for me ranks up there in my top all time favorite movies. If your looking for a film with some meat on its bones then look no further.This is one cannibal family you`ll want to revisit and leave you coming back for seconds .Just hide the drill grandma looks hungry.
HEY: Special Shout out goes to Domain of Horror Blog
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