Saturday, October 25, 2014

Scream of Fear (1961)

Who's In It: Susan Strasberg (Picnic), Ann Todd (The Paradine Case), and Christopher Lee (Horror of Dracula, The Curse of Frankenstein).

What It's About: A disabled woman named Penny (Strasberg) goes to stay with her father and step-mother (Todd) after her caregiver dies. But though Step-Mom claims that Dad is out of town, Penny keeps seeing his dead body around the estate.

How It Is: Scream of Fear would almost be more thriller than horror, but the reappearing body is pretty darn scary. That's partly because you never know when it's going to turn up, but partly because Fred Johnson just looks very creepy as a corpse.

If it's weren't for that element, the movie would go neatly into the sub-genre of psychological thrillers where the protagonist questions whether she's actually going insane or if someone just wants her to think she is. It's a really good one though, filled with great twists and turns and a fun appearance by Christopher Lee as a sinister doctor who keeps turning up at the estate as a guest. Don't want to say too much, but I highly recommend this one and the less you know going into it the better.

Rating: Four out of five paraplegic people in peril.


Paxton said...

Surprised you didn't mention that this was a Hammer film. Interestingly enough, I just got this from Netflix. It came with the movie I really wanted, The Gorgon. I haven't watched either yet.

It just sounds funny that a dead body keeps popping up. Like I expect her to walk into the kitchen and see it propped up eating a piece of toast. Or she goes into the bedroom, and it's sitting in bed reading The Wall Street Journal. With a pipe.

The poster and copy on the poster is very Psycho-ish with the five color format and "You Must See This From the Beginning!" Not surprising since the Hitchcock film came out the year before.

Michael May said...

Ooh! I love The Gorgon! What a fun double feature.

And I also love your idea for tweaking it. It's Scream of Fear meets Weekend at Bernies. :)


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