What terrifying craving made her kill... and kill... and kill...

Horror Thriller
88 min     6.3     1974     United Kingdom


In 1957, Dorothy and Edmund Yates were committed to an institution for the criminally insane, she for acts of murder and cannibalism and he for covering up her crimes. Fifteen years later, they are pronounced fit for society and released. However, in Dorothy's case the doctors may have jumped the gun a bit. Edmund and eldest daughter, Jackie, try to discover just how far Mother's bloodlust has taken her. Meanwhile, youngest daughter Debbie begins to explore the crazy roots of her family tree as fully as possible.


John Chard wrote:
Ghastly, Ghoulish, Grotty & Gory. Frightmare is directed by Pete Walker who also co-writes the screenplay with David McGillivray. It stars Rupert Davies, Shelia Keith, Deborah Fairfax, Paul Greenwood and Kim Butcher. Music is by Stanley Myers and cinematography by Peter Jessop. Edmund and Dorothy Yates are freed after fifteen years in an asylum, committed for despicable crimes, but is Dorothy cured? And what of their daughters? Frightmare is what it is, a British exploitation horror made at a time when it was out to get the best rise out of the audience. As much as Pete Walker’s fans don’t want to believe it, there is no social comment being made, no hidden agenda or attempts to push the boundaries of British horror in visual or thematic achievements. Walker, a very likable and honest man, even says his films are not for deep cranial pondering, he couldn’t believe his luck that he got to throw blood and guts about and got paid for it. Frightmare is a thinly plotted and written picture that serves only to bask in some shock and awe scenes. The ineptitude of the mental health authorities is given a cursory glance, but really the picture plods from one scene to the next waiting for Dorothy to get busy with her tool kit. It’s there, with the wonderfully scary Keith doing her stuff, where Walker excels. Though in today’s desensitised age it’s more fun than frightening, while there’s actually not as much gore on show as you would think. It’s all very basic in truth, but Walker achieved his aims back then, and kudos to him for serving up a truly bleak finale. 5/10