Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


NIGHTMARE (1964). Director: Freddie Francis. Produced and written by Jimmy Sangster.

"You may have been all kinds of a gay boy before, but now you're married to me!"

Janet (Jennie Linden) is a screwed up teenager who saw her deranged mother stab her father to death. She has always been afraid that her mother's psychosis is hereditary, and she may be right. Returning home from school to the family manor, she is welcomed by her guardian, Henry Baxter (David Knight), and her companion, Grace Maddox (Moira Redmond of Doctor in Love). Janet has intense and realistic dreams in which she is tormented by a weird, scarred woman who is utterly silent and menacing. Then one afternoon she sees this same woman while awake ... The main twist of the film occurs halfway through the movie and isn't that much of a surprise [and probably wasn't meant to be], but the second half still sustains a modicum of suspense. This is another of the British thrillers made in the wake of Psycho [both post-Psycho and sub-Psycho], and it's reasonably entertaining if ultimately forgettable. There are couple of somewhat energetic stabbing sequences [neither in the shower, thank goodness]. The performances from all are quite good, with Redmond chewing the scenery in dramatic fashion [only over-acting on occasion] and Knight a bit more suave and restrained. There's an awful lot of hysterical screeching throughout. From Hammer studios.

Verdict: Like a lengthy Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode. **1/2.

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