|Beverly Garland and Skip Homeier|
Gerald Winslow (Skip Homeier) is convinced that his wife, Ellen (Beverly Garland of Swamp Women), is carrying on with her boss, Cliff Kane (Kenneth Tobey of Angel Face). At first Ellen can't understand his outraged accusations until she discovers that there has always been bad blood between Gerald and Cliff, and suspects Cliff hired her just to rub Gerald's face in it. Who should she believe? The fact that Gerald calmly stands by and smokes a cigarette while Ellen is raped by a cretin in a cemetery should give you a clue. Stark Fear is more of a twisted marital drama and character study than a thriller, but the script has intriguing aspects and the actors are game. Garland, as usual, gives an especially effective performance even without the usual monsters and demons to play against [It Conquered the World; Not of This Earth]. Homeier and Toby are also good, and there are some vivid performances from a mostly unknown supporting cast. Hannah Stone gives an excellent performance as Ellen's lonely friend, Ruth, who figures in the touching conclusion.While Ellen does seem numb and disturbed after her sexual assault, today more would have been made of the repercussions of such a violent act. The film seems to have been directed by a talented amateur, but whether that was credited director Hockman or star Skip Homeier (as reported by Garland) is open to question.
Verdict: One of Garland's best performances in a movie she apparently hated. ***.