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

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Beverly Garland and Skip Homeier
STARK FEAR (1962). Director: Ned Hockman.

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. ***.


angelman66 said...

Beverly Garland! I only knew her as the stepmother on My Three Sons, and lately I have been seeing her pop up in all kinds of interesting roles. I'll put this one on my list!

William said...

Garland was a very gifted actress who always gave 100% no matter what kind of crap they put her in. She had a sort of "A" movie supporting role in "Pretty Poison" with Tony Perkins, and played the mother on "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." A successful career by any standard even if she never quite made it to the front lines, so to speak.