Frightmare (1974)

86m, 7753 feet, 2364 metres
35mm film, Eastmancolor, 1.37:1 (negative ratio), 1.85:1 (intended ratio)
mono, English

A British horror film directed by Pete Walker.

Plot Summary

Fifteen years after being imprisoned for committing the most horrific crimes of violence, Edmund and Dorothy Yates are freed back into the community. But despite Edmund's best efforts, Dorothy's cannibalistic tendencies start to return and she's soon committing horrendous murders again. Meanwhile, their daughter Debbie and stepdaughter Jackie are starting to be drawn into their strange and violent world and one of both of them may have inherited Dorothy's taste for human flesh…


Directed by: Pete Walker
© MCMLXXIV [1974] Peter Walker (Heritage) Ltd
Production Companies: A Pete Walker production. Produced entirely on location in England by Peter Walker (Heritage) Ltd.
Executive Producer: Tony Tenser
Produced by: Pete Walker
Production Manager: Robert Fennell
Screenplay by: David McGillivray
From an original story by: Pete Walker
1st Ass't Director: Brian Lawrence
2nd Ass't Director: James Hamilton
Photographed by: Peter Jessop
Camera Operator: Peter Sinclair
Follow Focus: John Metcalfe
Gaffer: Jim Davis
Edited by: Robert Dearberg
Post Production Supervisor: Matt McCarthy
Eastman Color Processing by: Kay Laboratories Ltd.
Music Composed and Conducted by: Stanley Myers
Sound Recordist: Peter O'Connor
Boom Operator: Robert Edwards
Dubbing Mixer: Tony Anscombe
Recorded at: Cinelingual Sound Studios Ltd.
Make-Up Supervision: George Partleton
Art Direction: Chris Burke
Production Secretary: Leigh Taylor

Rupert Davies (Edmund Yates)
Sheila Keith (Dorothy Yates)
Deborah Fairfax (Jackie Yates)
Paul Greenwood (Graham Hallett)
Kim Butcher (Debbie Yates)
Fiona Curzon (Merle)
Noel Johnson (the judge)
Jon Yule (Robin)
Michael Sharvell-Martin (barman)
Tricia Mortimer (Lillian)
Tommy Wright (nightclub manager)
Pamela Farbrother (Delia)
Andrew Sachs (Barry Nichols)
Edward Kalinski (Alec)
Sue Shaper (female guest)
Victor Winding (detective inspector)
Nicholas John (Pete)
Leo Genn (Dr Lytell)
Gerald Flood (Matthew Laurence)
Anthony Hennessy (detective sergeant)
Jack Dagmar (old man)

Alternative Titles

Frightmare II – US video title
Nero criminale – le belve sono tra noi – Italian title
Once Upon a Frightmare
Smak på människokött – Swedish title
Terror sin habla – Spanish title


CinemaTV Today no.10113 (14 December 1974) p.21
This time Pete Walker goes the whole hog with his visual horrors and neglects the manic humour that would have made the grisly bits more palatable. The story line is subordinated to the shock effects; with the characters going in a limbo of incidents without a strong plot to hold them together, there is no build-up of suspense. Sickening rather than joyously sick, it smacks of scaremongering propaganda against the release of mental patients diagnosed as cured. – from a review (The New Films) by Marjorie Bilbow

Films and Filming vol.21 no.6 (March 1975) pp.38-39
With Frightmare, Pete Walker has as last come of cinematic age, showing himself the master of his chosen medium and fulfilling the promise of House of Whipcord. This second exercise in horror (and a third is on the way) has few of the gaucheries which were still resident in Whipcord, and although Frightmare‘s overall atmosphere is somewhat less sustained than its predecessor's, this works even better for the shock moments which are scattered throughout its plot. […] The main reason […] for my enthusiasm for Walker's horror exercises so far is that he is one of the few directors today who is concerned with shocking, rather than tickling, his audiences. The gutless attempts by Hammer and Amicus have led to a confusion of horror with fantasy, and over the past few years the number of true works in this field have been few and far between. Frightmare‘s shocks are genuinely grisly, and Walker has learnt when, and when not to dwell on the horrenda. Here, rather than in tepid dinner party exchanges, he is in his element. Hokum, then, but with muscle. – from an illustrated review by Derek Elley


CinemaTV Today no.10113 (14 December 1974) p.21 – review (The New Films by Marjorie Bilbow)
Fangoria no.254 (June 2006) p.60 – illustrated DVD review (DVD Dungeon by Don Kaye)
Films and Filming vol.21 no.6 (March 1975) p.38 – review
Flesh and Blood no.3 (1994) p.45 – credits, review (1974)
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.42 no.492 (January 1975) p.8 – credits, synopsis, review
Sight & Sound vol.12 no.4 (April 2002) pp.66-67 – DVD review (Home movies: reviews by Geoffrey Macnab)
Sight & Sound vol.15 no.4 (April 2005) p.85 – DVD review (Home Movies: The Pete Walker Collection by Ronnie Hackston)

The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) pp.291-292
Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis pp.143-144 – credits
Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cetti pp.186-187
Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith p.110
X-Cert 2: The British Independent Horror Film 1971-1983 pp.139-145; 282-283