Symptoms (1973)

UK, Belgium, 1973
80m, 7249 feet
35mm film, colour
mono, English

A British/Belgian horror film directed by José Ramón Larraz.


Directed by: José Ramón Larraz
Copyright Finiton Productions MCMLXIII [1973]
Produced by: Jean Dupuis
Screenplay by: Joseph Larraz [real name: José Ramón Larraz] and Stanley Miller
Director of Photography: Trevor Wren
Film Editor: Brian Smedley-Aston
Music by: John Scott
Sound Recordists: Trevor Carless, Ken Barker
Wardrobe Mistress: Dulcie Midwinter
Make-up: Bunty Phillips
Art Director: Ken Bridgeman

Angela Pleasence (Helen)
Peter Vaughan (Brady)
Lorna Heilbron (Anne)
Nancy Nevinson (Hannah)
Ronald O'Neil (John)
Marie-Paul Mailleaux (Cora)
Michael Grady (Nick)
Raymond Huntley (Burke)

Alternative Titles

The Blood Virgin
– Spanish title
Symptoms l'incubo dei sensi – Italian title


Monthly Film Bulletin vol.43 no.510 (July 1976) p.153
From the moment that its spectral heroine (beautifully played by Angela Pleasence) begins to show signs of serious mental disturbance, Symptoms quite clearly moves on to Repulsion territory. But if the denouément holds few surprises, The film builds towards it in comparatively original and disturbing ways. Like Polanski, Joseph Larraz seems able to utilise the atmosphere of the English landscape far more effectively than native film-makers. Here a mouldering old house and its lake are both strikingly beautiful and (for a British film)strangely unfamiliar as a location; the house becomes an animated setting, apparently determining the way the two girls move tentatively round each other. Larraz' rapid montage technique, juxtaposing a series of tiny visual incidents – snatches of conversation, sounds, memories and dream fragments – unerringly conveys a precise psychological dimension. The sparse, non-naturalistic dialogue is absolutely appropriate: the girls' delicate lesbian courtship is elaborated through just a few words and gestures, yet their uncertain liaison acquires such intensity that, when it is interrupted by Anne's grimly bespectacled boyfriend, Helen's violent pathological resentment comes to seem almost natural. Symptoms works more on the level of atmosphere than of ideas, but its psychological perceptions are unusually sophisticated for genre cinema. – from a review by David Pirie

Cast Gallery



  • Castle of Frankenstein vol.6 no.3 (whole no.23, ) p.51 – note (Frankenstein at large)
  • CinemaTV Today no.10054 (20 October 1973) p.11 – credits
  • Film en Televisie no.215 (April 1975) p.35 – review
  • Flesh and Blood no.3 (1994) p.51 – credits, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.43 no.510 (July 1976) p.153 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.44 no.526 (November 1977) p.249 – note
  • Time Out no.323 (21 May 1976) p.37 – review
  • Variety 22 May 1974 p.26 – credits, review


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.298
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.253-54, 253, 255
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.251
  • Film Review 1976-1977 by F. Maurice Speed p.185
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.382
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.205-206