Frightmare (1974)

I’ve never thought marriage was a particularly tempting idea. One person for the rest of your existence, accepting all of their faults (because you can at least live with your own), and sharing everything forever and ever, or until one of you kicks the bucket or raises the funds for a divorce lawyer. People change, feelings change, and it’s a very expensive piece of paper that binds you to a person you might not even like six months down the road. You never truly know someone no matter how close you think you are, as in reality, people only allow you to see what they allow you to, and cynical as it may seem, it’s the sad little truth of the human condition.

After all, how many times have you heard the phrase ‘They seemed like such a nice couple!’ when the quiet neighbours that kept themselves to themselves, end up in a grisly murder suicide, in a middle class cul de sac that wouldn’t be out of place in Stepford.

Trouble and Strife? You have no idea …

Frightmare is the story of Edmund, a man so devoted to his wife Dorothy that he would go to any length to protect her. Sounds like it would be a beautiful thing, doesn’t it? It would be if the missus wasn’t a psychotic cannibal who had been locked up in an asylum for fifteen years that is, along with her beloved who didn’t partake in the eating and beating, but procured her victims and cleaned up the considerable mess she left behind her.
The doctors have released them both though, with a clean bill of health and a big old SANE sticker on their jumpers, never mind about those iffy food cravings and dead bodies, you go and live your lives and forget about the whole nasty incident.

Only Dorothy hasn’t found a magic cure for the insane part of her membrane, she’s just got better at hiding the bodies. And the happy couple are parents to boot. What a little recipe for disaster this is.

No one does creepy 70s exploitation like the British film industry. Grimy, sleazy and incredibly human, Frightmare is a fantastic blend of bizarre campy acting and intensity that is rarely replicated in modern film.

Nasty and unrelentingly bleak, Pete Walker’s grainy masterpiece is by no means perfect, but it’s atmospheric, yet jarring editing is very effective and disturbing to the extreme. Intelligent exploitation is a tricky business, but this one manages to pull it off with style, and a decent ending that leaves the audience with a need for more.

And for me, and even bigger aversion to marriage.

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