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Scream of Fear (1961)

Taste of Fear (original title)
Approved | | Horror, Thriller | 22 August 1961 (USA)
A wheelchair-bound young woman returns to her father's estate after ten years, and although she's told he's away, she keeps seeing his dead body on the estate.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Robert
...
Jane Appleby
...
Dr. Pierre Gerrard
John Serret ...
Inspector Legrand
Leonard Sachs ...
Mr. Spratt
Anne Blake ...
Marie
Fred Johnson ...
Mr. Appleby
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Storyline

Penny Applebee's parents were divorced when she was quite young and she grew up with her mother. After her mother's death, the wheelchair-bound Penny has accepted her father's invitation to live with him. She arrives only to learn that her father is away though her stepmother - who she is meeting for the first time - proves to be quite welcoming. On her first night however, she sees a light in the summerhouse and upon investigation, sees her father sitting there, apparently dead. Others can find nothing there and tell her she must have imagined it. She later sees his body in library and then again in the pool. She comes to believe that her stepmother and her father's friend, Doctor Pierre Gerard, are plotting to drive her insane. She gets a sympathetic ear from Bob, the chauffeur, who feels there has to be some rational explanation for what has been happening. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

For maximum thrill . . . we earnestly urge you to see this motion picture from the start!

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

22 August 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scream of Fear  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Christopher Lee's most vivid recollection of the film is, while shooting the dining-room scene, suddenly realizing he was being observed by Gary Cooper. Director Seth Holt remarked that Lee looked as though he'd "seen a ghost." Cooper was shooting what was to be his last film, The Naked Edge (1961), at the studio, and Lee recalls seeing Cooper having lunch every day by himself--the actor was dying of cancer. See more »

Goofs

When the policeman is telling Mrs. Abblebee and Bob about the car accident, he says the car was found in 30 feet of water. When we see the car in the water it is just below the surface. See more »

Quotes

Penny Appleby: [to Dr. Gerrard] You say my mind is affecting my legs. You're wrong. It's my legs that are affecting my mind.
See more »

Connections

References Psycho (1960) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Superb chilly chiller mystery from the house of Hammer.
26 March 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

God bless the internet and god bless DVD. The reason I say that is because once hidden gems like this film are now being discovered by a bigger audience. Taste Of Fear (AKA:Scream Of Fear) is produced out of that bastion of British horror, Hammer Films, it's directed by Seth Holt (The Nanny), written by Jimmy Sangster (X:The Unknown/The Curse Of Frankenstein) and stars Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd & that cornerstone of Hammer Horror, Christopher Lee.

Shot in moody black & white by Holt and cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, and eerily scored by Clifton Parker, the story sees a young paralysed woman return to her family home in France to visit her father who she hasn't seen for years; and to finally meet her new step-mother. Upon arrival she is informed that her father has had to go away on business, which becomes a problem as she starts to see his dead body, first in the summer house, then in the lounge! The mind can play tricks, especially to the traumatised, but she's convinced that what she is seeing is real. Even the family doctor (Lee in a suitably suspicious role) thinks there are mental issues here. Undaunted she enlists the help of friendly chauffeur Bob and sets about unravelling either her mind, or the mystery that lurks at the Appleby home.

The film opens with an attention grabbing sequence as police drag a lake for a body, from there on the film becomes essentially a four character piece. Now it's been said in some quarters that this structure telegraphs where the film is going to end up. There's a tiny bit of truth in that but there are at least three twisty kickers here to steer this far away from charges of predictability. In fact the finale has a double whammy that is most rewarding. The whole film pulses with atmosphere and is cloaked in shadows and low tone conversations. The sound work here is also top quality, the constant jabber of the crickets gnaw away at the ears, while the swish of the nearby sea instills a calm that ultimately sets up a false sense of security. The acting is on the money too, be it Strasberg perfectly conveying a multitude of emotions from her wheelchair, or Todd doing a nice line in the "too good to be true?" wholesome step-mom routine. All parties ensure that the story is built up right and that the pay off provides maximum impact.

Christopher Lee once said that this was one of the best Hammer Horror film's he was ever involved with, that's a fine selling point to be sure. A different kind of Hammer Horror, one that drips with dread and thrives on its mystery elements. Taste Of Fear is highly recommended to genre fans who prefer psychological chillers over blood letting and overkilled boo jump movies. 8/10


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