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Cover Up (1974)
"Frightmare" (original title)

 -  Horror  -  July 1975 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 1,145 users  
Reviews: 46 user | 66 critic

Edmund and Dorothy Yates are freed after fifteen years in an asylum. Edmund covers up for his wife who is a murderer and a cannibal and Dorothy's daughter Debbie and stepdaughter Jackie, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Davies ...
Edmund Yates
Sheila Keith ...
Dorothy Yates
Deborah Fairfax ...
Jackie
Paul Greenwood ...
Graham
Kim Butcher ...
Debbie
Fiona Curzon ...
Merle
John Yule ...
Robin (as Jon Yule)
Trisha Mortimer ...
Lillian (as Tricia Mortimer)
Victoria Fairbrother ...
Delia
Edward Kalinski ...
Alec
Victor Winding ...
Detective Inspector
Anthony Hennessey ...
Detective Sergeant
Noel Johnson ...
The Judge
Michael Sharvell-Martin ...
Barman
Tommy Wright ...
Nightclub Manager
Edit

Storyline

Edmund and Dorothy Yates are freed after fifteen years in an asylum. Edmund covers up for his wife who is a murderer and a cannibal and Dorothy's daughter Debbie and stepdaughter Jackie, who live apart from them, may or may not have inherited her appetites. Dorothy has started to kill again... Written by Gary Couzens <gjcouzens@btinternet.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Worse than your most shocking nightmare! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

July 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cover Up  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The final English-language film of Leo Genn. See more »

Goofs

When Jackie drives to her father and stepmother's house, she sits on the right-hand side of the car (as is normal in the UK). But when she drives back, the footage is the exact mirror of the drive there, with her sitting on the left. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the greatest exploitation movies of the 1970's
25 February 2005 | by See all my reviews

FRIGHTMARE

Aspect ratio: 1.75:1

Sound format: Mono

After serving a lengthy prison sentence for acts of murder and cannibalism, a 'fragile' old lady (Sheila Keith) is released into the care of her husband (Rupert Davies) and they retire to a farmhouse deep in the English countryside. But old habits die hard...

One of the great exploitation titles of all time, FRIGHTMARE (1974) has often been described as the UK's answer to "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974) due to its bleak scenario and uncompromising violence, toplined by elderly murderess 'Dorothy Yates' (Keith), who lures unwary victims to her isolated farmhouse with promises of Tarot readings and stabs them to death with various household implements. Davies' daughter from a previous marriage (Deborah Fairfax) suspects Keith is still insane and enlists the aid of her psychiatrist boyfriend (Paul Greenwood). But Keith and Davies have another daughter (Kim Butcher), conceived just before their incarceration, and she's beginning to show disturbing signs of following in her mother's footsteps...

Having infuriated tabloid hacks with his barely-disguised assault on the Christian Right in HOUSE OF WHIPCORD (1974), director Pete Walker conceived the notion of cannibalism in the Home Counties (!) and commissioned a screenplay from "Whipcord" scribe David McGillivray, a critic-turned-scriptwriter who later became an outspoken opponent of British film censorship (watch for his brief, wordless cameo as a white-coated doctor). The result is one of the best British horror movies of the 1970's. True, the fashions have dated badly and there are too many dialogue exchanges in drab apartments, but the film's antiquated charm is difficult to resist. Most of the film's Grand Guignol horrors unfold within Keith's crumbling farm, an Olde Worlde slaughterhouse far removed from the bright lights of the big city. Walker has described his approach as 'modern Gothique', an unsettling antidote to the safe, predictable (but still enjoyable) Hammer formula, and perfectly suited to an era defined by its social and political turmoil.

Production-wise, the film is competent but unexceptional. The young leads are OK, nothing more, though Butcher is suitably unpleasant as the sociopathic daughter, and there are brief, throwaway cameos from British movie stalwarts Leo Genn (THE WOODEN HORSE) and Gerald Flood (PATTON), both cast purely for marquee value. Veteran character actor Davies is particularly impressive as the distraught husband who is incapable (and ultimately unwilling) to curtail his beloved wife's monstrous cravings. Immensely popular at the time due to his role on British TV as Inspector Maigret, he was singled out for special attention by outraged critics, appalled by his involvement in such 'lowbrow' material, though it wasn't the first time this 'respectable' actor had dabbled in exploitation (see also "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave", "Matthew Hopkins: Witchfinder General", "The Oblong Box", etc.). As it turned out, FRIGHTMARE was Davies' last film - he died in 1976.

But the true star of the show is Sheila Keith, an unpretentious, supremely gifted actress who came late to the film business and stayed just long enough to leave an indelible impression on cult movie fans worldwide. As portrayed here, Dorothy Yates' pathetic frailty conceals a ruthless psychopath, capable of the most horrendous atrocities, and the demonic expression which transforms Keith's face as she stalks her helpless victims is as blood-freezing as anything in the genre. Nowhere is this more evident than in an extraordinary sequence - completely unexpected in a British horror movie at the time - when Keith uses an electric drill to mutilate the head of a corpse which she's hidden in the barn...

NB. The original UK trailer is an exploitation gem which refuses to show more than a few brief moments of footage from the film, claiming the rest of it is too shocking for public exhibition!!


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