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The Confessional (1976) More at IMDbPro »House of Mortal Sin (original title)

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Up 29% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
David McGillivray (screenplay)
Pete Walker (from an original story by)
View company contact information for The Confessional on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
March 1977 (USA) See more »
Tortured by desires his vows forbid...master of a house of mortal sin!
A troubled young girl goes to confession at the local church. Unfortunately, the sexually frustrated priest she confesses to becomes obsessed with her... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
(8 articles)
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User Reviews:
If you can't trust your local priest....who can you trust?! See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order)
Anthony Sharp ... Father Xavier Meldrum

Susan Penhaligon ... Jenny Welch

Stephanie Beacham ... Vanessa Welch
Norman Eshley ... Father Bernard Cutler
Sheila Keith ... Miss Brabazon
Hilda Barry ... Mrs. Meldrum
Stewart Bevan ... Terry Wyatt (as Stuart Bevan)
Julia McCarthy ... Mrs. Davey
John Yule ... Robert (as Jon Yule)
Bill Kerr ... Mr. Davey
Victor Winding ... Dr. Gaudio
Jack Allen ... GP
Kim Butcher ... Valerie Davey
Ivor Salter ... Gravedigger

Andrew Sachs ... Man in Church
Jane Hayward ... Nurse Fowler
Mervyn Johns ... Father Duggan
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Melinda Clancy ... Girl at Presbytery (uncredited)
David Corti ... Altar Boy (uncredited)
Anthony Hennessey ... Policeman (uncredited)
Austin King ... Boy at Presbytery (uncredited)
Nicholas Power ... Altar Boy (uncredited)

Directed by
Pete Walker 
Writing credits
David McGillivray (screenplay)

Pete Walker (from an original story by)

Produced by
Pete Walker .... producer
Original Music by
Stanley Myers 
Cinematography by
Peter Jessop (photographed by)
Film Editing by
John Black 
Art Direction by
Chris Burke 
Makeup Department
George Partleton .... make-up supervision
Pearl Rashbass .... make-up
Production Management
Robert Fennell .... production manager
Matt McCarthy .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
James Hamilton .... second assistant director
Brian Lawrence .... first assistant director
Sound Department
Tony Anscombe .... dubbing mixer
Chris Munro .... boom operator
Peter O'Connor .... sound recordist
Alan Brett .... sound editor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Colin Bucksey .... follow focus
Ted Davis .... gaffer
Tony Imi .... additional photography
John Metcalfe .... camera operator
Peter Sinclair .... camera operator
John Simmons .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Ray Snooks .... second electrician (uncredited)
Music Department
Stanley Myers .... conductor
Other crew
Leigh Taylor .... production secretary


Additional Details

Also Known As:
"House of Mortal Sin" - UK (original title)
"The Confessional: House of Mortal Sin" - USA (DVD title)
See more »
104 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:R18+ | UK:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:18 (video rating) | UK:15 (re-rating) (2005) | USA:R | West Germany:18

Did You Know?

Originally Peter Cushing was offered to play Father Xavier Meldrum and at the time there were some rumours that Cushing hated the script. In 1983, when Cushing acted in Walker's final film, The House of Long Shadows, Walker learned that Cushing actually liked the script, but had other film commitments.See more »
Revealing mistakes: Stephanie Beacham can be seen to blink after her character (Vanessa Welch) has been strangled to death.See more »
Miss Brabazon:[to Meldrum's infirm mother] He's gone out again, I'm afraid... you're all alone again... with me.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Inside the Tower (2015) (V)See more »


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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
If you can't trust your local priest....who can you trust?!, 22 May 2006
Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England

Even though the majority of his movies haven't gone on to win vast acclaim or classic status, any fan of cinema would have to admit that British horror maestro Pete Walker is one of the most fascinating directors of the seventies. House of Mortal Sin follows the common Pete Walker theme of hypocrisy in an institution; and this time it's the church that gets lampooned. The film does feel like an all too obvious attempt to drum up some controversy, but it's all so well done that it's easy to ignore this fact and just enjoy the twisted imagination of Pete Walker and scriptwriter David McGillivray. Catholic priests are always above suspicion due their high moral ground in society, and so the idea that one of them could go off the rails and abuse his privileges is as intriguing as it is frightening. The story follows Father Xavier Meldrum; a priest who tapes the confessions of his parishioners and then uses them for blackmailing purposes! And he isn't content to stop there, as if the blackmail doesn't go to plan - he isn't morally above murder!

The film is a little overlong and slightly overindulgent at times; but Pete Walker paces the plot well, and although at least ten minutes could have been shaved from the movie; it never gets boring. Walker is great at creating atmosphere, and through ugly cinematography and downbeat locations, the director ensures that there is nothing pleasant about the movie. The murder scenes are graphic in a typically seventies fashion, although the talented director never lets the blood overtake the plot, and the murder scenes are an event within the movie; rather than the plot being tied around the gore. The film takes influence from a range of sources, including the slasher sub-genre (most notably Psycho), as well as the Italian Giallo (the black gloves towards the end being a particular highlight) and even Walker's own previous efforts. As usual, Walker pulls great performances out of his older actors. Anthony Sharp is suitably sinister in the lead role, and also manages to retain his edge of authority. Hilda Barry gives the film the right amount of horror as the mother, while Walker regular Sheila Keith rounds off the cast in a convincingly macabre role. On the whole; this may not be as great as House of Whipcord, but House of Mortal Sin is further proof that Pete Walker really knows how to make his audience think and comes recommended.

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