A traveler by the name of Crossley forces himself upon a musician and his wife in a lonely part of Devon, and uses the aboriginal magic he has learned to displace his host.



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Complete credited cast:
Chief Medical Officer
Robert Graves
Julian Hough ...
Cobbler's Wife
John Rees ...
Fielder in cowpat
Nick Stringer ...
Colin Higgins
Peter Benson ...
Harry the Shepherd


Bored while officiating a cricket match at a psychiatric hospital, Crossley tells Graves (a visitor) the tale of a mysterious stranger (also named Crossley) who invades the lives and home of a local musician and his wife. The stranger claims knowledge of real magic, which he uses to displace his host and dominate his wife. The musician must find a way to combat Crossley and his seemingly implacable powers. Graves doubts Crossley's claim that the story is true, and begins to believe that Crossley is actually one of the patients. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A film of intense perversity - the madness of the mind.


Horror | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 June 1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El grito  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£5,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was made and release around half-a-century after its source story of the same name by Robert Graves was first published around the mid to late 1920s. See more »


Featured in The Guard (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

19 October 2006 | by (Springdale, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

An utterly bewitching and fantastical film from the great Polish-born filmmaker Jerzy Skolimoski. An "abnormal" mental patient, Crossley (Alan Bates), tells a story of himself, which may or may not be true, to a young, confused looking Tim Curry during a mental institution run cricket match. He tells of how he self-imposed his way into the home of an experimental musique concrète composer, Anthony (John Hurt), who records all sorts of fascinating sounds and noises and then manipulates them with his mini-studio of electronic equipment, and his wife Rachel (Susannah York). Inside the flashback/flash forward/flash sideways, he tells them of a unique ability he has perfected, which he learned from an aboriginal medicine man while living in the Australian outback. It seems he can perform a shout that will kill anyone within a surrounding radius. He demonstrates "The Shout" to Anthony and unknowingly kills a local farmer. His presence in Anthony's home quickly becomes awkward and unwanted but he continues to force his stay with intimidation. He uses his mysterious mystical abilities to entrance Rachel into becoming almost rabid for him, and taunts Anthony with his conquest and powers. Anthony, humiliated and overpowered in his own home and life, searches desperately for a way to defeat Crossley; searches for the source of his "soul".

Skolimowski uses the music and sounds that are recorded by John Hurt's character on screen (in real life made by Rupert Hine) as the metaphysical soul to this cinematic nightmare; similar in the ways David Lynch uses sound design as both an audio and visually integral mood stabilizing component in his nightmare-dream poems, or how Nicolas Roeg uses fractured time and images to a disorientating, hypnotic effect. In fact, it feels very analogous to a Roeg film. Highly recommended.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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