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Murder Syndrome (1981)
"Follia omicida" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Horror  |  24 February 1981 (Italy)
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 348 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 31 critic

Michael is a successful actor, but he has a scandal in his past: at a tender age he knifed his father to death. He and his girlfriend Deborah go to his mother's for the weekend, and are ... See full summary »


(as Robert Hampton)


(screenplay), (story), 4 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Stefano Patrizi ...
Michael Stanford
Martine Brochard ...
Henri Garcin ...
Hans Schwartz
Laura Gemser ...
Anita Strindberg ...
Silvia Dionisio ...
Fabrizio Moroni


Michael is a successful actor, but he has a scandal in his past: at a tender age he knifed his father to death. He and his girlfriend Deborah go to his mother's for the weekend, and are joined by the director and others from a recent film project, who are given a rather cool reception by the superstitious housekeeper Oliver. Soon rude things begin happening to some of the guests, and Michael fears a repeat of his nightmare past is in progress. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

past | fear | death | actor | weekend | See All (151) »




Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

24 February 1981 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Fear  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Featured in Zombiethon (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

A great hallucinogen
16 January 2013 | by (India) – See all my reviews

If I had a time machine, I would prefer going back to the early 80s, especially 1981 and '82, which were the heydays of Horror. The time was one of the most splendid phase of the slasher and zombie genres and we certainly have enough of those films to revel upon. As I look down to the slasher genre, I see there were many that came out victorious and instantly garnered a decent cult-following. Some others were not so effective then, but found audience in course of time and certain others are still waiting for the right audience to get famous. I think 'Fear' aka 'Murder Syndrome' falls in the 3rd of the aforementioned categories.

I got a copy of 'Murder Syndrome' under the name of 'Fear' in 1994. Being a devoted fan of slasher and giallo, I keep digging the heap of such films to discover something precious. I love slashers, but only when they're accompanied with a sound atmosphere. 'Fear' has everything for a slasher buff like me. It's a great giallo with a twist of supernatural, some edgy psychological dilemma, effective dark humor, gore, nudity and a gruesome atmosphere. So you can choose what you want. Wake up man, It's 1981....What did you expect? Budget wise, the movie has a low profile, but the presence of a big Victorial-era mansion, lush outdoor locations combined with some good acting make 'Murder Syndrome' nifty. Freda seems to have invested his mind heavily in the plot that unfolds very rudely. The ending is almost a surprise and will leave you in shock. I think this was an experiment of mingling two alternate endings and surprisingly, both of them are nicely written.

Michael (Stefano Patrizi) is a successful actor. He has everything to be proud of; name, fame, and a beautiful girlfriend Deborah (Silvia Dionisio). During the weekend break, Michael decides to pay a visit to his mother Glenda (Anita Strindberg ), who lives in a palatial house, somewhere far away from the urban locale. Michael takes Deborah along, as he wants to introduce her to his mother. On the way to his home, Michael gets distracted with some flashes of events from his dark and forgotten past. Finally they reach their destination and are greeted by Oliver (John Richardson), the house butler. Michael meets Glenda but it seems she is living a secluded and lonely life. Deborah feels Glenda is acting suspicious, but she doesn't have anything against her. In the meantime a filming crew with director Hans (Henri Garcin) and 2 actresses Shirley (Martine Brochard) and Beryl (Laura Gemser) arrive at the mansion for Michael's latest movie shoot. The guests are given a cold reception by Oliver, who seems to be very superstitious. Once they settle inside the spooky mansion, strange events begin to occur. Beryl faces a murder attempt, where a strange figure with black gloves tries to drown her in the bathtub. Michael's behavior with Deborah begins to change when Deborah tells him about her dream, where she witnessed a black mass and a strange over-sized spider trying to devour her. Deborah emphasizes that she had been a part of the mass, but she isn't able to recall the exact time of the event. Then Beryl is torn open with a hunting knife, right beside the river bank. Hans manages to capture some snaps of the killer, but before he is able to disclose the killer's identity, he is brutally hacked to death with an Axe. Deborah and the Shirley are looking for some clues, when they accidentally stumble upon Hans' camera and some of those nasty snaps. However, Shirley gets killed by a chainsaw as she is in the photo lab trying to develop the prints. Deborah is left with no other option but to run for her life. Deborah runs across the estate and into the woods only to be stopped by Oliver, who may have some hints about the strange events going on in the mansion.

'Fear' is a great film with some of the great moments that left a deep impression in my mind. I keep this very close to me because it acts as a great hallucinogen for me. When I call it a 'hallucinogen', I mean to say that it is able to push you into a dream world, where you won't be able to differentiate between the real and imaginary. The acting is cut above most of the slasher films that oozed during the 80s. This is a smart and intelligent film from Freda and should be watched for what it is!

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