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Cassandra (1986)

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Reviews: 11 user | 7 critic

A young woman has eerie flashes of recovered memories of her brother committing a murder, despite her parents assurance that all is well.



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Title: Cassandra (1986)

Cassandra (1986) on IMDb 4.5/10

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Complete credited cast:
Tegan Charles ...
Cassandra (Child)
Tessa Humphries ...
Jill / Cassandra
Dylan O'Neill ...
Warren (Child)
Briony Behets ...
Natalie McCurry ...
Tim Burns ...
Susan Barling ...
Lee James ...
Robert / Warren
Jeff Watson ...
Gary Traill ...
Kit Taylor ...
Kate Carruthers ...
John Ley ...


A young woman has eerie flashes of recovered memories of her brother committing a murder, despite her parents assurance that all is well.

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Cassandra can see the future. You may not want to. See more »


Horror | Thriller


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Release Date:

12 May 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Cassandra  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film is considered an "Ozploitation" (Australian exploitation) picture. See more »


Referenced in Scream 2 (1997) See more »


Performed by Wa Wa Nee
Courtesy of CBS and EPIC Records
Written by Paul Gray
Published by MCA Gilbey
See more »

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User Reviews

A surprisingly good Australian slasher movie
31 May 2004 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Prepare to be shocked ladies and gentlemen, because I've gone and done the impossible. That's right, as shocking as it may seem, I've finally found an Australian slasher movie that's actually worth a carrot. No, seriously! After the vomit inducing mess that was To Become One, the less than intriguing Cut and the now legendary titan of trash, Houseboat Horror, I was beginning to think that it was just too much to ask of our cousins down-under. Cassandra is here to change all that however, because astoundingly enough, it's actually quite good. Well, measured up against those three humongous humdingers, it's truly a cinematic treasure. It's lucky enough to be one of the rare few psycho-killer flicks that have an endearing macabre sheen, which measures up nicely with the killer leaving a broken doll beside his victims in The Baby Doll Murders and the spooky appearance of that creepy dolly in the classic Curtains. Cassandra's leading nut-nut has taken a shine to writing 'who killed cock robin' on the wall at the scene of his gruesome slashings. Of course, there's bound to be some kind of deluded motive for this psychotic creativity, and it's down to us viewers to figure out the not so obvious connection…

It begins with cool credit sequence that boasts a notable theme tune and a great graphic for the title. Following that, we're given one of the creepiest openings that I ever remember witnessing in a slasher flick. A young girl is shown throwing stones into a lake beside a remote cabin in the woods. A car pulls up outside the hut, and out steps a woman and a creepy looking child who's singing the nursery rhyme, 'who killed cock robin?' Next we see inside the cabin, and the woman is turning a shotgun on herself in a suicide bid, while the boy mutters 'do it' in a spooky voice reserved only for maniacs. The young girl jogs up to the hut in excellent steadi-cam, but arrives too late. The woman had already pulled the trigger. It's a great launch for the feature, which is skilfully photographed and smoothly edited, giving it enough power to keep your hopes raised for the rest of the movie. For some reason that I cannot put into words, it brought to my mind the spooky commencement from that all but forgotten horror classic, Alison's Birthday. At first I wondered if the two movies shared some kind of connection, other than both hailing from similar parts of the world? But I haven't managed to find any notes that would confirm this to be true, so I guess it's just a coincidence.

Next we learn that the spooky occurrence was only a dream, one that has been plaguing the beautiful Cassandra (Tessa Humphries) quite regularly just lately. It seems so realistic that she believes it may be a memory recollection from her childhood, but she's confused and just can't remember the truth. She asks her mother and father if she could have ever witnessed a similar course of events, but they suspiciously convince her that it's all in her mind. To be honest, they look as if they have more skeleton's in their closet than the local morgue has corpses, so I wouldn't be surprised if they turn out to be hiding a few shocking secrets beneath their obviously false exterior. Cassie's father is a photographer with more than just a 'photographic' eye for the ladies, and pretty soon we learn that he's shoulder deep in an affair with one of his projects. Cassie catches her father and Libby together, just as the model was in the middle of telling him that she's fallen pregnant. On top of her continuous restless nights, that's not what the troubled youngster needed to hear at that particular time. She heads to the local bar, where she pours her heart out to her friend Robbie, who lends a sympathetic ear.

The following night, Libby heads out to a remote beach house after an argument with Steven over why he wont tell his missus that he's blown her up. (Why do you think honey?) After an extremely gratuitous shower, an unseen maniac creeps into the house in superb first person cinematography, picking up a bread knife en route a la Michael Myers. Some time later, Steve discovers her corpse in his bed with her throat slashed from ear to ear. He also finds a creepy message left at the scene by the killer, which reads: 'who killed cock robin?' The police turn up and question everybody, and we find out that Cassie witnessed the murder through a psychic link that she mysteriously shares with the killer. From here on out the majority of the runtime resolves around the mystery, as we learn more about the characters and their shady backgrounds. And boy have they got shady backgrounds! To break up the dialogue, Eggleston chucks in some suspense as the shadowed maniac puts in another appearance. This time, he tries unsuccessfully to murder Cassie's mother in yet another sequence that's packed with credible tension.

Eventually the assassin manages to get everyone that's on his list of would-be victims in the same place around the same time, including the unfortunately unsuspecting heroine. After a cool decapitation by shovel (the first I remember seeing), and another brutal murder, it's left up to Cassie to try and save herself and her family from his malevolent rage.

It's looks a little more than obvious that Colin Eggleston was greatly inspired by the American titans of eighties horror, such as John Carpenter and Sam Raimi. Previously, he had penned the screenplay for 1980's slasher misfire, Stage Fright, and to say that he had 'borrowed' the basic plot pointers from Halloween would be a considerable understatement. He unearthed a lot more potential once behind the camera, but still kept the references pouring thick and fast. Check out some of the fast flowing photography in the dream sequence, which clearly owes a great deal to Raimi's first-person-possession from The Evil Dead. Still, don't hold that against the man, I mean, you show me a slasher movie that doesn't steal from its fellow genre-men and I'll show you a pink elephant with wings and a driving licence! As a matter of fact, Cassandra's imaginative use of the camera is perhaps its most alluring attribute. Take for example the first murder, which packs a great deal of suspense into a short sequence and skilfully manages to keep the tension running high all the way through. We look on in traditional hand-held shots as the victim climbs into bed, leading us to successfully believe that we're watching from the eyes of the killer. However as the camera zooms in on the female, the knife appears from a different location than the one we were expecting, which provides a great jolt and a decent shock-tactic that can be credited as one of Eggleston's own.

Let's just say for argument's sake that Stage Fright was Eggleston's Halloween. Then I guess Cassandra could quite easily be labelled as his Eyes of Laura Mars. The two movies share a great deal, most notably of course, the use of a psychic link between the killer and heroine. It's been a while since I've seen Mars, so I didn't notice many other similarities that I could immediately remember. But I'm pretty certain that it was somewhere on his list of inspirations before he sat down to pen the screenplay for this closely themed thriller. Thankfully, this has a lot more going for it than some credible photography and a few beautiful locations. Ian Mason's screeching score helps to provide the tense atmosphere, and Josephine Cook edits with a praise-worthy confidence that was one of the strongest elements in the brilliance of the opening sequence. It's also stylishly produced for an underground slasher flick, and doesn't deserve to have become as rare since it's initial release. I had never even heard of Cassandra until I found the recent DVD in my local newsagent's bargain bucket. Later I learned that it was briefly released in the United Kingdom sometime in 1987, but vanished from existence pretty soon after.

Another slice of trivia worth noting (well, kind of) is the fact that this was the movie debut of actress Tessa Humphries. Don't worry if you don't immediately recognise that name, because chances are if you watched chat shows throughout the eighties in the United Kingdom, then you'll probably be more familiar with her father. She's none other than the daughter of the owner of the biggest pair of specs in the world, Dame Edna! Luckily for us, the family resemblance is totally non-existent and she's actually an attractive young woman. Despite obvious limitations as an actress, she at least holds up fairly well with the rest of the cast that had some previous acting experience. However, watching them fumble through the script like a plank of wood in a forest may prevent that from sounding like much of a compliment. But surprisingly enough, the lack of any truly outstanding performances really didn't spoil the movie too much, and I still thoroughly enjoyed watching it.

There are of course a few flaws to be found throughout the runtime that may ruin the story for the more critical viewers. As I said previously, it isn't greatly acted, and some may find the character driven dramatics a slightly disappointing alternative to a numerous body count. It's also pretty easy to guess whom it is that's actually killing everyone, and I was expecting a slightly more intelligent conclusion than the mediocre and somewhat uninspired result that we ended up with. But the odd stylish sequence lifted this above the majority of its counterparts, and almost every murder is surprisingly neatly staged. Suspense is one of the toughest things to be found in underground slasher movies, but Colin Eggleston successfully manages to create quite a few credible sequences that give the movie a noteworthy professional sheen. As far as Australian stalk and slash efforts go, it's actually one of the best of its kind...

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