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|Index||15 reviews in total|
First off...with names like Fred Olen Ray, Brinke Stevens and
Jan-Michael Vincent, plus distributors like "Rhino" and "Troma" on the
video box, you know what you're getting into with this one. B movie
mania! If you're actually expecting to see a thriller "based on Edgar
Allan Poe," then forget it and head straight for the excellent series
of Roger Corman 60s Poe films. This is pure, unadulterated sleaze (with
just a pedestrian attempt at a plot similar to "The Premature Burial"),
complete with lots of R-rated, ready-for-video sex and nudity. However,
it's certainly entertaining and fun in a slipshod kind of way...
Brinke (who has three nude scenes in the first 30 minutes) plays rich, traumatized, insomniac housewife Victoria Monroe, whose fear of being prematurely entombed stems from her belief that the same fate befell her father (Hoke Howell). Her worthless husband Terry (Jay Richardson) has racked up some serious gambling debt (owed to a gangster played by Robert Quarry) and, with help from his kinky, blonde, European-accented sexpot secretary Lisa (Delia Sheppard) plots to do away with Brinke for her money. Name-value actress Karen Black drops in briefly wearing a blonde wig as a hypnotist (she's way too talented to be playing an insignificant role like this), 50s sci-fi/horror star Robert Clarke plays a doctor and family friend and Michael Berryman shows up for a decent nightmare sequence performing an autopsy on a still-living Vicki. Jan-Michael Vincent mostly sits outside a house in his car making goo-goo eyes as Brinke enters and exits the home.
The kill-a-spouse-for-the-inheritance plot has been done a million times before, the ending is an unintentional laugh riot (concluding with a direct rip-off of the Zuni Fetish Doll segment in TRILOGY OF TERROR) and whoever created the awful stabbed face and decapitated head FX for this release needs to sharpen up on their skills a bit. Brinke does a decent job making her character somewhat sympathetic, but the biggest surprise of all is how good former Penthouse Pet Delia Sheppard is in her role. She stole every scene she was in and easily gave the standout performance here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Fred Olen Ray is a lousy director, even as far as B movie directors go, but 'Haunting Fear' is probably one of his better films. Yes, it does butcher the great Poe story 'Premature Burial' and yes, it is badly paced and uneven throughout, but it is also pretty entertaining. Scream Queen Brinke Stevens is better than usual as a pretty, fragile housewife whose worthless husband (Jay Richardson) is plotting to do away with her because he needs money to pay off a gangster (played by Robert Quarry). Delia Sheppard, a veteran of many early 90s soft-core movies, actually gives the best performance in the film as a slutty mistress. You will also enjoy small roles played by Karen Black as a psychic, Robert Clarke as a doctor and Michael Berryman in a nice cameo in one of the better scenes. The ending didn't make much sense!
The auteur Olen Ray put his heart into this telling tale. It stars All-Century Eye Candy Hall of Fame member Brinke Stevens who can uncork our cask of Amontillado anytime. Ms. Stevens plays a woman with a haunting fear of premature burial. Her evil husband is hoping to usher her fall to gain possession of her house. Pitted against this man, will Ms. Stevens conquer her terrors against her worm of a husband or will the pendulum swing against her, driving her 'raven' mad? We apologize for this descent into the maelstrom and pledge to repeat it nevermore. All that stated, the film is enjoyable even though we can not understand why anyone married to Ms. Stevens would want to be cruel to her. Also, Ms. Stevens takes a bath in the film confirming the old adage that cleanliness is next to goddess-liness.
Victoria Munroe (Brinke Stevens) is having nightmares that seem to be driving her husband Terry (Jay Richardson) nuts. Not because he fears for her well being, but because he wants her to die from her weak heart so that he can inherit her wealth and live high on the hog with his secretary Lisa (Delia Sheppard). Oh, and maybe pay off his gambling debt he owes to Italian mobster Visconti (the decidedly un-Italian Robert Quarry). Looking to speed up the process, Terry and Lisa decide to bury Victoria alive in order to scare her to death. Loosely based on Poe's "The Premature Burial" (hey, it has a premature burial), this Fred Olen Ray shocker is from his serviceable period with some decent FX, that same house he used in every other film (the brown one, not the white one) and nice photography by Gary Graver. This is probably the biggest role Stevens has ever had and she is fine as the stressed out wife. Her acting takes a slight turn for the worse when she is supposed to play psycho at the end. Jan-Michael Vincent, Karen Black, Hoke Howell, and Michael Berryman all got in one day of work in small roles. Vincent's role in the first half relies on him sitting in a parked car and staring at things. Ray obviously knew him well.
I had fairly low expectations of this film, but nonetheless I was still disappointed. While there are some very pretty actresses in here, the level of acting was horrendously low. Jay Richardson takes the (heavily contested) prize for worst acting in this movie. Ay-yi-yi. Jan-Micael Vincent and Karen Black, clearly slumming, mailed it in. Brinke Stevens, with her husky voice and lovely visage, I tried so hard to like, but couldn't. To be fair, terror has to be one of the hardest things to do for an actor, but even so, she just didn't get it done. Delia Sheppard was the best of the major cast by far, and that was just adequate. The only believable acting came from the creepy Micael Berryman in a very small part. The aforementioned actresses, however, are major eye candy, so if you like that sort of thing, then check it out. If not, don't.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT*
Does the word "monotonous" mean anything to you? Most of this movie is spent having Brinke Stevens talk about her nightmare of being buried alive. This goes on and on and on. There are a few sex scenes with Delia Sheppard to keep things interesting. Finally the husband and Delia come up with an idea. If they scare Brinke enough, maybe her heart will go out and they can get her money. So they stick her in a coffin and leave her in the basement. Brinke has some sort of transformation and becomes a ghost faced killer. It's a good payoff scene but it's in the last 20 minutes.
Brinke Stevens makes a great maniac. Too bad it's only for a couple of minutes. The sexiest thing about her is her voice. It has kind of a scratchy, girlish inflection to it. It suits her well. Brinke is also kind enough to go topless once or twice. Her rampage at the end saves this movie from the trash compacter.
So basically I would skip most of the movie and fast forward to the last 20 minutes. The plot itself is only strong enough for a half hour episode of "Tales from the Darkside". Lots of padding made this flick to feature length.
Well, I was prepared for a total trash fest, but ended up being quite engaged in this strange, Edgar Allan Poe-inspired, somewhat soft-core porn movie. Brinke Stevens plays a woman who has a horror of being buried alive. She has nightmares constantly, and she's terrified of going to the doctor. Her husband and his secretary (the wildly gorgeous Delia Shephard) eventually plot to use her fears against her to make her truly go mad. Jan Michael Vincent, (of who I am a big fan!), makes a very brief appearance in this movie as Detective Trent. He's actually there to spy on Brinke's husband, but ends up seeing Brinke and all her craziness. He meets her briefly, just to see that she is OK. (They unfortunately don't get any love scenes!) Anyway, there are some really fun horror moments in this - one dream where Brinke appears dead, but she's alive and is taken to the morgue. There is the obligatory Delia Shephard sex scene, but overall this is a worthwhile horror flick, especially if you are a Poe fan or a Jan Michael Vincent fan!
It has been a while since I saw the movie, but it was much more
that what I expected. Although not Poe's Premature Burial, the theme was
well done. Brinke Stevens portrayed the victom very well and made the
The interplay between the actors/actresses was well done, and I believe that is what made the movie a step above a B movie. I enjoyed some twists and turns in the plot that were not expected. I have to admit that Jay Richardson's acting, at times, was not the best.
Other than that, the movie was very well done and a joy to watch. I suggest to anyone to rent this movie. I hope I can say that.
Looking at the box in the video store you will see names such as Fred Olen Ray, Brinke Stevens, Karen Black, and Jan-Michael Vincent. The kicker, of course, is "A Troma Team Release." These are not arguments for quality, and indeed there is no mistaking this film for anything other than a B-movie. However, it can be surprisingly effective, mostly due to the amount of heart Brinke Stevens puts into her portrayal of the lead character, the neurotic Victoria. If you want B-movie cheesiness and excess you'll uncover a fair helping of it here, but don't be surprised if you find yourself a bit more involved in the storyline than you originally expected.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A by-the-numbers thriller from director Fred Olen Ray, renowned for
making exploitation films on an extremely low budget. This passes the
time but offers up little in the way of story or intrigue, as is the
case with lots of these films, not much happens for three quarters of
the film until the action of the finale. To pass the time there are a
number of gratuitous nude and sex scenes. Brinke Stevens is forever
taking her clothes off to have a bath, while Delia Sheppard is
constantly writhing about while naked. These scenes get boring quickly
and are obviously tailor-made for the dirty mac brigade. The story is
loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe's theme of being buried alive, but
director Ray just doesn't have the budget to do justice to the story,
his tale lacks the lavish costumes and sets of Roger Corman's Poe
series of the 1960s.
Along with the central story (woman is cheated on, buried alive by husband, then comes back from the dead) are a number of sub=plots to lengthen the running time. The most obvious of these is the story involving the husband's embroilment with a debt collector, whose assistant sits around in a car for the whole film before finally taking action at the end. The husband's affair also gets tiring quickly, although to be fair Ray does intertwine the plot threads quite well.
The cast is probably the most interesting thing about the film; Ray has once again gathered together a group of talented exploitation has-beens, past-its, and nobodies. Jan-Michael Vincent is probably the biggest name but doesn't have much of a role, while Jay Richardson manages to put a fine balance between a cold-blooded murderer and a human being who cares about his wife. Brinke Stevens has never been much of an actress but carries the pivotal role fairly well. Robert Clarke is believable as a doctor while Robert Quarry and Karen Black fill out minor roles and are welcome faces in the cast. Added to this is Michael Berryman in a cameo appearance as a creepy morgue assistant.
The special effects are kept to a minimum until the finale, where Ray murders off just about every major character in the cast. Things are quite bloody here with a number of brutal stabbings, but we've waited a long time for the action so it is quite disappointing. The various 'supernatural' aspects are handled amateurishly and are therefore embarrassing, take the disappearance of Stevens at the end for example, a cliché or what? HAUNTING FEAR comes across as very empty and lacking, but for undemanding fans it will pass the time.
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