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Frightmare (1974)

R | | Horror | July 1975 (USA)
After escaping a death sentence for her hideous crimes, a seemingly rehabilitated woman settles in an isolated farmhouse with her husband, only to ache, once more, for blood, and a crash-course in surgery. Is, indeed, her old self back?


Pete Walker


David McGillivray (screenplay), Pete Walker (from an original story by)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Davies ... Edmund Yates
Sheila Keith ... Dorothy Yates
Deborah Fairfax Deborah Fairfax ... Jackie
Paul Greenwood Paul Greenwood ... Graham
Kim Butcher ... Debbie
Fiona Curzon Fiona Curzon ... Merle
John Yule John Yule ... Robin (as Jon Yule)
Trisha Mortimer Trisha Mortimer ... Lillian (as Tricia Mortimer)
Victoria Fairbrother ... Delia (as Pamela Farbrother)
Edward Kalinski Edward Kalinski ... Alec
Victor Winding Victor Winding ... Detective Inspector
Anthony Hennessey Anthony Hennessey ... Detective Sergeant
Noel Johnson Noel Johnson ... The Judge
Michael Sharvell-Martin Michael Sharvell-Martin ... Barman
Tommy Wright Tommy Wright ... Nightclub Manager
Learn more

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Edmund and Dorothy Yates are freed after fifteen years in an asylum. Edmund covers up for his wife who is a murderer and a cannibal and Dorothy's daughter Debbie and stepdaughter Jackie, who live apart from them, may or may not have inherited her appetites. Dorothy has started to kill again... Written by Gary Couzens <gjcouzens@btinternet.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

brain | brains | unhinged | crazy | mad | See All (82) »


...more than a bad dream! See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The final film of Rupert Davies. See more »


When Jackie drives to her father and stepmother's house, she sits on the right-hand side of the car (as is normal in the UK). But when she drives back, the footage is the exact mirror of the drive there, with her sitting on the left. See more »


Edmund Yates: They said she was well again! They said she was well...
See more »

Alternate Versions

There have been many discrepancies involving the recent DVD release of this title by Image Entertainment:
  • The version has an 84-minute running time. The original running time is 87 minutes. There appears to be no footage missing. The print used was no doubt time compressed during the film-to-tape transfer. The version on the DVD release is in fact the uncut R-rated version.
  • The R-rated U.S. theatrical cut is uncut despite the rumors. The "Frightmare 2" video release is slightly edited, removing a brief gore spot. The DVD displays the uncut R-rated version.
  • The transfer on the DVD is presented full-frame at 1.33:1. Director Pete Walker shot the film in 1.33:1 full frame with the intention of matting the film at 1.85:1. The image on the DVD represents the full 1.33:1 frame as Walker shot it. As a result, there is excess picture information at the top and bottom of the frame. The 1.85:1 matting would have created a more compositionally correct image but the transfer represents the film as it was shot.
See more »


Referenced in The Big Box: Jigsaw (2009) See more »

User Reviews

Cynical, depressing .... quite brilliant
1 December 2000 | by heedarmySee all my reviews

Peter Walker, the director of this notorious British horror film, said that he wanted audiences to leave the cinema feeling angry and frustrated after seeing it. He succeeds.

Unpleasant and cynical though "Frightmare" may be, it is brilliantly made and cleverly written. We move between two worlds, of 70s juvenile delinquency in the heart of London and the chintzy, old-fashioned farmhouse inhabited by Rupert Davies and Sheila Keith. What unites both worlds, shockingly, is violence and murder.

There are other dualities in the film. There is the generation gap, between the elderly couple and their children and the gender gap, for here is a horror film where it is women who are the aggressors and the men are impotent onlookers or helpless victims.

The acting is remarkably good, right down to the bit parts, such as the hapless little man (played by Andrew Sachs of "Fawlty Towers" 'Manuel' fame)who is the first victim, in the film's moody, black-and-white pre-credit sequence. But the real honours are stolen by Sheila Keith, at times pathetic, at times terrifying as Mrs Yates and by Rupert Davies as her defeated, despairing husband.

Parts of the film look a little cheesy and dated but it is still a remarkably powerful work. The music score is a bonus too - in place of the usual screeching brass, Stanley Myers score is subtle, eerie and menacing.

I can't really recommend this film as "fun" viewing and it is light years away from the comforting certainties of Hammer's Gothic tales, where good always conquers evil. But "Frightmare" is that rare beast - a genuinely disturbing and unnerving horror film.

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Release Date:

July 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cover Up See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Black and White (opening sequence)| Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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