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House of Whipcord (1974)

R | | Horror | March 1975 (USA)
An old man who lives in an old house conducts a correctional institute for girls. But he does not realize that the date is the present as he's been cooped up in the house. He is assisted by... See full summary »

Director:

Pete Walker

Writers:

David McGillivray (screenplay), Pete Walker (original story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Markham ... Mrs. Wakehurst
Patrick Barr ... Justice Bailey
Ray Brooks ... Tony
Ann Michelle ... Julia
Sheila Keith ... Walker
Dorothy Gordon ... Bates
Robert Tayman Robert Tayman ... Mark E. Desade
Ivor Salter ... Jack
Karan David Karan David ... Karen
Celia Quicke Celia Quicke ... Denise
Ron Smerczak ... Ted
Tony Sympson Tony Sympson ... Henry
Judy Robinson Judy Robinson ... Claire
Jane Hayward Jane Hayward ... Estelle
Celia Imrie ... Barbara
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Storyline

An old man who lives in an old house conducts a correctional institute for girls. But he does not realize that the date is the present as he's been cooped up in the house. He is assisted by a matron who likes to get the girls into trouble and present them in front of the old man who thinks he is the law and passes out punishment. Afterwards the girls are tied to a cross and whipped. Meanwhile the matron's son falls in love with a girl at a party and brings her to the house. Written by Fredrick Miles

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...and no escaped... See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

March 1975 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Photographer's Models See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peggy Cummins auditioned for the role of Mrs. Wakehurst, but didn't get the role because Pete Walker thought she looked too attractive and hence was wrong for the part. See more »

Goofs

When Karen is hanged, it appears she has been executed by the "long drop" method in which the victim is allowed to fall several feet in order to break her neck. This is apparent in the way Karen's body disappears entirely from the frame when the trap door is sprung. Having matron Walker weigh Karen beforehand is consistent with the procedure for long drop hangings so that the executioner can calculate the slack needed to ensure a quick death without decapitating the victim. However, the rope we see attached to the gallows is far too short for a long drop hanging. It has hardly any slack at all and would have resulted in a "short drop hanging" in which the victim would have fallen less than a foot and remained completely in view at almost the same level as her executioners while she slowly strangled. The absence of slack in the rope had already been confirmed when Mrs. Wakehurst inspected the gallows the day before and tugged on the rope. If there had been more rope above the frame than we could see on screen, Wakehurst would have released it when she pulled. The rope was clearly only as long as it appeared to be with the knot at about the level of Wakehurst's chin. In short, it is physically impossible for the gallows rig shown to produce the effect displayed in the film where the rope grew several feet in between edits. See more »

Quotes

Jack: [looking at back of newspaper] Osgood rocks Spurs, eh?
Customer seated in cafe: Two in the first half, and another five minutes from time.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: "This film is dedicated to those who are disturbed by today's lax moral codes and who eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment . . . ." See more »

Alternate Versions

There have been many discrepancies about the 1999 DVD release of this title by Image Entertainment: See more »

Connections

Featured in Sheila Keith: A Nice Old Lady? (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Landmark shocker from Pete Walker and co.
21 February 2005 | by LibretioSee all my reviews

HOUSE OF WHIPCORD

Aspect ratio: 1.75:1

Sound format: Mono

A French exchange student (Penny Irving) is lured to an old house in the English countryside where she's incarcerated by a senile old judge (Patrick Barr) and his crazy wife (Barbara Markham), who seek to punish impure young women for 'crimes against morality'.

This was British director Pete Walker's first collaboration with legendary exploitation scriptwriter David McGillivray (HOUSE OF MORTAL SIN, SATAN'S SLAVE, etc.), spawned from a pre-determined ad campaign showing a screaming, half-naked starlet framed by a hangman's noose. The result is a minor classic in which part-time nude model Irving is lured into captivity by her creepy new boyfriend (Robert Tayman, from VAMPIRE CIRCUS) and imprisoned by Barr and Markham. Unwilling to take her predicament lying down, Irving plots escape with her fellow inmates and suffers all manner of indignities at the hands of cruel warder Sheila Keith and her equally depraved second-in-command (Dorothy Gordon).

Cleverly written and cheaply produced in response to an upsurge of activity by the UK's Christian Right in the wake of several controversial film releases - most notably A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, STRAW DOGS, THE DEVILS (all 1971) and LAST TANGO IN Paris (1972) - "Whipcord" opens with a now-famous dedication "...to those who are disturbed by today's lax moral codes and who eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment...." Though contemporary critics railed against the threadbare production values and softcore nudity, it's apparent that much of their outrage was prompted by Walker's brazen challenge to the Christian moralists, whose over-zealous rhetoric has always enjoyed a disproportionate measure of representation in the British media.

The film is deliberately crude and confrontational, with a vulnerable heroine - played as an infuriating wimp by relative newcomer Irving, sporting one of the worst French accents in movie history ("'Ow did zey bring you 'ere?") - struggling to survive against all the odds, while Markham's brutal staff indulge their deepest puritan impulses. Keith is especially good in this regard ("I'm going to make you ashamed of your body, de Vernay. I'm going to see to that... personally!"), manifesting the corrupt zeal of a True Believer with little regard for pity or compassion. The sleaze quotient is high for a British shocker of this vintage, but neither McGillivray's script nor Walker's laidback direction comes close to matching the debauched atrocities which distinguished the 'prison camp' subgenre during the 1970's and early 80s, exemplified by the likes of ILSA: SHE WOLF OF THE SS (1974) in America, BARBED WIRE DOLLS (1975) in mainland Europe, and Asian shockers like BAMBOO HOUSE OF DOLLS (1973), LOST SOULS (1980) and WAR VICTIMS (1983). Still, HOUSE OF WHIPCORD is an effective relic, and it led directly to Walker's next offering, FRIGHTMARE (1974), reuniting him with McGillivray and Keith for one of their finest collaborations to date.


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