36 user 49 critic

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 »


Pete Walker


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




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


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


...and no escaped... See more »




R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film was heavily criticized and damned by many who saw it as some kind of far-right moral finger wagging. This was mainly because of director Pete Walker's ironically subversive opening dedication "to those who are disturbed by today's lax moral codes and who eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment." See more »


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 »


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

The disc also presents the uncut version of the film, but, although somewhat detailed, it has not been remastered. See more »


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

User Reviews

Quite an accomplishment
26 February 2005 | by lazarilloSee all my reviews

A disgraced prison governess and a retired judge decide that the English court system has become too lenient so they turn their isolated country estate into a brutal prison that seems to exclusively house sexy young women who have violated "the public morality". The couple's bastard son, using the very unsubtle pseudonym "Mark E. DeSade", lures the unsuspecting girls to the house where they are stripped, whipped, and eventually hanged for committing even the most minor infractions. This seems like an especially nasty WIP flick, and it is in many ways--it includes, for instance, one cruelly ironic scene where a dumb lorry driver brings a delirious girl who has just escaped the prison estate BACK there thinking it is a private hospital.

But this film is much more darkly intelligent and effectively crafted than any WIP film. It has much more on its mind than crass titillation. It is no less than a thinly veiled attack on the reactionaries and right-wing moralists that were rising to power in Britain (and later America) at the time the film was released. Like the Mary Beth Whiteheads and Margaret Thatchers who railed against public immorality while having tea and crumpets with mass murderers like Chile's Augusto Pinochet, the moralistic couple in this movie are enraged by minor moral transgressions but apparently have no qualms at all about torture and murder. They're also blatant hypocrites--their own son was born out of wedlock and the mother's creepy relationship with him is Oedipal to say the least. As in "Frightmare" the wife/warden is the especially insane one while the judge/husband is weak-willed and so senile he thinks he's signing release orders when he's actually signing death sentences.

What's most fascinating about this movie though was the way the people it attacks reacted to it at the time. While all Pete Walker's earlier sexploitation and horror movies had been virulently attacked by censors and conservative film critics, this movie was well-reviewed and very successful (even though it has just as much nudity and even more violence than other Walker films). Perhaps, the moralists enjoyed seeing promiscuous young people get their comeuppance, or perhaps they just didn't grasp the irony (and it delicious irony--the lead character is basically sentenced to death for appearing naked in public for monetary gain, a "crime" pretty much every young actress in THIS movie is guilty of!). This movie shows just how warped, hypocritical, and above all stupid censors and right-wing moralists really are. Yet they apparently liked it! That is quite an accomplishment.

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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:



Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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