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The Confessional (1976)

House of Mortal Sin (original title)
R | | Horror | March 1977 (USA)
A troubled young girl goes to confession at the local church. Unfortunately, the sexually frustrated priest she confesses to becomes obsessed with her. At first, the priest stalks the girl,... See full summary »


Pete Walker


David McGillivray (screenplay), Pete Walker (from an original story by)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Sharp ... Father Xavier Meldrum
Susan Penhaligon ... Jenny Welch
Stephanie Beacham ... Vanessa Welch
Norman Eshley ... Father Bernard Cutler
Sheila Keith ... Miss Brabazon
Hilda Barry Hilda Barry ... Mrs. Meldrum
Stewart Bevan Stewart Bevan ... Terry Wyatt (as Stuart Bevan)
Julia McCarthy Julia McCarthy ... Mrs. Davey
John Yule John Yule ... Robert (as Jon Yule)
Bill Kerr ... Mr. Davey
Victor Winding Victor Winding ... Dr. Gaudio
Jack Allen ... GP
Kim Butcher ... Valerie Davey
Ivor Salter ... Gravedigger
Andrew Sachs ... Man in Church


A troubled young girl goes to confession at the local church. Unfortunately, the sexually frustrated priest she confesses to becomes obsessed with her. At first, the priest stalks the girl, but later it is revealed that he will stop at nothing, including blackmail and murder, just to get close to her. Written by John Hilton

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Tortured by desires his vows forbid...master of a house of mortal sin!




R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Harry Andrews and Stewart Granger were also considered to play Father Xavier Meldrum. See more »


The cameraman is seen in the mirror when the daughter enters her bedroom and moves about at the beginning of the film. See more »


Miss Brabazon: [to Meldrum's infirm mother] He's gone out again, I'm afraid... you're all alone again... with me.
See more »


Featured in Courting Controversy (2005) See more »

User Reviews

A mostly successful exercise in 70's British Horror
2 January 2021 | by acidburn-10See all my reviews

This is another decent directing effort by Pete Walker with a captivating premise that is well executed and maintains a dark & macabre interest throughout (mostly), although the pacing does lag in a few places, but the brooding atmosphere & intriguing performances does enough to keep you interested until the chilling climax. The film's tone is relentlessly bleak and grim, yet the effective and really quite compelling, with some decent & chilling death scenes throughout.

The cast here are pretty-stellar with standout performances by Anthony Sharp as the demented and fantastic performance as the unhinged and repressed Father Meldrum with his layered performance that's well-written for his tortured character. Pete Walker's mainstay Shelia Keith also gives a standout performance as the overbearing housekeeper with a sinister presence. Norman Eshley & Stephanie Beacham adds some much-needed warmth with their blossoming relationship & both have decent chemistry together, despite the movie's overwhelming gloom. Then there's Susan Penhaligon who plays the troubled Jenny who becomes the object of the priest's obsession. She does a fine job, but could have been given more to do, as she's pretty much absent from the climax.

On the whole this a really cracking and tense horror/thriller with some cool Giallo elements that although the pace may drag a bit at times, its still worth a watch.

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Release Date:

March 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Confessional See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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