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Anguish (1987)

Angustia (original title)
A controlling mother uses telepathic powers to send her middle-aged son on a killing spree.



(screenplay), (dialogue)
5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mother
... John
Talia Paul ... Patty
Àngel Jové ... Killer (as Angel Jove)
Clara Pastor ... Linda
Isabel García Lorca ... Caroline (as Isabel Garcia Lorca)
Nat Baker ... Teaching Doctor - Old Movie
Edward Ledden ... Doctor - Old Movie
Gustavo Gili ... Student 1 - Old Movie
Antonio Regueiro ... Student 2 - Old Movie
Joaquín Ribas ... Student 3 - Old Movie
Janet Porter ... Laboratory Nurse - Old Movie
Patrice Manget ... Nurse at Clinic - Old Movie
Merche Gascón ... Nurse at Clinic - Old Movie
Jose M. Chucarro ... Caroline's Boyfriend - Old Movie (as Jose M.ª Chucarro)


A film-within-a-film thriller about two teen girls among a small group of people whom are terrorized in a movie theater by a killer while watching a horror film about a murderous optometrist who stalks his victims in a movie theater in the film. Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The eyes of the city are mine.


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

8 January 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anguish  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Mother's role was first offered to Bette Davis, but due to scheduling conflicts, could not do it. See more »


Alice Pressman, the Mother: [about a patient miss-treating her son] She doesn't know how hard you struggle
John Pressman: [Simpering] John is your best boy isn't he mother?
Alice Pressman, the Mother: [as John consumes a concotion of liquids mixed with sliced bananas] Yes John... you're my best boy and the best surgeon in town.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the film ends, we suddenly see the credits scrolling up on a completely different movie screen, together with another completely different cinema audience of onlookers observing it before getting up and leaving one by one until the final onlookers stand up and walk to the left with the screen going black as he/she does so (implying that the real storyline was also yet another film within film). See more »


Referenced in Scream 2 (1997) See more »


Performed by Cecil Milner
Published by KPM Music Library
See more »

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User Reviews

Anguish: exactly the feeling I experienced watching this garbage.
12 March 2017 | by See all my reviews

John (Michael Lerner), an orderly at a hospital, is hypnotised by his controlling midget mother (Zelda Rubinstein) who sends him to kill people and remove their eyes. After twenty two minutes of confusing horror, in which John's snail-loving 'mother' listens in on her pigeon-fancier son's murderous activities using a large shell (?!?!), it is revealed that everything we have seen thus far is a film within a film called The Mommy, being watched by an audience that includes teenagers Patty (Talia Paul) and Linda (Clara Pastor).

Terrified by the on screen carnage, Patty leaves the theatre and visits the loo, where she becomes convinced that the killer from The Mommy is lurking. She heads back to tell Linda, who reluctantly investigates and discovers that a copycat psycho (Àngel Jové) armed with a gun is preparing to go on a killing spree.

Cutting back and forth between The Mommy (a film that I doubt would draw in the crowds) and the 'real' action, director Bigas Luna experiments in mixing art-house surrealism with the slasher genre, which go together like oil and water, and chucks in some pretentious meta-cinema for good measure. The result is a woeful experience—tedious, repetitive, and thoroughly irritating (as if any film headlined by Rubinstein could be anything but!).

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