FRIGHTMARE (DVD)

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 1982
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 86 minutes
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“Frightmare” follows a group of movie buffs belonging to “The Horror Film Society” as they mourn the recent death of their favorite silver screen star Conrad Radzoff.. Radzoff’s character is drawn as an obvious nod to an aging Vincent Price coupled with a Christopher Lee accent and a very nasty Bela Lugosi-like disposition. Soon these mourners become so overzealous at the notion of finally meeting their idol (live or dead ) that they actually steal his body from its tomb and retire to an old sound stage for a night of thrills and chills.

Radzoff’s devotees party with his stiffened corpse, then they drink to him and even dance with him. All behaviors that the snobbish dead boogieman would, no doubt, find most appalling, but once his admirers’ party begins to die out it’s time for Radzoff to get down to some serious business.

Through the joint efforts of his wife and a medium, Radzoff is reborn and he parades about the sound stage murdering his biggest fans in a slew of novel and inventive fashions. A floating coffin, of all things, makes contact with one of the girls and smashes her head and face to bits. A young Jeffery Combs is decapitated and, in short order, loses his right ear to a hungry raven. Apparently Combs was not cast in this role due entirely to his acting talents but because they needed a brunette to match up properly with the prop head. And in a scene ripped straight from “Blood Feast” one teenager has his tongue torn clean from his throat.

More and more accolades to horror films past and present rear their heads; posters for “Frankenstein,” “Zombie” and “The Hills Have Eyes” can be seen looming in the background. Also, many scenes will be familiar to cinephiles as the film spins out with a series of monster movie salutes to, “Dracula,” “The Abominable Dr. Phibes,” “White Zombie,” “Phantasm,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Wizard of Gore” and “Phantom of the Paradise.”

“Frightmare,” not to be confused with Pete Walkers’ 1975 Euroshocker of the same name, was shot in 1982 under the more apt working title “Horror Star.” The film boasts a creepy enough atmosphere with jarring sound effects that work quite well with the kooky killings. The downside includes a cast that “hams it up” to the point of absurdity and the print, used for this DVD, is incredibly dark and grainy. “Frightmare” was banned in Iceland.



Posted on October 29, 2005 in Reviews by
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