Scream of Fear

September 23, 2011

I don't remember what the movie was, but when I was a little girl I caught part of a horror film that my parents were watching. It was from the 1960's or 70's, and all I remember was a dead body hanging upside down from the ceiling with blood dripping onto a table. The scene probably wasn't even that gruesome, but to my tiny innocent mind it was absolutely horrific! I've always been pretty sure that it was a Hammer film. I have no idea if it actually was, but I've kind of avoided them ever since.

So imagine my surprise when I accidentally watched one tonight (once I saw HAMMER FILMS in the credits, I winced with fear, but decided to keep going because of the amazing cast) and absolutely loved it! It wasn't the least bit gory. In fact, it was exactly the kind of scary movie that I adore! Psychological trickery, unexpected twists and a spooky atmosphere can be so much more terrifying than blood and gore. Honestly, I think the unseen makes bloody monsters jealous.. it can send ten times the amount of shivers up backs, give double the amount of goosebumps and cause three times as many nightmares. I watched this movie alone, in the dark, and it scared the living daylights out of me, without one "eww, yuck! Quick, avert your eyes!" sort of scene.

Scream of Fear has an all-star fantastic British cast headed by Susan Strasberg, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee and Ronald Lewis. It's about a wheelchair bound girl who, after her companion mysteriously dies in a drowning accident, goes to visit her father that she hasn't seen in ten years. When she arrives, she's told that he left in the middle of the night on an urgent business trip, leaving her alone with his new wife, the chauffeur and a suspicious French doctor. I can't really give away much more than that because the thrills start right from the beginning!

Scream of Fear is available in a (very inexpensive!) Hammer film box-set on Amazon here.


Terence Towles Canote said...

Scream of Fear is one of the best Hammer Films out there. And it shows why Hammer was so great at what they do. While they are best known for their Dracula and Frankenstein movies, and for introducing blood to the silver screen, they always knew that wasn't seen can be scarier than what is.

Andi B. Goode said...

Ooh, this sounds good. Adding it to my already-too-large list. Hehe.
Also, I think I've only seen one Hammer film - one of the Christopher Lee Dracula ones but not sure which. Taste the Blood of Dracula, I think.
-Andi x

Matthew Coniam said...

Wow! Silents & Talkies not only back but back and running Hammer movies!
This was one of the first films I showed my wife when we started going out, and it scared the hell out of her, especially the bit with the dead guy in the outhouse.
Susan Strasberg is lovely in it too - she should have been a big star on this evidence. More than a touch of the Audreys.
Incidentally, if the film you saw was a Hammer, I expect it was Dracula Prince of Darkness. It's not a table as such (it's a big stone tomb with the dead Drac in it), but if you only caught a glimpse it could pass as one! The rest of it - dead guy hanging upside down, dripping blood - is as you remember it.