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FRIGHTMARE

Written By:

John Higgins
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There may be a little confusion imminent for British horror fans, given that the title of this 1983 cult classic (released originally by Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma Team) shares its title with the 1974 Pete Walker classic. However, before the yelps of disappointment from those of you expecting the British film subside and you head for the nearest DVD exchange store (or go eBay-ing for blood), please do take a moment to give this cult gem from the 1980s a look, as there is every possibility that it might just be of equal interest.

Confusion may well continue as the film opens, as Frightmare plays with its original title of The Horror Star on this entry in 88 Films’ Slasher Classics Collection. Those who have bought previous releases in the series like The Bogey Man, Nightmares In A Damaged Brain and X-Ray, will certainly want to add to their growing collections here.

Ferdinand Mayne plays veteran horror star Conrad Razhoff, whose legacy is tested to the limit by a director of a new commercial he is appearing in – and then even further when he pushes the director off the balcony of the building in which they’re shooting. However, his earlier horror films are getting some appreciation from a student horror film society who appreciate his work. After he visits their school, Conrad suddenly dies. The students, on a dare, decide to steal Conrad’s body from the tomb where he resides but, before long, they become involved in a very nightmarish and real rendition of one of his classic films…

Frightmare / The Horror Star is very much of its time, and that is to be expected given how some films from the 1980s date quicker than others because of the hair and fashions. Yet the basic idea at the heart of it would actually make for a pretty good reboot or remake today if the right director or writer could rework it.

Stylistically, it is reminiscent of some of those classic Hammer House of Horrors and Phantasm, and it does retain some good old cultish charm throughout. This certainly will have some appeal for many, particularly newer fans who are checking out older titles for the first time. Fans of the 1980s sex comedy classic Porky’s can also see a detective in this film played by the late Chuck Mitchell, who played the title character who screwed over those Angel Beach High teens.

Picture and audio are first rate, taken from the original 35mm camera negative via a 2K restoration. Other virtues in this Blu-ray update include a host of extras, commentaries, and interviews with the cast and crew.

FRIGHTMARE / DIRECTOR: NORMAN THADDEUS VANE / SCREENPLAY: NORMAN THADDEUS VANE / STARRING: FERDY MAYNE, LUCA BERCOVICI, NITA TALBOT / CERT: 15 / RELEASE DATE: 10TH SEPTEMBER 2018

John Higgins

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