It’s no secret that Hammer Films made a few Hitchcock styled thrillers in the early 1960’s and although they are on a Hammer budget without Dracula or the Baron, that shouldn’t stop one from enjoying these nifty thrillers. Scream of Fear was penned by Hammer regular Jimmy Sangster and eerily directed by Seth Holt who would go on to do 2 more Hammer thrillers before his untimely death at the age of 47. Unlike the studio’s Gothic horrors this film is in black and white and takes place in present day France where American actress Susan Strasberg stars as Penny Appleby returning to live with her father after a 10 year absence. Due to a fall she is crippled and wheelchair bound. Enter the new stepmother whom she has never met and a corpse that resembles her father showing up in unexpected places. She suspects along with the family chauffeur played by Ronald Lewis that someone may be trying to drive her crazy for the inheritance money she is entitled to if indeed her dear father is dead. With Christopher Lee hanging around as the family physician one can’t be too sure. At 81 minutes the film like most Hammer productions moves quickly and the plot twists over the final 20 minutes are full of shocks and quite surprising as they unfold.
As a Hammer fan I pretty much enjoy everything the studio put out and this one is no different but I have to stress that this is a solid thriller and shouldn’t be missed if given the opportunity to catch it. Hammer King Christopher Lee turns up in a supporting role this time out donning a French accent and doing his best to keep the viewer guessing. If you’re looking to pair this up with another Hammer flick for an effective double feature, go with Oliver Reed in Paranoiac.
I’ve grown very fond of these Hitchcock-style thrillers over the years. This is probably the best of them and is very effective. The only problem is if you watch too many of them in a short space of time, then you start to notice their formulaic nature. They’re never less than entertaining though.
That’s probably what led to the studios downfall over time was recycling the successful formula they found. Another good one is The Snorkel. Thanks for stopping in.
I must pull this one and watch, also want to add that I LOVE Paranoiac! So if it’s anything like that I am sure to like it.
I just love Hammer films period. I am quite sure you will like this one as well. I imagine I’ll be doing more on their titles over time.
Congratulations on your new site, very well put together. I have also enjoyed the Hammer studio thrillers of the early 60’s that you mentioned, The Snorkel being another good one. One that you may have seen as well which is also excellent is Cash on Demand, a solid suspenser starring the always reliable Peter Cushing. By the way, I discuss a subject that you may find interesting in my blog filmgeek101.wordpress.com entitled “Not So Stiff-Upper Lip:Ten Visually Arresting British Films” from August of last year, if you get a chance please check it out if you get a chance. Thanks and enjoyed your post.
Thanks for stopping by and will be sure to check out that link as well. As for Cash on Demand, yes a good one and Props Peter (Cushing) is always a joy to watch. I have seen most of his films and even a rare one recently on youtube. Hitler’s Son. I thought it was a lost one from the late 70’s.