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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Frightmare aka Cover Up [Blu-ray]

 

(Pete Walker, 1974)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Peter Walker (Heritage) Ltd.

Video: Redemption / Kino

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:26:44.282

Disc Size: 34,971,599,598 bytes

Feature Size: 25,530,625,344 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.93 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 18th, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Pete Walker and cinematographer Peter Jessop

• For the Sake of Cannibalism (11:56)

• Sheila Keith Profile (13:53)

• Pete Walker Trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

Description: Just released from an insane asylum, an elderly British couple (Davies and Keith) retire to a remote farmhouse, where Keith immediately resumes her cannibalistic activities, while Davies covers up for her. In addition to knocking off the psychiatrist sent to check up on them, Keith even enlists her adult daughter (Butcher) in the service of her perversion. Easily the best of notorious British gore director Walker's efforts (and that's including the sadistic House of Whipcord, 1974), this film is stylishly directed and contains several good performances, most notably that of Keith.

Excerpt from TV Guide located HERE

 

 

The Film:

Frightmare (1974) - With Frightmare following on House of Whipcord, David McGillivray's scriptwriting is undoubtedly having a marked effect on Walker's exploitation pictures. Where he used to settle for routine plots, his films now teem with demonic life, plus vicious and genuinely disturbing shock effects. Frightmare is about a psychopathic mum (Keith) who has the nasty habit of going at her victims with an electric drill before devouring them raw. It is far better written and acted than you might expect, and Walker's direction is on another level altogether from Cool It Carol! or The Flesh and Blood Show. The problem is that there is absolutely no exposition or analysis, no flexibility about the theme; still contained within a basic formula, it tends to leave a highly unpleasant aftertaste.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Sheila Keith, eh? Quite how director Pete Walker decided that such a sweet-looking mumsy type could play the variety of nutters she does in his films is anyone's guess. I'll just put it down to the man's genius.

In Frightmare she's a deranged cannibal granny, who spends much of her time luring people into her home to have their fortunes read. Of course, reading these poor unfortunates' fortunes doesn't take very long at all when "You will be brutally killed and eaten within the next ten minutes" is a dead cert.

Sheila has been released from psychiatric care after being "cured", her unfortunate (and sane) husband being so much in love with her that he had himself committed too to remain close.

Excerpt from British Horror Films located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Much to the delight of his fans, Pete Walker's Frightmare has made it to Blu-ray from Kino's Redemption label.  The image takes a wide step beyond the flat, artifact-ridden, and questionable colors of the old DVD package reviewed HERE (and compared, a few captures, below).  This is dual-layered with a very high bitrate and I expect this is as good as the film has ever looked on digital. There is a tightness and depth - skin tones may be a tad warm at times but I'm not complaining. The SD was in an odd ratio and this 1.78:1 shows more information in the frame - mostly on either top or bottom of the frame. Colors seem more authentic to my eye and there was no noise to speak of. Pretty solid. This Blu-ray probably looks like the film Frightmare and it advances beyond the last DVD editions in several key areas - notably detail and colors.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Shriek Show (Media Blasters) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Redemption - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Shriek Show (Media Blasters) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Redemption - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

Shriek Show (Media Blasters) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Redemption - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The linear PCM 2.0 channel track at 1536 kbps does a competent job of exporting the film's modest sound requirements. There is a bit of weakness in the high end but I can only anticipate that this is a function of the 40-year old production's audio limitations. The music is quite excellent by none-other than Stanley Myers - who, besides doing a coupe of other Pete Walker films - has Cimino's The Deer Hunter on his resume, and Nicolas Roeg's amusing Insignificance. Bravo! The audio here is subject to the weakness of the production and this is probably as good as it will get. There are some effects with depth via the lossless. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Included is the same commentary by Pete Walker and cinematographer Peter Jessop from the previous DVD. I didn't indulge a second time - but I recall it being fairly interesting - especially to those keen on the director's work. There are two new video releases; Elijah Drenner's 2014 For the Sake of Cannibalism runs a dozen minutes chatting with Pete Walker and we also get a fairly in-depth profile of Sheila Keith running closer to a 1/3 of an hour. She was frequently seen in 60's TV series series such as The Saint, Public Eye and Sherlock Holmes. Fans will appreciate these additional supplements. There are also some Pete Walker film trailers which are usually quite intense/exploitive.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I'm no expert on Pete Walker's oeuvre but I think this is the best of his films that I have seen. I have a soft spot for Die Screaming Marianne (probably because of the pouty Susan George). Frightmare has a nice balance, but eventually extends beyond it (I'd be disappointed if hit didn't!) This style of 70's Brit horror is quite appealing - in a more modern vein of stories to the Hammer 'classic monster' variety. I was pleased with this Redemption Blu-ray. I only wished I had saved my viewing for a late Friday night! This presentation was world's away from the SD I watched years ago - with a stronger film-sense and visceral impact (what this film evokes!). We certainly recommend to those keen on the genre. If you are going to give Pete Walker a chance - take Frightmare as the first option! 

Gary Tooze

February 26th, 2014

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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