Scream of Fear (1961)





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The British writer/director team of Jimmy Sangster and Seth Holt was never satisfied unless it scared the bejeepers out of its audience. Scream of Fear stars Susan Strasberg as the crippled daughter of Ann Todd, whom she meets for the first time during a vacation on the Riviera. There's something unsettling about Strasberg's surroundings and her mother's behavior. But when Strasberg insists that she's seen the dead body of her father, it is she who is considered off the beam, while everyone else is treated as normal. Perhaps the authorities are right; perhaps Strasberg is merely neurotic and overwrought. And perhaps there's more than one plot twist ahead of us as we draw nearer and nearer the truth. Scream of Fear was originally released in Great Britain as Taste of Fear.
Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
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Written By:
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Columbia Pictures


Susan Strasberg
as Penny Appleby
Ann Todd
as Jane Appleby
Ronald Lewis
as Robert
Christopher Lee
as Dr. Gerrard
John Serret
as Inspector Legrand
Leonard Sachs
as Spratt
Anne Blake
as Marie
Fred Johnson
as Father
Bernard Brown
as Gendarme
Richard Klee
as Plainclothes Sergeant
Madame Lobegue
as Swiss Air Hostess
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Critic Reviews for Scream of Fear

All Critics (1)

The story has more twists than a pretzel, and they're all just as delicious.

Full Review… | October 16, 2008
Combustible Celluloid

Audience Reviews for Scream of Fear

By 1961 Hammer had been churning out Gothic horror movies for the better part of five years and writer Jimmy Sangster was eager to try his hand at something new, namely a psychological thriller influenced by recent screen adaptations of works by the French writing team of Boileau-Narcejac, which had included Clouzot's Les Diaboliques and Hitchcock's Vertigo. Further experiments within this genre were to follow, such as the luridly titled Maniac and Paranoiac. If the ultimate failure of Sangster's attempt to drag Hammer into the 20th Century is evidenced by the fact that the studio was still making Gothic horror movies right up until it closed its doors in the mid 70s, Taste of Fear is still an excellent movie, atmospheric, perfectly cast and superbly photographed by one of the best in the business, Douglas Slocombe.

Stephen M
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

Scream of Fear aka Taste of Fear (1961) is the very best Hammer film ever put on screen.. The story concerns a girl in a wheelchair going to live with her Dad whom she hasn't seen in years. Upon arrival, she meets her stepmother for the first time and is informed that her Dad is away on business. That night, she investigates a strange light in the summer house and discovers here dead father. In her horrified state, she falls into the pool. After she's revived, an investigation of the summer house reveals nothing. As the strange events continue to occur, the local doctor begins to doubt her sanity. But, with the help of the chauffeur, she's determined to get to the bottom of the mystery before she is either killed or driven insane. Anymore of the story would ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen the movie. I've seen some call Scream of Fear "predictable". While I agree to a certain extent, there are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep most anyone guessing. While I may have seen some of the events coming, I could have never guessed the ending. To me, it was an "edge of the seat" movie from start to finish. The acting is first rate. All four of the major characters are brilliantly played. Susan Strasberg is convincingly fragile as the wheelchair-bound Penny Appleby. Ronald Lewis and Ann Todd are perfect as the chauffeur and stepmother, respectively. And, although all he does is come to dinner and talk psycho mumbo jumbo, Christoper Lee is mysterious and convincing as Dr. Gerrard. Everything else about this film, from the beautiful black & white photography to the creepy score, is perfect. I've really got nothing bad to say. 5 stars 7-27-13

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


Scream of Fear is a modern (modern for the time at least) Hammer thriller that gets its point across very well with beautiful black and white photography, moody (in a good way) direction and some subdued acting. The story starts off pretty decently and to avoid becoming predictable takes a turn which offers up a great twist. Unfortunately its explained so horrendously and complexly through a bit of Rube Goldberg dialogue that not even Susan Strasberg's foxiness can save the whole Scream of Fear experience. I'm not the kind of moviegoer that needs things explained so simply that anything else is incomprehensible. The final scene traded in ghastliness for a bit of comedy but that's just me. If it weren't for the ending Scream of Fear could've been great.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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