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A noirish thriller with crisp black and white cinematography, Scream of Fear (aka Taste of Fear) is creepy, atmospheric, and well made. Its well thought out soundscape includes intentional silence, soft nature sounds, and frightening, unexplained thumps and crashes, which draw the vulnerable protagonist toward scenes of horror - only then does the dramatic music strike, as well as the title scream. Almost completely free of blood and gore, Scream of Fear relies largely on technical artistry to create a chilling mood around a convoluted, twisting, giallo-like plot, which meanders toward an abrupt but fairly satisfying ending.
Gem of a flick. Satisfying. Not a boring moment.
Scream of Fear has like eleventy bajillion plot twists and a script to justify most if not all of them, it's as suspenful as Hitchcock's best movies, and it's got some really good actors and lighting to help with that. Either this or Curse of Frankenstein is Hammer's best movie.
Surprisingly classy Hammer Horror film about a young woman in a wheelchair (Susan Strasberg) who returns to your family home after her father's disappearance. She then begins seeing his dead body in different place, but she's the only one who can see it. She then begins investigating her fathers disappearance with the help of her chauffeur, Ronald Lewis (who looks startlingly similar to David Hasselhoff). The film is not as in-your-face with sex and violence as their later horror films, but is more focuses on suspense, atmosphere, and some genuinely scary moments. Christopher Lee also appears in the film in a supporting role. Lee has called this the best Hammer film he appeared in and he may very well be right.
Susan Strasberg keeps seeing her dead father around the estate after having been away for 10 years - except he is supposed to be very much alive according to her stepmother! With the aid of her father's chauffeur, Strasberg tries to solve the mystery, even as those around her indicate that they are concerned for her sanity. Of course, if her father is really dead, then Strasberg is set to inherit his millions. This provides a motive for doing her in - and her father too - or so she begins to think. It is hard to separate the paranoia from the reality at times in this weird tale from Hammer studios. Director Seth Holt allows stillness and silence to create suspense and absorb the viewer in the potential horror before her or him. Yet something is not quite right in this solid spooky chiller!
Strasberg's doe-eyed dedication to her role and Douglas Slocombe's brilliant black-and-white cinematography counterbalance the film's increasingly ridiculous plot turns, which nonetheless have a crude, jaw-dropper effectiveness.
Excellent little thriller from Hammer
This movie reminded me of "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte", but then this was made three years before that one. I wonder if this movie influenced the script or story of that. Well, either way I like this one better. Maybe it's because Susan Strasberg is easier on the eyes than Bette Davis, lol. Maybe it's because the music isn't so over-the-top, purposely scary. This twists at the end are they payoff for your patience. And even I didn't see the last one coming...or going as the case may be. Enjoy! It's worth watching.
A memorable thriller, though it could be more appealing. There's some great mystery moments, nice twists, and a good ending. Decent characters, and fair pacing.
Hammer Productions was not always making monster movies, and produced many thrillers- often affectionately deemed mini-Hitchcocks- which were just as adept as the studio's creature features at building mounting suspense. This beautifully photographed black-and-white chiller features outstanding acting and direction, all out of a perfectly twisted screenplay by Hammer veteran Jimmy Sangster. The film is constantly readjusting itself, first as a psychological thriller, then as a ghost story, then a perverse whodunit, and all of its sub-genre dips works as well as the last. Christopher Lee plays a relatively small but important part in the movie, but it is the lead performances by Susan Strasberg (a victim of paranoia) and Ronald Lewis (the driver of her father's estate, and the only one who believes her startling ghostly sightings) that drive the film forward at such a wickedly effective pace, and make the final revelation so shocking.