Melodramatic script by Richard Matheson echoes with cliches from other stories set in sinister mansions in English countryside. But it provides Tallulah Bankhead with numerous chances to display virtuosity, from sweet-tongued menace to maniacal blood-lust, as religious-fanatic mother of Stefanie Powers' dead fiance.

Melodramatic script by Richard Matheson echoes with cliches from other stories set in sinister mansions in English countryside. But it provides Tallulah Bankhead with numerous chances to display virtuosity, from sweet-tongued menace to maniacal blood-lust, as religious-fanatic mother of Stefanie Powers’ dead fiance.

Another standout in small cast is Peter Vaughan, ne’er-do-well major domo of manse, who has roving eye for Powers’ trim figure and shapely legs, which are in sharp contrast to drabness of his housekeeper-wife, well-played by Yootha Joyce.

Story line has Powers, modern miss, paying courtesy call to former fiance’s mother, only to be held prisoner while the mother tries to cleanse her soul so she will be fit to meet the son in the hereafter. Escape attempts are violently thwarted by Vaughan, Joyce and Donald Sutherland, who gives vivid portrayal of giant halfwit.

Fanatic

UK

Production

Hammer. Director Silvio Narizzano; Screenplay Richard Matheson; Camera Arthur Ibbetson; Editor James Needs; Music Wilfred Josephs

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Tallulah Bankhead Stefanie Powers Peter Vaughan Maurice Kaufmann Yootha Joyce Donald Sutherland

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