The Flesh and Blood Show - The Horror Films of Pete Walker [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - 88 Films
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (3rd July 2024).
The Film

"Celebrated as the 'Godfather of British Horror', Pete Walker is one of the most controversial exploitation filmmakers of the '60s and '70s. Graduating from saucy sex comedies and gangland dramas, Walker finally found tabloid infamy making gore-splattered horror movies (or "terror movies" as he preferred to call them)...

Die Screaming, Marianne: Marianne “The Hips” MacDonald (Straw Dogs' Susan George) lives life on the run, from go-go dancing in Portugal to shacking up and intending to marry Sebastian (Deep End's Christopher Sandford) after he picks her up hitchhiking and spirits her away to the relative safety of London. In spite of a two-week courtship, Marianne is suddenly having misgivings about marrying Sebastian and negotiates a clerical error that finds Sebastian’s best man Eli (Adventures of a Taxi Driver's Barry Evans) listed as her groom on the marriage certificate.

Marianne's decision turns out to be a good thing as Sebastian has been in contact with Marianne’s father “The Judge” (A Lizard in a Woman's Skin's Leo Genn) who is living in Algarve with his other daughter Hildegarde (Scream and Scream Again's Judy Huxtable) who are eager to get Marianne to reveal the number of a Swiss bank account left to her by her mother that includes a ton of money as well as incriminating documents on her father’s career. The Judge wants the documents and Hildegarde wants the money (and her father). When they learn from Sebastian (under duress) that Marianne is married, The Judge offers him a payment to bring Marianne to Portugal before her birthday, and Hildegarde makes her own deal with Sebastian…

Perhaps it’s the sun-struck Portuguese setting, but Die Screaming, Marianne almost at times feels like a Jess Franco film without the nudity and palpable atmosphere of sleaze despite the incestuous angle between Hildegarde and her father. Despite the potential for prurience, there is precious little for exploitation fans to enjoy. Other than a handful of entertaining bits in the first half – including some choice lines from Genn like "We do not mention money at my dinner table," followed by, "Now tell me, did you fornicate with Marianne?" and a sequence in which Eli is nearly "rubbed out" by two men posing as police officers (Jack the Ripper's Jon Laurimore and Night Must Fall's Martin Wyldeck) that is somewhat suspenseful as well as humorous. Other off-kilter touches include Marianne being more annoyed than shocked when she returns to Eli's flat and expects to find behind the morning paper and instead finds Sebastian, and slimy Sebastian realizing throughout the film that he is no match for either Marianne or Hildegarde. It is still a bit of a slog until about fifty minutes in when Marianne and Eli accompany Sebastian back to Portugal to "go see The Judge" knowing full well that Sebastian is not to be trusted. Things get interesting once all of the main characters are finally brought together, with some skulking around The Judge’s villa and some attempted murders before things are wrapped up in a somewhat rushed fashion.

Kenneth Hendel (The Four Dimensions of Greta) skulks around as The Judge’s sinister servant/enforcer Rodriguez while Anthony Sharp appears here in a brief role as a justice of the peace but would later take the lead as House of Mortal Sin's killer priest. Composer/music director Johnny Green’s daughter Kathe sings the mournful theme song ("Love and I will never meet, love's not for you Marianne") which initially seems a bit trite but ultimately does suggest that Marianne's aimlessness is part resignation about her inability to trust other people. Cinematographer Norman Langley had shot Walker’s Man of Violence and would work again with him as DP on his last film The House of the Long Shadows.

The Flesh and Blood Show: A group of young British film and stage actors are summoned by to the long-deserted Dome Theatre at the end of a pleasure pier at Eastcliffe-on-sea to create the provocative "The Flesh and Blood Show" revue with the hope of a tour and an opening on the West End. Among them are Julia Dawson (Scars of Dracula's Jenny Hanley) who has recently made her film debut and has been advised by her agent to pick up some stage experience and a paycheck in the eight weeks before her next project, roommates Carol (The Devil's Men's Luan Peters) and Jane (Scream ... and Die!'s Judy Matheson), practical joker John (The Love Ban's David Howey), Australian Tony (Four Dimensions of Great's Tristan Rogers), along with Manchester duo Angela (The Ups and Downs of a Handyman's Penny Meredith) and Simon (Tower of Evil's Robin Askwith). When producer Mike (Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150's Ray Brooks) turns up, he reveals that he knows no more than they about their employers the mysterious Theatre Group 40.

With Eastcliffe-on-sea dead during the off-season, the troupe are forced to bed down in the theater itself. Carol quickly pairs off with Tony, incurring the jealousy of both Jane and John; however, Jane finds a warm bedmate in Angela. A scream in the night draws Mike down below the stage in the scene dock where he discovers a working guillotine prop, a headless corpse, and Angela's head mounted next to the other severed head props. When Mike brings back the police and the body is missing. While everyone else believes that it is another one of John's macabre pranks, Mike also thinks John is responsible but that it was no prank even after a note turns up ostensibly from Angela explaining that she has gone home. An attack on Carol in which she is nearly raped and stabbed to death combined with John's disappearance seems to wrap things up for the police; however, those remaining in the theater cannot help but feel that John (or someone else) is still lurking in the building. Angela's replacement Sarah (Satan's Slave's Candace Glendenning) turns up quicker than expected because she quite conveniently lives local, Julia either seems to be succumbing to the morbid atmosphere of the theatre – where they learn from Sarah's aunt (An American Werewolf in London's Elizabeth Bradley) than a famous Shakespearean actor, his wife, and a young actor all went missing during the war – and lonely old man Major Bell (The Godsend's Patrick Barr) seems more interested in "all the pretty ladies" than their craft.

Not really a slasher precursor or even really a proto-body count film despite the set-up, The Flesh and Blood Show offers plenty of flesh and a bit of blood but really feels more like a sexed-up spin on an Agatha Christie or Edgar Wallace mystery. If the basic setup of actors being stalked and killed in a theater anticipates the more exploitative Australian slasher Nightmares and Michele Soavi's stylish and brutal Stagefright – and even loosely the giallo The Killer Reserved Nine Seats and Dario Argento's iconic Opera with its Hamlet-esque "The play's the thing" exposure of the killer – it is because of the limitations of the setting on horror scenarios; but the resolution to the film suggests that Walker and screenwriter Alfred Shaughnessy (Crescendo) were less interested in the exploitation scenario than the perverted and hypocritical intentions of the killer "trapping wasps in a jar." It is, as such, perfectly appropriate that the killer commands the screen eliciting both pity and contempt during the climax in both the present and the 3D flashback – upstaged only by poor Stuart Bevan (Burke & Hare) and Jane Cardew (Demons of the Mind) who show more bare flesh than the rest of the young cast combined in a location exposed to the freezing ocean – while the young actors are left to flatly clarify things without even the theatricality of the Psycho coda; however, Walker has one more revelation up his sleeve as the actors realize they have a hole in the plot, ending on a more appropriately "theatrical" note.

Cinematographer Jessop does the heavy-lifting in conveying the atmosphere of the misty seaside exteriors, the empty vastness of the theater, and the treacherous underside along with some striking use of eye lights to illuminate faces even off stage in instances that lend a "theatrical" air to odd moments like Sarah's arrival seemingly only moments after Mike called up to London for a replacement. Ornadel's organ-dominated scoring feels less bombastic than his other Walker accompaniment. The supporting cast includes brief appearances by actor/singer Jess Conrad (The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle) as an actor in a film-within-a-film and Jane Cardew (Suburban Wives) as the victim in the 3D sequence.

House of Whipcord: Young French model Ann-Marie (Old Dracula's Penny Irving) – whose nude photo shoot in Kennsington Gardens got her arrested and fined – falls for the fatal charm of mysterious writer Mark E. Dessart (Moon Zero Two's Robert Tayman) who invites her to meet his parents at their remote country house. The house – to no one's shock but Ann-Marie – turns out to be a house of correction for "depraved women" where a private court presided over by blind ex-judge Bailey (The Flesh and Blood Show's Patrick Barr) and prison governess Mrs. Wakehurst (Sunday Bloody Sunday's Barbara Markham) dispense stricter sentences than the more permissive court system in the outside world, which are then enforced by sadistic guards Bates (Sons and Lovers' Dorothy Gordon) and Walker (Walker favorite Sheila Keith in her first role for him).

Her cellmate Claire (The Internecine Project's Judy Robinson) advises her of the prison’s three-strikes policy: 1) solitary, 2) flogging, and 3) execution by hanging. When Karen (Percy's Progress' Karen David) gets her third strike by hoarding food – she prefers bread to bangers and mash – Ann-Marie convinces Claire to help her rescue Karen but the plan is botched, landing Ann-Marie in solitary, Claire a date with the lash, and a speedy hanging for Karen. Mrs. Wakehurst is disturbed by Ann-Marie’s defiance since she reminds her of the French girl whose suicide lead to her leaving her post in disgrace thirty years before; so she decides to entrap Ann-Marie in order to hasten her execution. Meanwhile, back in London, Ann-Marie’s roommate Julia (Virgin Witch's Ann Michelle) is trying to track her down after nine days without contact, but will she get to her in time?

House of Whipcord was the first of Walker’s four collaborations with David McGillivray – who has a small role in the film as a photographer – a writer for Films and Filming who expressed an interest in screenwriting and would also pen Norman J. Warren's Satan's Slave and Terror. After Walker's partnership with Alfred Shaughnessy came to an end with the latter's back-to-back sprawling television projects Upstairs, Downstairs and The Cedar Tree), Walker contacted McGillivray with his idea for the film. As far as women-in-prison films go, it is an unerotic experience far from the "flogging fantasy" the poster art suggests, but it is reasonably tense despite the script which makes Ann-Marie so dim it is hard to root for her, and a rather lopsided Psycho-esque twist structure which needs to pad out Julia's investigation with endless scenes of her fighting with her boyfriend Terry (The Flesh and Blood Show's Ray Brooks) about leaving his wife.

Barr is underused as the blind judge who realizes all too late that he has enabled corrupt and sadistic behavior in the name of justice. Markham, despite being the film's most vile character, is somehow at the same time more sympathetic than Ann-Marie because the character has demons and the actress conveys them well beyond what the script gives her. Keith’s performance – which almost but never actually spills over into camp – keeps the atmosphere from ever getting too grim ("I'm going to make you ashamed of your body Ann-Marie Di Verney, I'm going to see to that personally!"), and both she and Gordon manage to eke out some audience sympathy late in the film because of a hint of concern and compassion underlying Walker's veiled lesbian interest in Ann-Marie, and Bates in her display of where her loyalties ultimately lie near the end of the film. Tayman is underused, but is as effective a presence here as he was in his limited screen time as Count Mitterhouse in the opening and closing scenes of Hammer's Vampire Circus. In spite of Julia showing some fire when rushed to trial, Michelle's character is really just a means to a tidy ending. Celia Imrie (The Nightmare Man) is one of the other barely-glimpsed inmates and Walker regular Ivor Salter (On the Buses) plays a truck driver who unknowingly thwarts Ann-Marie's escape attempt.

Frightmare: BBC TV make-up artist Jackie (Deborah Fairfax) tries to maintain a cheery, carefree facade even as she believes her fifteen-year-old half-sister Debbie (Kim Butcher) – for whom she has assumed guardianship after she was expelled from an orphanage – is more than just wild and could use some psychiatric counseling. Debbie thinks that Jackie is a hypocrite, not really waiting up for her at all hours but waiting so that she can sneak off herself as she does periodically in the middle of the night. What Debbie does not know is that Jackie makes weekly trips to a remote farmhouse in the country to deliver strange, bloody packages to her stepmother Dorothy (House of Whipcord's Sheila Keith) who was recently released from a mental institution and is being fretfully watched over by her husband Edmund (The Oblong Box's Rupert Davies).

Jackie finds some pleasant distraction when she meets young psychiatrist Graham Heller (Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter's Paul Greenwood) – friend of her colleague Merle's (Love is a Splendid Illusion's Fiona Curzon) boyfriend Robin (The Flesh and Blood Show's John Yule) – but when she constantly has to duck out of their dates early, Graham takes it upon himself to meet and counsel Debbie who has recently gotten into trouble with her biker boyfriend Alec (Silver Dream Racer's Edward Kalinski) who she goaded into a fight with a barman (Quest for Love's Michael Sharvell-Martin) who refused to serve her due to her age and is now missing. Jackie tries to establish boundaries with her family, but she becomes increasingly overburdened as Graham tells her that Debbie should know that her parents are actually alive and when Edmund confesses that he thinks that Dorothy is only faking being better and may have fallen back on old habit… that is, luring unsuspecting customers to the farm for palm readings, killing them, and then feasting on their brains.

Frightmare is the pinnacle of Pete Walker horror films – and certainly the crown jewel of Pete Walker/David McGillivray films – a short (for Walker), well-paced, biting, grim, and utterly grisly piece with the bleakest of endings. While Die Screaming, Marianne's protagonist was a bit too world weary to be relatable, and The Flesh and Blood Show and House of Whipcord were "ensemble pieces" of barely-sketched exposition-moving characters, Frightmare's Jackie is one of Walker's and McGillivray's most compelling main characters. While the negative element of her family life initially seems to come from her stepmother and transferred to her half-sister, a series of compactly-written scenes depicting some very recognizable (even triggering) scenes of manipulation, guilt-tripping, and enabling – even figuratively throwing characters under the bus in presence knowing that their objections will fall on deaf ears or knowing they know it and will not even bother to defend themselves – reveals that some of Jackie's own coping strategies like her attempts to "mother" her half-sister and stepmother coming across respectively as hypocritical and authoritarian are as destructive as her father's emotional co-dependency to his wife despite how much she terrifies him, proving that blood is not always thicker than water.

Although the film belongs to Sheila Keith who commands the screen under sometimes hellish lighting schemes by Walker regular Peter Jessop, Fairfax does not have to rely on any of the cheesecake antics of Walker's heroines in the surrounding films. Greenwood gives a good performance but he is stuck with the usual ineffectual Walker lead male role and is easily overshadowed by Yule and Kalinski but most of all Davies in one of his last theatrical roles. Die Screaming, Marianne's Leo Genn has a special appearance as Graham's superior along with Gerald Flood (Patton) who fills Graham in on Jackie's and Debbie's parents, but Fawlty Towers fans might not recognize Andrew Sachs as the film's first victim. Trisha Mortimer (London Voodoo) and Victoria Fairbrother (Cry of the Banshee) appear as featured victims.

House of Mortal Sin: When young craft shop owner Jenny Welch (Patrick's Susan Penhaligon) literally runs into schoolmate-turned-Catholic priest Bernard Cutler (See No Evil's Norman Eshley), she is initially hesitant about his offer to provide a listening sympathetic ear to her troubles with unfaithful, emotionally-abusive boyfriend Terry (The Flesh and Blood Show's Stuart Bevan) who has just walked out on her again. On impulse, Jenny goes to the church hoping to give confession to Bernard but she ends up unburdening herself to Father Xavier Meldrum (Die Screaming, Marianne's Anthony Sharp) and revealing more than she had intended, including the fact that she had had an abortion. Jenny hastily flees the church but Meldrum has become fixated and starts stalking her. When Jenny look for a more sympathetic ear in potential suitor Bob (Frightmare's John Yule), he becomes the victim of an apparent freak accident involving an exploding coffee pot.

When Jenny visits Father Meldrum at the vicarage to retrieve her lost keys, he attempts to get her to open up and horrifies her when he reveals he has tape-recorded her confession and threatens to send it to her parents unless she accepts his counsel. After Terry comes back and then vanishes after promising to confront Meldrum and retrieve the tape, Jenny believes Meldrum is responsible but her sister Vanessa (And Now the Screaming Starts' Stephanie Beachm) and Bernard – who has moved into their spare room – but they both believe Meldrum's explanation that she is overwrought after Bob's accident and Terry's abandonment and has misinterpreted his offers of spiritual counsel. As Meldrum escalates his campaign to possess Jenny, she may have found an ally in Mrs. Davey (Erik the Viking's Julia McCarthy) who believes Meldrum caused the suicide of her teenage daughter Valerie (Frightmare's Kim Butcher). Meldrum, however, has his own malevolent guardian angel in housekeeper Miss Brabazon (Frightmare's Sheila Keith) who keeps her ear to his door and her one good eye looking over his shoulder when not tormenting Meldrum's bedridden mother (Fragment of Fear's Hilda Barry).

A Catholic horror film coming after The Exorcist and the European boom of ripoff possession movies, House of Mortal Sin is calculated to outrage with its pre-The Thorn Birds romance between Bernard and Vanessa, psychotic priest, and murders with ecclesiastical objects like an incense burner, rosary beads, and poisoned communion wafers. It has much more in common with Italian gialli films involving Catholic priests real or fake and Walker's American lapsed Catholic equivalent Alfred Sole's considerably more biting Alice, Sweet Alice which actually is a whodunit but does also feature a suspicious, all-seeing presbytery housekeeper who also looks after a mute invalid. Walker and McGillivray, however, make no secret of the killer's identity – if Sharp's Meldrum is only represented by a cloaked figure wearing a gold crucifix during his attack on Bob, it seems more like it was due to Sharp not being available for the scene than raising the possibility that the culprit might actually be Bernard before he turns up with Vanessa – and instead depict the way he can drop his facade in front of Jenny with the full knowledge that his authority will never be questioned by anyone who happens upon them even when they are in a physical struggle.

Walker has never denied his Hitchcock influences, but there is only so much he can try to ape the likes of Shadow of a Doubt in this respect before stretching credulity to absurd degrees. While the viewer never doubts that Jenny will not be fazed by Meldrum's attempts to shame and blackmail her into submission with her confession about her abortion, the degree to which she is worn down by other people believing her to be making things up does not quite convince, and the film would be considerably tighter than the drawn-out one-hundred-and-five minutes if any of the characters behaved rationally. The script requires the effects of sedation to slow down Jenny during the middle of the film while Vanessa and Bernard seem more oblivious and self-involved than believably concerned about her. In between this laggy passage and an ending intended to be dark and cynical but ends up being utterly absurd and anti-climactic, the film momentarily achieves some emotional resonance when the viewer comes to realize that Meldrum and Brabazon share (albeit more pathologically) a fear of being alone that makes Bernard's decision to leave the church for Vanessa seem like the healthier choice, especially with its full endorsement by the bishop (Day of the Triffids' Mervyn Johns) who observes "If you stayed on, you'd be a hypocrite - and we've enough of those as it is." If not for the follow-up Schizo, House of Mortal Sin would be the least-satisfying Walker/McGillivray collaboration, but Peter Jessop's photography and lighting make the outside chill palpable and give the church interiors a hellish glow while Stanley Myers' score is at his most unnerving in it underlining use of a choir that does not seem like it took any inspiration at all from Jerry Goldsmith's Academy Award-winning score for The Omen. Frightmare's Andrew Sachs makes a brief appearance as another burdened visitor to the confessional. Future Razorback grizzled old timer Bill Kerr appears briefly as Valerie's father while House of Whipcord's Ivar Salter plays a gravedigger.

Schizo: No one believes newly married ice skater Samantha (Four of the Apocalypse's Lynne Frederick) when she fears that she is being stalked and terrorized by William Haskin (The Wild Geese's Jack Watson) who was institutionalized for the murder of her mother twenty years previous. Her husband Alan (The Great Escape's John Leyton) and her prank-playing best friend Beth (House of Mortal Sin's Stephanie Beacham) think she is just stressed, Beth's psychologist boyfriend Leonard (Repulsion's John Fraser) is more interested in probing her repressed traumatic memories than indulging her delusions of persecution, but people are beginning to die around her. Alan's housekeeper Mrs. Wallace (Up the Junction's Queenie Watts) suggests that Samantha consult the spirits via her daughter Joy (Frightmare's Trisha Mortimer), and the resulting séance just affirms that the killer is getting closer and closer to Samantha.

The final Walker/McGillivray collaborations, Schizo is the one that feels most like a body count picture – more so than The Flesh and Blood Show or Walker's next horror film The Comeback – because the plot so flimsily supports a handful of murders spaced periodically throughout the drawn-out running time. It is otherwise one all too obvious gimmick, what with the opening narration defining schizophrenia and the U.S. poster's tagline defining the disorder as "When the left hand doesn't know who the right hand is killing." Watson does his best, but Frederick is not a very interesting woman-in-peril. Co-star Beacham might have been a more interesting lead but seems too savvy to play a naif (and a bit too top-heavy for an ice skater). The longer the film tries to push the stalking angle, the more apparent the final revelation becomes, but the killings are brutal including death by sledgehammer and knitting needle. The film seems to quite overtly borrow from Argento's Deep Red with while also anticipating his later Trauma as the psychic reveals in a trance that the killer is present in the room and is then murdered in the rain. Jessop's photography as usual is handsome and even utilizes the eye-straining décor of Alan's swanky house to prove a disorienting backdrop for scenes of Samantha being terrorized, but Myers' score is the least satisfying of his collaborations with Walker even if largely avoids overt Herrmannisms.

The Comeback: Pop singer Nick Cooper (singer Jack Jones) has recently divorced his wife Gail (The Omen's Holly Palance) who convinced him to give up singing, and is planning to recording a comeback album in England. His agent Webster Jones (Charlie's Angels's David Doyle) arranges for him to stay in a country house staffed by housekeeper Mr. and Mrs. B (Last of the Summer Wine's Bill Owen and who else but Sheila Keith); which is just as well since Nick's riverside loft is a mess as an old hag with a sickle hacked Gail to pieces on the staircase and left her corpse to decompose. Nick finds further distraction in Webster’s secretary Linda (Bloodbath at the House of Death's Pamela Stephenson) but cries and laughter in the night, moldering corpses in the basement, and severed rotting heads in the hatbox set Nick on edge while everyone else thinks he’s cracking under pressure (well everyone else who hasn't been slashed and hacked to bits by the cackling old hag). Could the kindly old housekeepers know more than they are letting on – oh, come one, one of them is Sheila Keith, of course they do…

The Comeback was written by returning writer Die Screaming, Marianne's Murray Smith – rather than a dusted off Smith script like Schizo which was retrofitted by McGillivray – and it is a bit more "old dark house" than the McGillivrays. While the finished product is an amusing diversion, and Walker says in the interview that the combination of older leads and the showbiz setting made it a more mature mainstream thriller rather than a horror film. Walker himself admits he may have misjudged his audience by putting macho Jones in a role commonly characterized as a terrorized vulnerable, and sometimes scantily clad, "final girl" – although Jones does show a bit more skin than love interest Stephenson) – and he might have gotten away with it had he and Smith been able to engineer the kind of disturbing, blunt, violent set-pieces that characterized the best of the McGillivray collaborations in order to convincingly drive Jones into hysterics. All the same, it is interesting to see a male protagonist go through the motions under Keith's watchful eye.

Some other suspects are thrown in. Doyle's agent washes something red off of his hands in one scene and crossdresses in another scene, and young Harry (The Krays' Peter Turner) expresses a certain "otherness" in his slightly possessive behavior over Nick before he gets hacked up on a visit to the loft (this film might have been more novel had it taken the Schizo gimmick). House of Whipcord's Penny Irving returns in a small role and Richard Johnson (The Haunting) has a one scene role as Nick’s doctor. Jessop’s photography is a plus as usual, but Myers' score is the real standout this time around, preventing the accumulating moments of black comedy and absurdity from spilling over into camp. The climactic reveal of the killer's shrine should be shocker but the coverage is insufficient (a publicity still seen in some reference books gives the impression of Jones serenading a mummified corpse but there is really nothing so surreal). Walker tried to get away from the genre with an attempt at British kitchen-sink drama that might have had fans expecting a return to sex comedy in the ultimately ponderous Home Before Midnight (also written by Smith), and it would be another four years before Walker made his next and final film: his highest-budgeted horror film with an all-star cast as Cannon Films dusted off the stage play "Seven Keys to Baldpate" for the quite endearing Gothic/slasher hybrid flop House of the Long Shadows, after which he nearly directed a Sex Pistols documentary before ultimately retiring from film.


Released theatrically by London Screen Distributors, Die Screaming, Marianne had a couple early pre-cert VHS releases but avoided becoming a Video Nasty despite the title. It reached DVD stateside first as part of Image Entertainment's Euroshock Collection in an underwhelming open-matte transfer although it was uncut unlike some of the U.S. video releases, one of which was ten minutes shorter while another was entirely missing the prologue. Anchor Bay UK reissued the film in an anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen transfer as part of their coffin-shaped box set Pete Walker Collection, and the same transfer turned up in the states as part of Shriek Show's Walker line. When Odeon licensed the Euro London library, they put out a single-disc edition featuring the same transfer. A new high definition master in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio debuted stateside in 2012 as part of Kino Lorber's The Pete Walker Collection box set and then separately the following year and in the U.K. from Screenbound in 2017.

Not all of the films in this set have received new transfers, although they have all been remastered, and it is quite surprisingly that the somewhat visually-bland Die Screaming, Marianne was one of the recipients of a new 2K scan of the original 35mm camera negative. The aspect ratio is again 1.66:1 but the framing is slightly different and the grain is more prominent, lending faces a bit more detail where they looked a little pasty and smooth at times in the earlier master. The slight yellow tinge evident in the previous master has been timed out so skin tones are a bit healthier and blues and greens are richer as well, making the U.K. scenes a bit less drab and the Algarve scenes a bit lusher. Some of the bright Algarve exteriors have always looked a bit harsh with the sequence of Sandford, Genn, and Huxtable on horseback shot without reflectors or fill especially distracting from the dialogue here.

The Flesh and Blood Show was released theatrically in the U.K. by Tigon by pre-cert label Vampix. The film made its DVD debut stateside from Shriek Show and then in the U.K. by Odeon when they licensed the Euro London library, both of which included the 3D climax as an anaglyph extra. The film's Blu-ray debut was also stateside from Kino Lorber first separately and then as part of The Pete Walker Collection Volume 2. Unlike some of the other Walker titles, the film did not receive a U.K. Blu-ray release through Screenbound but Region B-locked viewers could import the pricey German Wicked-Vision limited edition mediabook.

88 Films' 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.66:1 widescreen Blu-ray comes from what is described as a "restored HD master" meaning that they have done some additional work on the existing master. The 1.66:1 framing appears to be identical to the Kino Lorber edition – earlier editions were framed at 1.78:1 and the film was likely protected for 1.85:1 but the more vertically-open framing is occasionally more striking when it comes to some shots composed in depth – but blacks are slightly deeper and whites truer without the very faint yellow-green tinge evident in most of the earlier Walker masters which also has the effect of highlighting Jessop's use of color gels during the stage scenes. Some flare is part of deliberate on the part of Jessop with stage lights and spotlights shining into the camera, but there are some moments below the stage where flare or light leaks dilute the dark shadows. The disc offers two viewing options for the film, with the climax in 2D or anaglyph 3D. While the Kino Lorber Blu-ray also included the climax in stereoscopic 3D as an extra, it did not appear to be a true restoration but a software attempt to sum up separate eyes from the anaglyph version.

House of Whipcord was released theatrically by Miracle Films – a company Tony Tenser worked for in the fifties and then later used for distribution after Tigon shut up shop – and then on pre-cert VHS by Derann Films. Given an X-certificate for theatrical release, the film was recertified as an 18 when Redemption put it out on VHS in the nineties and again in 2005 for the Anchor Bay set. The open-matte video master debuted on DVD stateside as part of the aforementioned Euroshock Collection while the Anchor Bay UK anamorphic redo popped up stateside from Shriek Show while the HD remaster also debuted as part of the aformentioned Kino Lorber Blu-ray set followed by a single-disc edition followed by a U.K. edition from Odeon in 2014.

88 Films' 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.66:1 widescreen Blu-ray is another of the set's new 2K scans. The film has always looked drab and cold on DVD and Blu-ray. The DVDs had a sickly green tinge that gave way to a faint sallow yellow. The new scan not only reveals more detail in the authentic locations but the more naturalistic grading breaths some life into the film's few blues along with the greens and browns of the village. This also has the effect of making Michelle stand out in the prison with her healthier tan as she faces off against her captors in the climax.

Frightmare was also released by Miracle Films – with Tenser taking an executive producer credit even though Walker was his own producer and chief funder – and then had pre-cert releases from Derann and Intervision (stateside the film was retitled on video "Frightmare II" and "Once Upon a Frightmare" to distinguish it from the eighties American horror comedy The Horror Star which had been released theatrically and on video as "Frightmare"). The film made its DVD debut stateside from Image Entertainment, and it was presumably mastered either from Redemption's 1995 video master or an even newer transfer as the open-matte transfer was the best-looking of the Euroshock Collection Walker releases by a mile; so much so that the anamorphic upgrade from the Anchor Bay UK coffin set only seemed like a minor upgrade when it turned up stateside from Shriek Show. Whereas the titles in the first Kino Lorber Pete Walker Collection were released separately the following year, the HD master debuted through Kino Lorber first as a single-disc edition along with separate releases of three other Walker titles and then as part of The Pete Walker Collection Volume 2 (which did at least include a bonus disc featuring Walker's Man of Violence and The Big Switch which had both been remastered by BFI and subsequently reissued last month by 88 Films).

88 Films' 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.66:1 widescreen transfer is described as a "restored HD master" meaning that they have done more clean-up and regrading of the existing master; however, it is a substantial improvement. Once again, a yellow tinge has been timed out so the skin tones look of the living characters look pinker and healthier – apart from Dorothy's white visage during Jackie's nightmare – and facial features now stand out more from the warm firelight that is the sole source of illumination of the farmhouse sitting room. Shadow detail could be better, but some of the night exteriors scenes are just night-for-night and the visible noise suggests the shadows were always underexposed. Damage repair of unstable frames is evident in a few close-ups where there is a flash of smearing from one frame to another but, for lack of a new scan, this is still the better viewing option.

House of Mortal Sin was distributed in the U.K. and several European territories by Columbia Pictures. Although it retained its original title in the U.K. it was retitled "The Confessional" in the U.S. for small distributor Atlas Films while in some territories Columbia called it "The Confessional Murders". RCA/Columbia distributed the film on tape in the U.K. but the rights reverted to Euro London when it was released on DVD as part of the Anchor Bay Walker set and then in the U.S. from Shriek Show. Kino Lorber released it on Blu-ray separately in 2014 and then in the second Walker set in 2015 which is also when Odeon released their U.K. edition.

88 Films' 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.66:1 widescreen Blu-ray is the last new 2K scan in the set, and it is once again the case that the less yellow timing boasts healthier skin tones and richer primary colors in the wardrobe, bloodshed, and the infernal lighting of the church interiors while the newer scan also boasts superior detail and shadow detail. The upgrade is such, however, that some flubs in focus are more evident in the rushed shooting, with the drama of a striking composition in which the balance of power shifts from Sharp to Keith is undercut by blocking or insufficient depth-of-field as Keith is in crisp focus while Sharp and his nonverbal anguish is not (this was not apparent in the older transfers).

Distributed in European territories by Warner Bros., Schizo had both pre-cert and later 18-certificate releases on VHS from Warner. When the video rights ended up with Euro London, it was certified again without cuts for Redemption's U.K. DVD (since the film was not with Warner for video stateside it had been licensed to DVD there much earlier on along with a subsequent Redemption/Koch Lorber DVD). Warner seems to have retained television rights for the film and, as such, newer video masters have been derived from Warner's HD master which accompanies the Euro London-licensed U.S. Blu-ray and German Blu-ray.

88 Films' 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 widescreen Blu-ray is derived from the same master (Warner Bros. "As Time Goes By" logo included) with additional cleanup. More naturalistically-lit than the other Walker films, the re-grading seems more minor an improvement with once again less yellow in the skin tones and highlights, and slightly richer colors evident in the chic location décor while the overcast London exteriors do fill a touch chillier. Some diffusion seems to have been used in front of the camera during some brighter scenes like the ice skating opening and some daylight exteriors and there are a couple close-ups where grain seems momentarily clumpy but the combination of the clean-up and extras would make this the preferable option whether in the set or possibly reissued later separately.

The Comeback was released theatrically by Enterprise Pictures Ltd. which put out a mix of exploitation and mainstream/arthouse product. The film was released as a VHS pre-cert by Derann – at some point a reissue titled "Encore" running approximately ten minutes shorter turned up in some territories and on VHS but it was not a video retitling since the credits were new film opticals overlaid in different spots than the original – but did not turn up again until DVD with the Anchor Bay U.K. set and Shriek Show U.S. DVD.

Possibly due to it being considered lesser Walker, the film only had a Blu-ray release in the U.S. until recently with the German mediabook and 88 Films' 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 Blu-ray under review here which is also a "restored HD master" cleaning up the existing one which looked quite good to begin with given once again the more naturalistic photography and lighting which extends to the old dark house sequences with the improvements here mainly being a light touch of color correction removing the yellow cast resulting in livelier skin tones and redder blood. Diffusion is used in a couple bright exteriors, although to deliberate effect at times like the final wink to the camera.


All seven films in the set have original English mono tracks in 24-bit LPCM 2.0 mono. We do not know if they have also had any additional clean-up over the older masters – presumably the tracks were repurposed even in the case of the set's 2K negative scanned-titles – and they are all rather clean but unexceptional with exceptions. Dialogue is always clear enough for lines to be intelligible but uneven levels are sometimes evident as well as occasional overdubbing – Walker himself does vocal cameos in The Flesh and Blood Show and Frightmare – while effects are supportive but only occasionally striking like Frightmare's power drill, a few screams, Schizo's ice skates, and the shrieks of the old hag doing her murderous work in The Comeback. All of the tracks show off the films' original scores to good effect whether it is The Benny Hill Show arranger Cyril Ornadel's brassy bombast for Die Screaming, Marianne or the more varied and richer orchestral and choral pieces by Stanley Myers for the later films, along with some electronic accents to The Comeback from the time before Myers's mentorship of Hans Zimmer to come from the early eighties onward. All films include optional English HoH subtitles.


Die Screaming, Marianne is accompanied by a pair of commentaries. First up is a brand new audio commentary by film critic Samm Deighan who notes that the film was considered Walker's first horror film even though it was a more of a thriller and that has likely put off viewers towards it more than its content. Deighan also notes that a number of themes associated with Walker's later McGillivray films also start to make themselves known and coalesce here including how the generational gap and resentment over evolving social and cultural mores leads to violence on the part of the older generation as well as authoritarian figures abusing their power and the younger generation learning on their own how to live differently from their elders. Deighan also discusses Marianne's apparent aimlessness and seemingly impulsive behavior in the context of the story – noting that despite the title and the gaslighting and threats towards her, she is not the expected hysterical female (with Deighan also noting how screenwriter Murray Smith's later Walker film The Comeback does indeed put a male protagonist through those paces) – as well as a sort of continuity in the roles George played in several of her early films. Also of interest is discussion of Huxtable, a socialite-turned-actress having her pick of roles and consistently choosing challenging and less-mainstream projects.

Ported from the earlier edition is the audio commentary by director/producer Pete Walker, moderated by "English Gothic" author Jonathan Rigby who refers to George as the “quintessential dolly bird” and the Madonna of the 1970s, and both participants seem captivated by her (for the most part). Although composer Stanley Myers had not yet worked with Walker, it was his flat that served as one of the London locations. Walker also refers to his early days as an actor, and how Hendel acted circles around him in a play in which Walker was the lead, convincing him to give up acting in favor of directing. Walker also mentions that Huxtable was to married to actor Peter Cook who accompanied her on the Portuguese shoot (in a bit of confusion here, Rigby says she eventually married costume designer Sean Kenny, but Huxtable was married to Kenny before Cook). Later in the track, Walker discusses the production's temporary hiatus over a supposed dispute with George in which he told the papers the production was scrapped but assured Genn, Cook, and his production manager that it was a way to get back control over the production. Walker also mentions that while the lead was written with George in mind, he would like to have had someone like Ian McShane or Patrick Mower for the role essayed by Evans.

The disc also includes Tales of Terror (6:50), a new interview with Walker who reveals that he is not a horror fan – rattling off a few titles he admired and others he felt went too far like I Spit on Your Grave which he saw at a film festival – his experiences with British censors, and how the different sub-genres of horror in his filmography were determined by where he saw the market going, including so-called "domestic horror."

In "Norman Langley on Die Screaming, Marianne" (12:40) in which the cinematographer reveals that after Man of Violence, Walker wanted more of a "high gloss" style for Die Screaming, Marianne going into some detail about the high-key lighitng style of the film's interiors and Algarve exteriors, and his choice of cameras and lenses.

The disc also includes the film's theatrical trailer (3:23).

No commentary was recorded for earlier editions of The Flesh and Blood Show, but 88 Films has commissioned a new audio commentary by author Jonathan Rigby and critic Kevin Lyons who discuss Shaughnessy's satirizing of show business and the ways in which the film blurs the lines between reality and the stage. They also suggest that the titular "Flesh and Blood Show" was less inspired by experimental theatrical groups like The Living Theater and more by the mainstream successes of "Hair" and "Oh! Calcutta!" (the latter resonating particularly with British theatre audiences since it ran for a decade). They also provide some background on the cast – including lesser-known Walker regular Yule – as well as the controversy over Walker's use of body double inserts in an article that quoted Peters and Hanley (along with a quip from Lady Chatterly Versus Fanny Hill's Joanna Lumley). They also note the significance of the title in Walker's moving from thrillers to horror, and from sex to more violence.

"The Flesh Show" (3:55) is an interview with late actor Stewart Bevin shot back in 2018 in which he recalls shooting his first nude scene, the freezing conditions below the theater above the sea, and the crew tittering offscreen.

"The Blood Show" (9:57) is an interview with 3rd assistant director Terry Madden (The Haunting of Julia) who recalls his job including driving the crew and props from London to Brighton and back every day – and the looks he got transporting a pair of skeletons in the passenger seat – shooting inside the Brighton pier theater while shooting most of the exteriors in Cromer, as well as some anecdotes about the cast including Brooks who brought his family with him and became panicked when his youngest child wandered off.

The disc also includes the theatrical trailer (3:42) and a radio spot (0:55).

House of Whipcord also features a pair of commentaries. The first is a new audio commentary by screenwriter David McGillivray, moderated by film critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw in which McGillivray reveals that they expected to have problems with the film but the BBFC's most liberal Secretary Stephen Murphy liked it, believing the judge and his wife to be stand-ins for Mary Whitehouse and Catholic Labour peer Lord Longford. McGillivray, however, notes the influence on this film and Frightmare of the relationship between the domineering wife and co-dependent husband of Seance on a Wet Afternoon (itself loosely inspired by the Moors murders committed by Myra Hindley and Ian Brady). McGillivray also shoots down the notion that Markham's character was a Thatcher stand-in as it was too early in the politician's career, but he, Newman, and Forshaw do note the uneven application of justice on vulnerable females (particularly since McGillivray himself plays the photographer who got Irving's character in trouble). McGillivray also discusses working with Walker on the script which had actually been begun by Alfred Shaughnessy, as well as running into Tayman before his death in 2022 and that the actor had detailed ideas about a sequel.

Ported from the earlier editions is an audio commentary by director/producer/co-writer Pete Walker and director of photography Peter Jessop, moderated by biographer Professor Steven Chibnall in which Walker discusses how the slump in British filmmaking in the seventies once the Americans pulled out their interests left a lot of talented people wanting to make features (in addition to or rather than television and commercials), allowing Walker and others of the period some choice cast and crew. Walker affirms his own conservative stance and Chibnall points out a resemblance between Markham and Margaret Thatcher in her later years – although Walker points out that Thatcher was more glamorous during that period – but that Mary Whitehouse would probably have been a more likely model (Whitehouse, a social activist against permissiveness in the media, had a hand in stirring up the Video Nasty controversy even though she admitted she had never seen one).

"Courting Controversy - An Insider’s View of the Films of Pete Walker" (36:46) is a 2023 re-edit of the 2005 featurette that appeared in the Anchor Bay coffin set and the German mediabook edition. Rather than focusing on the film at hand, it is a bit of an overview of the films with Walker, House of Mortal Sin's Penhaligon and Frightmare's Greenwood, as well as McGillivray and Jessop, along with writer/actor Graham Duff (Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible).

"House of Walker" (11:23) is a new interview with Walker who reveals that the idea for the film came out of a discussion with producer Harry Alan Towers who revealed that his most successful film was 99 Women. Walker did not want to do a woman-in-prison film but he liked the idea of a "private prison" and also reveals that he wanted Peggy Cummins (Night of the Demon) for the role Barbara Markham would play but felt that even a forty-nine she looked too young for the role. He also reveals that it was Keith's idea to play a lesbian and claims that the film has been plagiarized three times, once as a Hollywood film (possibly Human Experiments) and once as an Italian film.

"Return to the House of Whipcord" (11:51) is a location visit with owner Andy Jones which is really just a tour of the museum with a few personal opinions of the film and averring to possible paranormal activity as well as some of the true crime exhibits.

"Sheila Keith - A Nice Old Lady?" (13:43) is also a new re-edit of an older featurette from the Anchor Bay set that also appeared on various Blu-ray and DVD releases of the Walker films with Keith. Walker recalls that her agent described her to him as having an "interesting face" and that she was hooked once she did House of Whipcord and that he wrote Frightmare for her. McGillivray, Jessop, and Penhaligon also provide recollections while Graham Duff recalls tracking her down to appear as a gypsy in the Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible in which they paid homage to Walker and her roles in his films.

The disc also includes the film's theatrical trailer (2:36).

Frightmare has been afford three commentary tracks including an audio commentary by screenwriter David McGillivray, moderated by film critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw in which Newman and Forshaw suggest that the Battersea fairgrounds setting of the prologue represents "Britain past its best," and once again discusses the Hindley/Brady case as an inspiration along with the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crash over The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – Newman and Forshaw also point out the difficulty of transplanting cannibalism to contemporary England with the only other example being "The Thirteenth Reunion" episode of Hammer House of Horror – and point out how appropriate it was the Dorothy attracted customers by publishing articles in Time Out which was one of the journals serial killer Dennis Nilsen would use to find victims – while McGillivray reveals that the earlier version of the script was more of a remake of Walker's favorite noir Out of the Past with cannibalism. McGillivray also reveals that he prefers writing for the character actor villains over the "juvenile" leads, although they speak as flatteringly of Fairfax who sadly had few other lead roles as they do Keith. Frightmare has been afford three commentary tracks including an audio commentary by screenwriter David McGillivray, moderated by film critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw in which Newman and Forshaw suggest that the Battersea fairgrounds setting of the prologue represents "Britain past its best," and once again discusses the Hindley/Brady case as an inspiration along with the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crash over The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – Newman and Forshaw also point out the difficulty of transplanting cannibalism to contemporary England with the only other example being "The Thirteenth Reunion" episode of Hammer House of Horror – and point out how appropriate it was the Dorothy attracted customers by publishing articles in Time Out which was one of the journals serial killer Dennis Nilsen would use to find victims – while McGillivray reveals that the earlier version of the script was more of a remake of Walker's favorite noir Out of the Past with cannibalism. McGillivray also reveals that he prefers writing for the character actor villains over the "juvenile" leads, although they speak as flatteringly of Fairfax who sadly had few other lead roles as they do Keith. They also point out that the movie Jackie and Graham go to see on their date is Marco Ferreri's Le Grande Bouffe – a movie in which four lifelong friends gather together to gorge themselves to death on food and sex – under the U.K. title "Blow Out" but the audio is from House of Whipcord.

Also new is an audio commentary by British horror experts Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth who use the film to discuss the McGillivary/Walker quartet as the high point of the latter's filmography, the peripheral involvement of Tigon's Tenser, and the efforts of Walker and Norman J. Warren to update British horror from the likes of Hammer (while also noting the use of the same Gothic credits font as Demons of the Mind, one of the few Hammer Gothics where the monstrousness is psychological and comes close to matching Walker's films in violence and hysterics). They suggest that the Christmas release and the concurrent IRA bombings had an effect on the reception of the film along with Walker's hardline conservatism rubbing more liberal viewers the wrong way in his attitude towards capital punishment.

Ported from the earlier edition is the audio commentary by director/producer/co-writer Pete Walker and director of photography Peter Jessop, moderated by biographer Professor Steven Chibnall in which he reveals that he was able to get Sachs, Genn, and other such actors for a day's work through his relationships with their agents. He does note issues with the the matting of the red credits over the Tarot card background during the opening which suggest this was always an issue and not a weakness of the older scan that might have been rectified by a new one. Walker also discusses his conservatism here, his attitudes about British justice, and also his opinions on psychiatry as a "waste of time" but like McGillivray he does not really comment on the supernatural aspect of Dorothy's readings. He also opines that the lack of sex in this film over what came before was because it simply was not necessary. He reveals that the film was written for Keith although she still preferred House of Whipcord of her works, and that her character was overly inspired by his own mother who was "so terribly nice" while "sticking the knife in," but seems in good humor when Chibnall and Jessop rib him by teasing out possible other biographical aspects.

In "Editor Robert Dearberg on Frightmare" (7:34), he recalls coming to work for Walker through Matt McCarthy's post-production sound and editing company, describes the film as "fairly gross," and speaks vaguely of a project he was to work on with Walker in the late eighties in the U.S. that fell through, suggesting that Walker could have done well in Hollywood but he wanted to be his own boss.

The disc closes with a theatrical trailer (1:16).

Like Frightmare, House of Mortal Sin is the recipient of three audio commentaries including two new ones. First up is a new audio commentary by screenwriter David McGillivray, moderated by film critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw who reveals that the film marked his first fall out with Walker. McGillivray was having a hard time coming up with another one-word concept idea when Walker gave him a pulp novel about a killer vicar to rewrite to the extent that they would not have to pay the original writer. McGillivray felt that idea of a killer vicar was very Ealing comedy, but the change to a killer Catholic priest had the potential to create some publicity-friendly outrage which they did not get, and that Walker rejected his first draft as a "Play for Today with murders." McGillivray notes that Walker, Sharp, and Barry were all lapsed Catholics. While Newman argued that House of Whipcord could be considered a feminist film, McGillivray describes the females here who exercise agency as more "put upon." McGillivray also admits to knowing nothing about Catholicism, trips over some terminology, and recalls his research using a nun as a consultant and fully disclosing the nature of the project to her. They also discuss the work of Jessop and the uniformity of look of Walker's films while also conceding that most of them are ten-to-fifteen minutes too long.

The film also has the second audio commentary by film critic Samm Deighan who discusses the Catholic horror films of the seventies and how the film differed in focusing on abuses of power and religion as another means of the "old guard" to resist change and punish those with a different kind of morality. Deighan also discusses the domestic drama aspect – noting the crossover of British talent in television plays and sexploitation films – which once again includes a variation of young people (particularly women) learning on their own how to be adults for better or worse. Deighan also discusses the work of McGillivray for Walker in contrast to his more overly supernatural and pulpy work for Norman J. Warren.

Ported from the earlier editions is an audio commentary by director Pete Walker, moderated by film historian Jonathan Rigby in which Walker discusses his Catholic background, his schooling in which he makes no bones about the unwholesome tastes of the priests and teachers. He also affords a bit more time here than in the other tracks to discussing his working methods with McGillivray versus Murray Smith – possibly because this was a difficult script – but is generally more complimentary of the writer despite their falling out. He claims that he wanted Peter Cushing (Curse of Frankenstein) – and that years later on House of the Long Shadows the actor recalled liking the script and wanting to do it but he had other commitments – as well as Harry Andrews (Man of La Mancha), and that Sharp despite also being a lapsed Catholic was professional and only wavered during the scene in which he has to simultaneously murder and administer last rites to a character late in the film. He also reveals that he and McGillivray had a fun time coming up with the murders, and that he viewed his popularity at the time with the British Film Institute critics with skepticism as the "flavor of the month."

"Symphony of Horror" (7:23) is a brief interview with Walker about the composers of his films including Harry South, Ornadel, and Myers (he mentions Richard Harvey by name but the piece affords no discussion of House of the Long Shadows), and how he got to work with them affordably simply by having already known and worked with them earlier in his career.

"Actor Confessionals" (14:32) features Eshley and Bevan reflecting on the experience, with the former recalling the looks he got when he walked into an Italian restaurant for lunch in costume with Beacham and Penhaligon on his arms while the latter recalls the ordeals of shooting his death scene and being both buried and dug up in the churchyard grave in the rain.

No commentary had been recorded for Schizo, so 88 Films' edition includes a brand new audio commentary by screenwriter David McGillivray, moderated by film critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw in which they characterize the film as the "break-up movie" dusting off an old script by Murray Smith for which Walker refused to believe McGillivray when he warned him that the "William Castle premise" was so obvious (this is essentially Walker's Psycho down to the sliding credits). McGillivray recalls the difficulty rewriting it, Walker's threats that he would hire other writers which he never did because no one would work as cheaply for him as McGillivray, and his discovery of just how much more Walker paid Smith and Shaughnessy compared to his fee. They also discuss the casting, how the characters differed from the earlier Walker films in being relatively middle-class – making the husband a carpet manufacturer was solely to effect the climactic impaling of a character on a piece of spiky machinery in an actual carpet factory – their preference for Beacham while noting that Frederick was a casting coup (and that she sued the production when a nude shot of her was used in the advertising. While they lament the lack of Sheila Keith – noting that the more Sheila Keith in a Pete Walker film the better – but also speak positively of Watts' turn as the housekeeper.

"Ask Mr Walker" (12:50) 
is an interview with Walker, but here he answers questions submitted by fans and actors including School for Sex's Françoise Pascal and Cool It, Carol!'s Robin Askwith who was just eighteen when he was hired for the film and had only done television and family-oriented material before (both films can be found in 88 Films' The Pete Walker Sexploitation Collection set).

The Comeback features two commentaries starting with an audio commentary by screenwriter David McGillivray, moderated by film critics Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw in which McGillivray reveals that he did not work on the film but still has plenty of anecdotes since, in spite of their fall-out, Walker did bring him the script to look over, and that in spite of Walker claiming that he did hire writers to do rewrites the finished film looks like what he recalls of the script he saw; although he does suggest that the other writer shares credit with Murray Smith Michael Sloan must be a pseudonym for another writer and cites elements of the film as evidence of very un-Smith-like touches. The trio discuss how the script must have dated back from a decade before and that some of its outdated elements survive, including characterizing cleancut crooner Jones as "lewd" with various suggestions as to who might have been more appropriate had the film been made in the sixties or who might have better represented the characterization in the late seventies like Adam Ant, Bryan Ferry, or Alice Cooper. In spite of him being wrong for the part, the commentators do commend Jones' acting, and McGillivray even suggests that the film might have been better with Jones in the role had the character been acknowledged as being out-of-step and doubtful about his comeback rather than presented as a hip and current talent. They also discuss the gender reversal of having Jones slip in and out of bed barely clad and wandering the house at night in an absurd equivalent of a negligee, as well as the absurdity that a senior citizen assailant might pose a physical threat to Jones. They also chuckle over the absurdity of some of the red herrings involving Doyle, suggest that Stephenson's love interest character might have made a better potential killer along with underused Turner (who had been the bisexual younger lover of Gloria Grahame whose relationship had recently been depicted on film in Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool).

Ported from the earlier editions is an audio commentary by director/producer Pete Walker, moderated by "English Gothic" author Jonathan Rigby who points out that the plot seems very much like something Jimmy Sangster would have scripted for Hammer in the sixties (not to mention Fear in the Night in the seventies and a number of Sangster's American TV projects during that decade). Walker says he originally had Bryan Ferry in mind for the lead – he had previously offered the singer a role in Schizo – and admits that the shot of Jones getting out of bed and in the shower were cheeky nods to the fact that he is playing the woman-in-peril role.

"Walker's Women" (11:34) is another interview with Walker, but it is a more dispensable piece in which he rattles off anecdotes about some of his actresses but also commenting on the importance of casting female leads both vulnerable and attractive without worrying about the age gap when casting male actors, moving towards casting more experienced actresses rather than women to do nude scenes with his later films while speaking of Sheila Keith as his "leading lady."

In "The Making of The Comeback" (7:30) is another loose assemblage of comments form Walker, production manager Denis Johnson Jr. (Sky Pirates), and camera operator Peter Sinclair (The Monster Club).

The disc also includes the theatrical trailer (2:10).


Each disc is housed in a separate keep case - each with reversible cover art by Sean Longmore - housed in a rigid slipcase with a 56-page perfectbound book featuring essays by Simon Sheridan, Barry Forshaw and Jon Towlson, as well as eight collectible original artwork postcards, and two pairs of anaglyph 3D glasses (none of which was provided for review).


Together with 88 Films' recent The Pete Walker Sexploitation Collection and Man of Violence/The Big Switch sets, 88 Films' The Flesh and Blood Show - The Horror Films of Pete Walker is a near-definitive tribute to the filmography of Pete Walker (excepting a few stray titles unavailable for various reasons).


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