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Frightmare (1981)

Frightmare poster

I’ve been going through some of the Vinegar Syndrome titles on Tubi looking for the next trashterpiece or slice of ill-advised cinema and came upon 1981's Frightmare. But the film is actually a well made atmospheric supernatural slasher (kind of) and is a lot of fun, even though it’s probably 10-15 mins too long.

Frightmare is about a recently deceased horror film star (in the Bela Lugosi / Christopher Lee mould) who is summoned back to life to violently dispatch a group of film students who thought it would a rad idea to steal his body from his crypt and bring it home for one last shindig.

Once you get past that fairly ridiculous setup, the undead actor creeps around the large frat house (a dedicated Horror Society frat house no less!) where the students live, rubbing his temples to psychically inflict some bloody vengeance - setting one girl on fire, crushing another with a floating coffin etc. A young energetic Jeffrey Combs is also one of the students and gets a hilarious death involving a sword and a crow.

The film has a a lot of atmosphere too, filling the screen with smoke machines, neon lights and a really effective score of synths plus a layered chorus of voices - all groaning, laughing, whispering into a wall of sound.

The whole affair is a melding of ‘50s horror film ambience and ‘80s style and structure. It’s an odd beast but a fun curio from that early ‘80s period where the supernatural slasher was still finding its feet.

3.5 ripped out tongues out of 5

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