I have ideas, but why do horror and psychological thrillers from the 60s work so much better than their modern contemporaries? The forefather of B-Movie horror has to be Hammer Productions. Founded in 1934, Hammer made strides in the genre between the 50s and 70s, thanks to its distribution partnership with all the major studios. Let’s look at the 1961 classic thriller, Scream of Fear (titled initially, Taste of Fear), directed by Seth Holt.
Scream of Fear is the story of Penelope Appleby (Susan Strasberg), the daughter of a wealthy French businessman, who is confined to a wheelchair after a car accident in her youth. Penny has been estranged from her father for over ten years after her parents’ divorce. When her mother passes, Penny receives a letter from her father asking her to return to his French Riviera. Upon arriving, she is met by his new wife, Jane (Ann Todd), and her driver, Robert (Ronald Lewis). Unfortunately, her father isn’t there to greet her as he is away on business.
“…enters through the front door, where she sees the dead body of her father…”
That evening, Penny hears loud noises coming from the Summer cottage at the far end of the property. Curious, she investigates and enters through the front door, where she sees the dead body of her father sitting in a chair. With a loud scream, Penny rolls herself out of the home and falls into the pond in the center of the courtyard.
Penny awakens in her bed as Robert rescues her from the pool. When she tells Jane she saw her murdered father, Robert and Jane find no sign of her father’s body. Believing that Penny is seeing things, Jane summons Dr. Gerrard (Christopher Lee) to examine her physically…and mentally.
"…a must-see as a reminder that you don't need big Hollywood effects..."