Taste of Fear (1961)

Scream of Fear (1961) movie poster

director  Seth Holt
viewed: 08/08/2016

Taste of Fear/Scream of Fear, whatever you want “of Fear,” it’s not one of the better-known Hammer horror films.  While it might not be well-known, it might be quite the hidden treasure.  Especially if you like Hitchcock, Franju, or Clouzot.

Susan Strasberg plays a pretty young girl crippled in a riding accident, returning to her long estranged father’s home on the French Riviera only to find him missing.  Her step-mother (Ann Todd), who she has only met, seems suspect.  The family doctor creeps her out (and why not, he’s Christopher Lee).  She only finds friendship with the chauffer, Bob (Ronald Lewis), the only one who listens to her suspicions and her visions of her father now dead.

The fine black-and-white cinematography by Douglas Slocombe sets the stage nicely.  And while you might think you’ve got this one all figured out, you might still find yourself in for a twist you didn’t see coming.

Christopher Lee considered it the best Hammer film in which he appeared and who had significant praise for director Seth Holt (of whom I’ve been unfamiliar until now).  This truly feels like a lesser-known gem of the thriller type, featuring horror elements, but drenched in suspense and mystery.

A surprisingly good discovery.

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