Symptoms (1974)

Symptoms (1974) movie poster

director  José Ramón Larraz
viewed: 07/09/2018

Symptoms, a slow boil psychological horror-thriller from director José Ramón Larraz seems to have fallen between the cracks before being rediscovered somewhat recently.

If for no other reason, Angela Pleasence delivers a sublime performance as Helen, a woman with a haunted aspect, who brings home a friend, Anne (Lorna Helibron) who has recently split up with her guy for a long weekend at her country estate. Only, it seems that Anne isn’t the first young woman to come to Helen’s estate, and what ever did happen to Cora who was here before?

A very dreamy atmosphere pervades, inside and out. Larraz paints England as pissing down rain, grey, and dreary, sleepy. A somnolent undercurrent of desire emanates from Helen, but what is really going on between her and Anne? And what about the creepy handyman?

I was also brought to mind of Larraz’s Vampyres (also 1974). Is this the same building in both movies? The two films both share as well, lesbian protagonists, haunting an isolated English manor. Norman J. Warren’s Prey, also came to mind for similar connections.

The blood in the butter was a nice touch. Angela Pleasence, excellent.

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