This is another Pete Walker horror sleazefest (hooray!!!)
Figure skater Samantha is about to get married to wealthy businessman Alan. Her mother’s former partner has just been released from prison and starts stalking her, travelling from the North East to London to accomplish the job.
This film mines into the whole phenomenon of being followed, peeping toms and was ahead of it’s time in depicting stalking which wasn’t widely known about at the time.
The film also gives Hitchcock-esque psychological explanations as to what schizophrenia is (again, a term that was relatively unknown by many at the time) to help the audience better understand what they are going to see and the kind of mental condition which would drive the killer to carry out their plans.
But is all as it seems? In a word- NO! The film keeps us guessing as to the killer’s identity right up until the end and takes us on a voyage through 70’s locales to do so with impeccably decorated flats and the London streets of the time (again, Walker is so good at capturing the time and place that he sets his films within. Here we get gorgeous snapshots of a bygone era and a time capsule of London in 1976 whether it be the exterior of King’s Cross railway station, the inside of a supermarket or the grimy flophouses cum hostels of N1).
The cast are all fantastic especially Lynne Frederick as Samantha and an early appearance by Stephanie Beecham as her best friend Beth. There’s even John ‘Johnny Remember Me’ Leyton and Queenie Watts in supporting roles.
Watch out for the literally eye-popping clairvoyant meeting scene which is both terrifying and very funny. Walker also has the ability of making something truly scary and unnerving but bookending this with dark observational humour. The character of Joy embodies this perfectly.
Another Walker masterpiece. He really is worthy of more praise and to be reappraised as the King of 70’s British Horror.
****and a half out of *****