First, a bit of cleaning. This isn’t 1981’s “Frightmare,” a goofy slasher about a resurrected horror movie star who literally explodes out of the grave and goes on a killing rampage. That movie has its no-frills charms, but it’s not quite as adventurous as Walker’s film.
“Frightmare” ’74 begins with a husband and wife, Edmund and Dorothy Yates (Rupert Davies and Sheila Keith), being sentenced to a mental institution for unspecified human atrocities. If they can prove to the authorities that they have mended their wicked ways, they will be eligible for release.
The movie then jumps to the present, where it clumsily sets up its convoluted plot. Edmund and Dorothy have inexplicably earned their release and are now living in the country where Jackie (Deborah Fairfax), Edmund’s daughter from a previous marriage, visits them. Jackie seems relatively inland, though her life is complicated by her troubled 15-year-old stepsister, Debbie (Kim Butcher), who parties until the wee hours of the morning with a motorcycle gang. They are very tough, but Debbie has an unsettling penchant for throwing them into violent conflict. In one instance, she lies about a run-in with a bartender that results in the poor fellow tuning into a steel chain.
Debbie is a bad seed, and it soon becomes apparent that she is, to the last inch, her mother’s daughter. But does she also possess her mother’s taste for human flesh?