TASTE OF FEAR - Clifton Parker - "Ice Cream Of Fear!" (1961)
This week's Saturday Night Special is part two of an impromptu quasi-tribute to Ronald Lewis originally called "Taste Of Fear," but like a good majority of films of this ilk, it's name was changed to "Scream Of Fear" because somebody somewhere thought it had a better taste to it! So..... without further delay, let's get this puppy rolling!
First off, there is something about this title card and the opening scene from this movie that is very misleading, but you're going to have to figure that out on your own!
This scene is actually out of order as far as the movie is concerned. In the movie, this is what you see before the title card and the credits roll. Some guys are trolling the lake, searching, and finding the body you saw in the title card! This is a pretty awesome shot with those snow covered mountains in the background that lets you know right off that this is not a normal movie! The spooky music is provided by Clifton (CURSE OF THE DEMON) Parker!
The man of the hour is once again Ronald Lewis, not as a race car driver this time, but as Robert, the chauffeur for a very wealthy family! Bob, as he sometimes called, has just picked up the estranged and crippled daughter and heiress Penny Appleby at the airport, and is taking her to her Father's estate in France! Penny has been out of country for many years! The petite but oh so lovely Susan Strasberg has the role of Penny! Susan's career wasn't filled with much horror, but she was in two Night Gallery TV episodes, and starred in two classic cult stoner drug movies, "The Trip," and "Psych-Out!"
Penny Appleby is greeted by Jane Appleby, a cordial stepmother she has never met played by Ann (Breaking The Sound Barrier) Todd, and told that her Father is out of town for a few days on a business trip! They have gone to great lengths to make Penny's stay a pleasant one, by adding makeshift ramps to aid in her mobility!
It doesn't take long before Penny rolls into a room that appears to house none other than a dead version of her Father!
Penny reacts predictably to the situation!
The dead Father is played by Fred Johnson who was in "The Quatermass Xperiment," "The Curse Of Frankenstein," "The Brides Of Dracula," "Doctor Blood's Coffin," and was also the guy in the Yeti suit in "The Abominable Snowman!"
In reality, the room is nothing more than a storage area for a bunch of oddball garage sale items! Is Penny really totally out of her mind?
In a frantic retreat, Penny rolls her wheelchair into what appears to be the strangest swimming pool I've ever seen, and is fished out of the water by the ever so heroic chauffeur Bob!
At dinner that night, her Father's good friend, a shrink named Dr. Pierre Gerrard, tells Penny that maybe her mind is why she is crippled, and not her body! Penny then explains that her mind has no control over the broken back she received when she was tossed off a horse many years previous! The Doctor is played by none other than Christopher Lee, who it is said is on record as saying that in his opinion, "Scream Of Fear" is THE best film Hammer ever made!
The next night her Father's body appears in Penny's bedroom! They find a wet spot in the chair where Penny saw the body, so her and Bob deduct that the body must be stored in this freezer, but after prying off the lock, they find themselves in the wrong!
"Why Bob, Why?" Susan Strasberg is so beautiful, sweet and innocent, it's a real shame she succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 60 in 1999!
Whoa! Looks like they need a better pool cleaning service, that's for sure! Unfortunately Ronald Lewis's career fizzled out in the 70's, and after that he became quite despondent and decided to end it all by taking a bunch of barbiturates in 1982!
Having nowhere else to look, Bob takes the plunge, and indeed finds the body of Penny's Father at the bottom of the pool!
The two of them decide to go to the police and report what they found! Seemingly, the Stepmother, probably in cahoots with the Psychiatrist, wanted Penny to go mad, so she would be the one to inherit all the money instead!
I had no idea that General Motors ever made anything but automobiles, but I guess in Europe in the 1960's, they were apparently in the crane business!!
"Scream Of Fear" is a great little thriller, so for all of you who have never seen it, even though it's been out for more than 50 years, there is no way I am going to give away the ending! You can find it on Netflix as a double Feature with "The Gorgon," and it's also available on Amazon! If Christopher Lee and I both think it's that good, I don't think it's worth arguing about! Just do it!