I’m taking a look at Indicator’s latest Hammer offerings, next up is the thriller Taste of Fear (1961). This one’s more of a thriller, known as Scream of Fear in America. It’s shot in black and white, but is it a Hammer film you simply must see? Let’s find out, so without further ado here’s my Taste of Fear blu-ray review.
- Taste of Fear (1961) aka US title: Scream of Fear
- Genre: Thriller
- Directed by Seth Holt
- UK Rating 15
- Discs: 1
- Released By Powerhouse Films (Indicator)
- Part of the Hammer Volume Four: Faces of Fear Boxset
- Blu-ray Released: 28 October 2019
Wheelchair-bound Penny Appleby (Susan Strasberg) returns home after several years away. However upon her return she finds her father absent. Her stepmother Jane explains he’s gone away for a few days. Penny’s night’s sleep is disturbed by a noise. Upon investigation she sees her father dead in the summer house. Jane and Doctor Gerrard suggest her mind is simply playing tricks on her. As more and more strange events occur Penny finds herself isolated and confides in the family’s chauffeur Robert (Ronald Lewis).
Style / Direction
The films directed by Seth Holt whilst Douglas Slocombe is responsible for the cinematography. Hammer chose to film this thriller in black and white likes several of their other thrillers. This actually works to the films advantage. The film is set in the South of France and it really does look fabulous whilst creating the perfect setting for a tense thriller.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is provided by Clifton Parker.
Acting / Characters
Susan Strasberg as wheelchair-bound Penny Appleby is simply astounding in the role. She manages to convince as the weak and frightened daughter that’s in danger of losing her mind. However there also another side to her character which I won’t spoil here. It really does showcase her fabulous acting talent.
The other main character is that of the stepmother Jane played by Ann Todd. Again she is also brilliant and convincing.
There are a few other noteworthy characters one is the chauffeur Robert played by Ronald Lewis. He has a big role and does it extremely well. Christopher Lee is also present as Doctor Gerrard and gives a good performance with the limited role he is given.
- Susan Strasberg as Penny Appleby
- Ronald Lewis as Robert
- Ann Todd as Jane Appleby
- Christopher Lee as Doctor Gerrard
- John Serret as Inspector Legrand
- Leonard Sachs as Spratt
- Anne Blake as Marie
- Fred Johnson as Father
Conclusion: Taste of Fear (1961) Film Review
Taste of Fear is a much underrated Hammer thriller that really does deliver a tense, compelling story that’s exceptionally well acted and directed. My advice is to give this film a look.
If you enjoyed my Taste of Fear blu-ray review so far you may want to check out the following films:
- The Night Has Eyes (1942)
- Mystery Junction (1951)
- Footsteps in the Fog (1955)
- The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
- Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960)
- The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1960)
- Homicidal (1961)
- Dementia 13 (1963)
Conclusion: Taste of Fear Blu-ray Review
This black and white 1961 film now has a clean and sharp image with no annoying marks. The extras as we have come to expect by Powerhouse Films are thoroughly interesting and comprehensive.
- UK & USA presentations of the film
- Audio Commentary
- Body Horror: Inside ‘Taste of Fear’ (23 mins)
- Hammer’s Women: Ann Todd (12 mins)
- BFI Southbank Interview with Jimmy Sangster (68 mins)
- BEHP Video Interview with Jimmy Sangster (117 mins)
- BEHP Interview with Douglas Slocombe
- Fear Makers (9 mins)
- Anxiety and Terror (25 mins)
- Super 8 Version (20 mins)
- Original Trailer
- Image Gallery
- 36 Page Booklet
On to my movie rating for Taste of Fear (1961)
- Movie Rating: MUST SEE
- Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
Amazon UK Links
Taste of Fear (1961) is available out now on blu-ray.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the blu-ray version
That concludes my Taste of Fear blu-ray review, I’m aiming to review more classic Hammer films soon. What’s next? Check back soon…
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Summary: Taste of Fear (1961) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: Taste of Fear (1961) aka US title: Scream of Fear
Movie description: Hammer Film - Part of Powehouse Films bluray boxset - Hammer Volume Four: Faces of Fear Boxset
Duration: 82 mins
Director(s): Seth Holt
Actor(s): Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
A tense, compelling and underrated Hammer thriller.