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By James Whittington, Thursday 27th September 2018
Another lost shocker from the early 80s gets a tasty release from 88 Films and this one from 1983 is pretty obscure. Frightmare (or The Horror Star as its known on this print) is one of the movies that is really of its time. Shot at the height of home video fever the film, when viewed now is tame with an incredibly camp turn from Ferdy Mayne as the Vincent Price/Christopher Lee wannabe actor Conrad Razkoff.
This slasher tells of a celebration for a late, great horror star... only the actor in question might not be entirely dead and soon the participants at his supposed party are being picked off one by one! OK, not exactly straight normal for a slasher movie plot relying on the paranormal more than usual for the sub-genre (how many parties have you been to where the main guest has been stolen from his crypt and sat at the head of the table?) but this bizarreness adds to the movie. Mayne seems to be relishing his chance to camp it up to the hilt and a young Jeffrey Combs gives us a hint at the deadpan comic delivery he'd give to the world in Re-Animator a few years later.
Not the bloodiest movie made, the effects are above standard, and all done in camera though this leads to some unexpected moments of hilarity such as when someone is chased by a floating coffin and you can see the wires holding it aloft. Again, this adds to the retro fun of the movie.
The image is soft but this is no fault of the excellent transfer, this was how the movie was made and the soundtrack is nice and strong which helps keep the dialogue clear.
Extras include Limited Edition Booklet notes by Film journalists Dave Wain and Matty Budrewicz, an interview with Scott Thomson who plays Bobo, new interview with Cinematographer Joel King, archival audio onterview with Director Norman Thaddeus Vane (played over the film), audio commentary with David Del Valle and David DeCoteau, audio commentary by the slasher loving podcast The Hysteria Continues, audio commentary by film journalists Nathaniel Thompson and Tim Greer from Mondo Digital, original theatrical trailer, stills gallery and reversible cover artwork.
This is another solid entry into the 88 Films Slasher range which continues to lead the field in bringing lost classics to the attention of horror fans around the UK.
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