28 July 2014

Die Screaming Marianne (1970)
96 min.
Directed by Pete Walker.
With Susan George, Barry Evans, Christopher Sandford, Judy Huxtable, Leo Genn, Kenneth Hendel, Paul Stassino, Alan Curtis.
Pete Walker's first horror film was this muddled and confusing thriller.

Lovely Marianne McDonald (George) is a spunky exotic dancer about to celebrate her 21st birthday. Foot loose and fancy free, Marianne seems to have everything going for her.

Except, she's also on the run for her life!

Her father (Genn) is mired deep in a web of political blackmail and intrigue, and Marianne alone holds the key to unlocking secret documents which could blow the scandal wide open. Someone desperately wants that information. And then they want Marianne dead!

When she meets handsome Eli (Evans), she hopes all her problems will just disappear. But things are never that easy.

It's not hard to believe Die Screaming Marianne is an early effort from the same director who would go on to helm the excellent Frightmare (1974) and the enjoyable House of Whipcord (1974).

There's a similar feel in style & pacing, the city scenes are oh-so-veddy-British, and Anthony Sharp (from 1976's The Confessional) even shows up in a bit cameo.

But Die Screaming lacks any consistency in plotting or urgency, and as a result, the ability for Walker to generate any tension suffers considerably.

George and Evans have some decent romantic chemistry, and character actor Genn does the best he can to lend the material some oomph.

But none of it proves enough to make Die Screaming worth more than a passing glance.

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