Frightmare (1983)

According to Wikipedia, this is a slasher. I don’t agree with that because the killer uses black magic/telepathy/mindfreak powers to generally do stuff. Then again, it does sort of follow a lot of slasher tropes such as a final girl and punishing the bad kids, so…yeah. I could see arguments going either way.

Anyway, the plot focuses on the death of fictitious horror icon Conrad Razkoff. His tomb is violated by a bunch of kids who think it’s a brilliant idea to steal his dead body, and his wife gets a psychic to communicate with him to try and find his missing corpse. The only issue is she accidentally brings him back from Hell in the process and tells him to send the people who took his body to Hell instead. So now Razkoff does that while sneaking about a mansion dressed like Bela Lugosi.

I’d love to tell you more, but the version of this movie I managed to see was absurdly dark, to the point I often couldn’t make out much of the action. A few of the kills I had to go back and rewatch to figure out if folks were actually dying the way I thought they were. It turns out yes, I was right, he did rip that dude’s tongue out, but I still feel bad that I had to go back to be sure. There are also some funky edits at times, so it feels like an external investigation about Razkoff’s missing body is out of place. These things all hold the movie back.

There are still a couple of reasons to watch it though. The sound design is cool, with Razkoff using his powers of audio to terrify and attract, while also making creepy noises whenever he uses his powers. This was the thing that impressed me the most about the film, just how he sounds. Oh, and Frightmare was Jeffrey Combs’ horror debut. Who is Jeffrey Combs you ask? Only the star of a little picture called Re-Animator

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