I can’t believe I’ve avoided Pete Walker films for so long. I’ve seriously been missing out. I actually find myself having a Tarkovsky moment, discovering such a fine film maker and now having the chance to explore the back catalogue.
Walker captures the essence of 1970’s England with rich realistic charm which uncovers a dark under current of the British culture. Interesting characters are flung into slightly edgy scenarios, captured with sharp camera work which can be claustrophobic at times, which only adds to the dread to be uncovered. Script is flawless which is so important in a film which could very easily fall into a Robin’s Nest/Minder category, although with more gore and nastiness. It’s brutal and realistic which obviously give the actors something to sink their teeth into and knock out sterling performances.
Sheila Keith and Rupert Davies are terrifying in their roles with Keith playing a crazy old granny tarot reader, Dorothy Yates with a taste for flesh. Her Husband (Edmund, played by Davies) although not in support does little to prevent this practice which is somewhat more disturbing, especially in the final moments of the film. Deborah Fairfax and Kim Butcher play contrasting sisters, (Jackie and Debbie) and daughters to the crazy Yates. Jackie is off the rails out of control whilst Debbie is kind and caring, although still delivering animal flesh each week to her mother as a way to keep her cannibal instincts under control.
It’s shocking that neither Fairfax or Butcher had much of a career, (Single roles in Doomwatch, Catweazle, Terry & June and Chocky to name a few) as they both offer real charisma. But Sheila Keith is triumphant in her role here as always.