Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Fanatic We'd Like To Talk To You About The Bible
Year: 1965
Director: Silvio Narizzano
Stars: Tallulah Bankhead, Stefanie Powers, Peter Vaughan, Maurice Kaufmann, Yootha Joyce, Donald Sutherland, Gwendolyn Watts, Robert Dorning, Philip Gilbert, Winifred Dennis, Diana King
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: American Patricia (Stefanie Powers) is in Britain to meet her new fiancé Alan (Maurice Kaufmann) and, she hopes, marry him soon. Her last fiancé did not have such good luck, having died in a car accident, but she feels she cannot entirely consign the deceased to the past and wishes to visit his mother, Mrs Trefoile (Tallulah Bankhead) to set her mind at ease. Alan is not at all happy, but seeing as the old woman is not too far from the television studios he works at, Patricia decides she is going to head off down the motorway to the sleepy hamlet in the countryside where she stays, after all, it shouldn't take long...

Two titans of sixties horror that arrived at the start of that decade had many imitators, and a new strain of psychological, often Gothic horror had arrived. The first of these was Psycho, whose villain was ostensibly an old lady who had gone a little mad, and the second was Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, which featured another little old lady terrorising the weak. Thus Fanatic was very much following in those footsteps, as ageing stage star and all round outrageous human being Tallulah Bankhead was offered the role of a religious obsessive.

It was her first big screen role since the forties, and even though she was in poor health, she was still enough of a celebrity in the United States and Britain, where her stardom had first lit up, that she could draw in the paying customers keen to see her emulate her great rival Bette Davis and ham it up in a shocker. Apart from some voiceover work, Fanatic was to be her final film, so it holds curiousity value for that, not least because it was one of the few films she ever made full stop. If she was ailing, she didn't show it, for although she was frailer than in her heyday, she made up for it with a convincing show of steel beneath the unassuming exterior of her character.

What happens is that Patricia visits Mrs Trefoile, only to find she cannot get away. Initially this is down to her politeness at not wishing to let the old dear down, she has lost her son after all, and if she is somewhat eccentric in her Christian ways, then surely she means no harm even if she does disapprove of Patricia admitting she doesn't go to church. Fanatic was scripted by that past master of science fiction and horror, Richard Matheson, from a novel by Anne Blaisdell, and if it's not his finest work he does manage to explore the inner workings of the religious fundamentalist within the framework of a chiller.

For this reason, it's interesting to see that such adherence to strict moral codes, which in earlier horror films might have saved you from doom, here become the doom itself. The whole notion of Christianity being restrictive to the point of compelling its followers to murder is a challenging one, and history has shown that this has been the case down the years (not that the other religions are entirely off the hook here), but to put this fervour in the personality of a little old lady is novel, and this film could have easily have slid into outright camp. To the cast's credit, they play it straight and allow the over the top qualities to come naturally, with solid support from Peter Vaughan and Yootha Joyce as the shady housekeepers and Donald Sutherland of all people as a mentally impaired handyman. It's the Bankhead fans who will gravitate towards this, and she doesn't disappoint even if she could have done with a few witty lines. Music by Wilfred Josephs.

Aka: Die! Die! My Darling!
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 5496 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M


Last Updated: