"Frightmare" (also known as "The Horror Star") a severely cheap but fun piece of early 80s horror cheese about a bunch of film students who dig up their favorite, recently deceased horror film actor, only to severely regret that decision when he wakes up and starts picking them off one by one. One of the unlucky students was played by a young Jeffrey ("Re-Animator") Combs, in one of his earliest film roles.
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O. Diaz | St. Petersburg, FL | 06/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fairly competent early 80s flick, with a bunch of college students stealing the body of a recently deceased, legendary horror star, who somehow manages to come back to life and take bloody revenge on all of them. The film has atmosphere aplenty and the creep/morbidity factor is fairly high - there's an early performance by Jeffrey Combs, but he has a secondary role and doesn't get to shine like he would in years to come in Re-Animator, Castle Freak and countless others. After a long wait, I was thrilled to see this film finally being released on DVD, but I'm sorry to say that the transfer is quite poor, the picture is soft and hazy, looking exactly like an average-quality VHS tape, the contrast is washed out, later on this condition is reversed, and the dark areas in the image become much too dark, obliterating many visual details that are crucial to the story. The soundtrack is the hissiest I've ever heard on a DVD, the level is so low, one has to crank up the volume to hear the muffled dialogue, thus raising the hiss to an unacceptable level. This looks like a digital transfer from an analog video source, a very poor one. For fans of the genre, even at this quality level, the film is highly recommended; for the casual viewer, the questionable quality of the disc may be too troubling to put up with."
You can never kill a great horror star
Nickolas Cook | 10/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
Review by Nickolas Cook
Ah! The 80s. A simpler time of cheesy horror, screaming bimbos, and budding horror stars. And I'm here to tell you, FRIGHTMARE is a classic example of that wondrous period in horror cinema history. Ferdy Mayne plays aged horror star Conrad Radzoff, once great, but now bitterly arrogant and a little evil...well, just evil enough to kill a couple of people who piss him off before he crocks in front of an auditorium full of fawning college film students. Some of these said idolatrous students decide it'd be a great idea to break into old Conrad's Hollywood tomb and carry his corpse to his classic stomping grounds, an old mansion where his once great films had been shot. Well, you know the story...the kids get a little tipsy, a little naked, and the next thing you know, old Conrad gets a little back-from-the-dead and starts killing them off one at a time, in some pretty nasty ways. Yeah, pretty standard stuff...but wait...this is where the film really starts to get better than the average back from the dead revenge flick. Like a bad dream, things get weird. Fog rolls in from nowhere onto the set, the music gets dark and foreboding, and the scenes go from day to night, from one scene to the next. Continuity errors, you say? I don't think so. This looks to have been done on purpose, and it really gives the movie a nightmarish quality that disorients the viewer. The acting is much better than you'd expect from this kind of low budget, run-of-the-mill lot, including (little known at the time) Jeffrey Combs. And the production values aren't glaringly bad. At least the house remains spooky, and the lighting is consistent from scene to scene. The worst part of the this film is the terribly ridiculous introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, the creator of the legendary Toxic Avenger and owner of Troma Studios, during which he makes some oblique attempt at humor as someone dubs in the names of the stars and director while he pretends to hold stuff in front of his mouth. Having a little background on Kaufman's varied legal problems, I'm sure this was done more for a screw you to whomever got the short end from Troma in regards to FRIGHTMARE than for fun times. But, hey, Debbie Rochen is around to brighten it up, so I can forgive it. The quality of the DVD isn't great, folks. So don't expect much from the tech end of this little seen gem of the 80s. I mentioned the lighting and music, both of which work hard for the movie. Unfortunately, Troma didn't work hard for them. And that's a shame; because I'm sure it would've added an extra kick to FRIGHTMARE.
TONY STARK | ROSWELL , GA | 06/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"AS A CHILD BACK IN THE 80'S I REMEMBER ON SATURDAY MY COUSIN AND I WOULD RENT 3-4 HORROR MOVIES FOR THE WEEKEND. FRIGHTMARE WAS ONE OF MY FAVORITE HORROR MOVIES INCLUDING A HOST OF OTHER HORROR MOVIES THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD,EVIL DEAD, GALAXY OF TERROR, DAWN OF THE DEAD, AND SO ON. FRIGHTMARE IS ABOUT A HORROR ACTOR THAT DIED AND A BUNCH OF PUNKS STOLE HIS CORPSE FROM THE CEMETERY AS A PRANK. HE THEN TAKES REVENGE ON THE PUNK@$$ KIDS. ITS ALL BASIC STUFF WITH GOOD GORE BUT THE REAL PROBLEM IS THE DVD IN FACT ALL OF TROMA FILMS THAT COME OUT ON DVD REALLY SUCKS!!!!!!!!!! "
The Gnosis Queen Reviews "Frightmare"
Diane D. Timothio | 10/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was quite refreshing, to see Jeffrey Combs, in such an early career role, as a co-star,in the movie, Frightmare. This is a very colorful movie, and wonderfully macabre. It should tickle the fancy of occultists everywhere. I thought Conrad Ragzoff's mansion, was rather gorey, and his memorial service very imaginative. What a great idea! "A Video Funeral" If you believe, that the dead, can come back, for revenge, Frightmare, will remind you, to treat them with more respect!
Great Early 80's Cheese, Horrible DVD
Guido | NY United States | 10/27/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'll agree with every reviewer before me who stated Troma's DVD transfer could be one of the worst ever. Bad picture and it's hard to hear anything. The movie is worth 4 stars the DVD is worth 0.
I wish Anchor Bay would pick up this little seen horror gem starring Ferdy Mayne as a beloved horror movie actor whose freshly deceased corpse is stolen from a morgue by a bunch of students. The students take the cadaver to a creepy old house where Ferdy made his most well known films. Soon the students are spooked by the spirit of Mayne.
Jeffrey Combs("Re-Animator", "From Beyond") stars in this great early 80's little known horror classic. Definitely worth an evening. Anchor Bay please pick this title up."