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Andrew Ellis
04-21-2011, 03:01 PM
One of my favorite exploitation/horror directors, and a true "auteur" in the sense that as producer-director he had total control over his work. Here's my half-ass "report card":

Excellent--"Frightmare", "House of the Whipcord", "Cool It, Carol", "The Flesh and Blood Show"

Good--"House of Mortal Sin", "The Comeback", "House of Long Shadows", "The Four Dimensions of Greta"

Not necessarily good but interesting--"Home Before Midnight"

Not bad--"Schizoid"

Ehhh--"School for Sex", "Die Screaming, Marianne", "Tiffany Jones"

Still Need to See--"Man of Violence", "The Big Switch", "I Like Birds"

S. Chivers
04-21-2011, 03:29 PM
I've got the Pete Walker boxed set that Anchor Bay released some time ago and watched several of the films over Christmas. That prompted me to pick up the Man of Violence Blu-ray which, frankly, was weak by comparison.

I think House of Whipcord is probably my favourite of his films, and I also really enjoy House of Mortal Sin.

Daniel M
04-21-2011, 04:09 PM
1983
House of the Long Shadows B+

1979
Home Before Midnight A++

1978
The Comeback C

1976
Schizo B

1976
The Confessional A

1974
House of Whipcord A

1974
Frightmare A++


1974
Man of Violence C

1973
Tiffany Jones C

1972
The Flesh and Blood Show B

1972
Cool It Carol A++

1971
Die Screaming, Marianne B

Jonathan Douglas
04-21-2011, 04:43 PM
That these films probably aren't highly regarded artistically we all know, but who cares, it's how much or how little enjoyed they are by fans and I like most of his shock films quite a bit.

House of the Long Shadows : A

Home Before Midnight : B

The Comeback : A+

Schizo : A-

House of Mortal Sin : B+

Frightmare : A+

House of Whipcord : B

Flesh and Blood Show : C+

Die Screaming, Marianne : B-

Daniel M
04-21-2011, 07:59 PM
His name isn't exactly synonymous with Bertolucci or Antonioni, and given his extremely self-deprecating persona it's hard to glean what he really thinks of his own films, but Pete Walker's work was undeniably personal. He created the concepts, commissioned the scripts, and produced and directed his movies independently so no studio or other outside force could influence them. They may not be art, but his films are the work of an auteur - as loathe as he may be to admit it.

Andrew Ellis
04-23-2011, 12:33 PM
Yeah, he's not Bertolucci or Antonioni--he's definitely an exploitation director. Still, it's interesting how much film criticism today revolves around the "auteur theory", yet a lot of "auteurs" never had final cut over most of their movies. Walker did since he was an independent producer as well as director. And while his films are certainly crass and commercial to some extent, stuff like "House of the Whipcord" and "Frightmare" are pretty unique films and not just an opportunity to cash in on some trend. Then there's stuff like "Home Before Midnight" which is about a rock musician accused of taking advantage of an underage groupie, and Walker takes the side of the rock musician! That's certainly unusual, especially today.

He also may have invented the idea of the 3-D sex movie, and he largely discovered Robin Askwith perhaps the foremost male star of 70's British sex comedy.

Daniel M
04-23-2011, 03:33 PM
His swan song, HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS would be the cinematic exception to the rule - Cannon owned it, and Walker came on board as a glorified hired gun. But even then he was able to bring his own writer aboard, and flesh the supporting cast out with his regulars like Sheila Keith, so it stands up pretty well to his earlier work.

Troy Howarth
04-23-2011, 04:27 PM
Vincent Price was NOT impressed with Walker. Price seldom spoke ill of people in interviews, but he apparently blamed the film's shortcoming squarely on, and I quote, "a stupid director." Harsh words, but the film isn't really among his best work. The worst elements about it - notably Arnaz's bizarre casting - were likely in place before he signed on, however.

I wouldn't say he was a great director, but he made some very interesting movies. I really, really like The Confessional.

Daniel M
04-23-2011, 08:18 PM
^ I do too, I'd put it beside FRIGHTMARE and HOUSE OF WHIPCORD as his best horror films.

But HOME BEFORE MIDNIGHT and COOL IT CAROL are my favorites. Although there's not much in Steve Chibnall's excellent Walker biography MAKING MISCHIEF to suggest this, I suspect they might have been more "personal" projects for the director than the horror pictures.

Without veering too heavily into the two areas we try to avoid here, Walker loved taking the piss out of political and (especially) religious hypocrites - a primary reason his work resonates with me. :D

Jon Houghton
04-23-2011, 10:12 PM
I have only seen a few of his films, and while I can't say that any of his films are fantastic by any means I certainly enjoyed them all. House of Whipcord, Frightmare, Schizo, Die Screaming Marianne and The Flesh and Blood Show. I am very interested in checking out more of his work some time.

Mike DiRoma
04-24-2011, 08:19 PM
Nothing (well, a few things) gave me greater pleasure than introducing Walker's horror films to my wife and watching her reactions. Dedicated English horror fan that she is, somehow she completely missed his classics (FRIGHTMARE, The CONFESSIONAL, WHIPCORD) during the age of VHS.SCHIZO and THE COMEBACK aren't great but have their high points, too. Neither of us was crazy about DIE SCREAMING, MARIANNE, though.

Troy Howarth
04-25-2011, 06:46 AM
Leo Genn is excellent in Die Screaming, but neither he nor some nice views of Susan George could really save it. It's a weak film.

Andrew Ellis
04-25-2011, 04:18 PM
Pete Walker I guess had a lot of trouble with Susan George (she refused to take her clothes off among other things). The two of them should have been a good combination given Walker's earlier work in "Cool It, Carol" and George's work in "The Strange Affair" (and a small part in "The Sorcerers"), but they were at loggerheads and that is no doubt part of what hurt the film. There's quite a bit about that in Steve Chibnail's book "Making Mischief". And George got hers I guess in her next film when she had to work with Sam Peckinpaugh!

Daniel M
04-25-2011, 09:26 PM
^ Chibnall's book is a great read. Susan's not the only problem with the film, though - other than the aforementioned Mr. Genn, the other performances aren't exactly awards worthy, and the script is oddly unfocused.

Pretty location photography though, and a credit sequence so well done it seems to belong to another, better film.

Ian Miller
04-25-2011, 09:58 PM
Are defects common with the Shriek Show Walker discs? I want to get the box set, but am leery based on hazy memory of this being the case.

Troy Howarth
04-25-2011, 10:00 PM
I don't recall any specific issues with the Walker discs, but I could be wrong. I do have most of them, however, and they played just fine for me.

Ian Miller
04-25-2011, 10:12 PM
I seem to remember FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW being the culprit, though an Amazon buyer mentions FRIGHTMARE (from the box) doing weird things in a variety of players......ah well, I'll probably get it anyway at some point.

Daniel M
04-26-2011, 01:02 PM
Are defects common with the Shriek Show Walker discs? I want to get the box set, but am leery based on hazy memory of this being the case.

I have the box, have played all the discs, and haven't experienced any problems. I highly recommend picking it up while it's still readily available; while I wish it included COOL IT CAROL and HOME BEFORE MIDNIGHT, it at least provides a great introduction to the horror side of Walker's career.

Andrew Ellis
04-26-2011, 02:13 PM
While most of my collection is sub-standard bootlegs and sub-standard stuff I recorded myself, I have "House of the Whipcord", "Frightmare", "The Confessional", "Schizoid", "The Comeback", and "Home Before Midnight" all on legitimate DVD and I don't recall any of them looking less than excellent (I don't have the box set, but I think most of those are individual Shriek Show discs except "Home"). I have an old Something Weird VHS tape of "Flesh and Blood", and the Shriek Show DVD version I rented from Netflix a few months back looked better than that, but I seem to recall it not being up to the standards of the others.

I'd love to get an upgrade of "Cool It, Carol". I'm hoping BFI Flipside or somebody will do something with it. I always wondered what happened to the girl who was in in that, "Janet Lynn" (kinda sounds like a nom de porn). She was excellent in "Carol" and she has a very small but memorable part in "Assault" (as an overage schoolgirl who gets molested by Tony Beckley), but then she just disappeared after that. . .

Daniel M
04-26-2011, 05:43 PM
^ I have HOME BEFORE MIDNIGHT in its original domestic VHS incarnation; who put out your DVD?

Andrew Ellis
04-30-2011, 12:53 PM
Ah crap, it's in storage so I'll have to look next time I'm there. I bought it via the now-defunct US distributor xploitedcinema.com. It's definitely a legitimate DVD, but it's certainly an import.

Jonathan Douglas
04-30-2011, 01:42 PM
HBM was Shriek Show also.

Ian Miller
04-30-2011, 04:22 PM
I have the box, have played all the discs, and haven't experienced any problems. I highly recommend picking it up while it's still readily available; while I wish it included COOL IT CAROL and HOME BEFORE MIDNIGHT, it at least provides a great introduction to the horror side of Walker's career.

Thanks, Daniel!

Brian W
05-01-2011, 08:15 PM
Are defects common with the Shriek Show Walker discs? I want to get the box set, but am leery based on hazy memory of this being the case.

I had trouble getting through FRIGHTMARE from the box set.
I went through 3 replacements and finally had to settle with a copy from a friend.

Brian W
05-01-2011, 08:17 PM
I seem to remember FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW being the culprit, though an Amazon buyer mentions FRIGHTMARE (from the box) doing weird things in a variety of players......ah well, I'll probably get it anyway at some point.

LOL...
If that's from HorrorFan then that's my warning.

RichardDoyle
05-03-2011, 04:20 PM
Ah crap, it's in storage so I'll have to look next time I'm there. I bought it via the now-defunct US distributor xploitedcinema.com. It's definitely a legitimate DVD, but it's certainly an import.

You know it's not in fact defunct yet. I ordered something from Xploited a few weeks ago. He's still selling off existing stock.

RichardDoyle
05-03-2011, 04:24 PM
I really should see more of Walker's stuff because I really like "Die Screaming, Marianne", "The Flesh and Blood Show" and "Frightmare" ... a lot. I saw "House of Long Shadows" on VHS when it was only a year or two old, so that barely counts.