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Case Number 23160: Small Claims Court

Buy Katarina's Nightmare Theater: Revenge! at Amazon

Katarina's Nightmare Theater: Revenge!

Scorpion Releasing // 1971 // 89 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // January 20th, 2012

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Tom Becker is a dish best served cold.

The Charge

…for Murder!…for Adultery!…for Fear!

The Case

Jim (James Booth, Zulu) and Harry (Ray Barrett, Don's Party) have suffered an unimaginable loss: their daughters: their pre-teen daughters have been murdered by a child molester. Insult is added to their injury when the suspect the police arrested is let go on a technicality.

So they decide to take matters into their own hands, and with the aid of Jim's son, Lee (Tom Marshall, Eight Men Out), they kidnap Seely (Kenneth Griffith, A Night to Remember) with the intention of…

Well, their intentions aren't all that clear. They certainly want to beat a confession out of him, and then maybe go to the police, but that's a little gamy—the police frown upon people who kidnap and torture others, even heinous crime suspects.

Goaded by Harry, the men carry out the kidnapping—sloppily—and bring Seely back to the inn that Jim runs with his wife, Carol (Joan Collins, The Devil Within Her). They imprison Seely in the basement and try to keep his presence secret from the rest of the world while they figure out what to do. Emotions are high, and terrible things are about to happen.

But not terrible enough to make Revenge! an interesting or thrilling film.

Revenge! is a tepid little potboiler from the Rank Organization, and that guy with the gong at the head of the film is about as exciting as it gets. The majority of the film consists of the kidnappers talking about what to with Seely and having mini-breakdowns. If the discussions had any depth or the breakdowns any emotional connection—these are, after all, the families of murdered children—Revenge! might have made for an interesting psychological study. Instead, everyone seems to just be treading water, filling time between the few "events" that keep the film from being a talkfest. The performances are good, and there are a few suspenseful moments, but overall, this is a pretty forgettable thriller-lite.

Actually, the only thing that distinguishes this film is the horrendous cover art on the case.

I usually don't comment on these things—mainly because I generally get screeners without a case—but the cover art for this is brutal.

The jagged, imperative-red lettering of the title and tag line is wrapped around a few out-of-context stills that make it seem that the film is a sexed-up murder mystery. OK. But the worst part of the cover art is reserved for Ms. Collins. It features what appears to be a promotional still from the film, with the actress wearing bra and panties, standing in a doorway surveying a scene of apparent horror. While there is such a scene in the film, Collins looks nothing like in this shot, with cellulite-heavy thighs, claw-like hands, and panties that look like an old bodybuilder's posing strap. It's just an awful picture, one that looks like someone was getting Revenge! on Joan Collins.

The disc is from Scorpion's Katarina's Nightmare Theater line. It features reasonable video and audio. There are no supplements other than Katarina Leigh Waters' intros and outros and trailers for other KNT releases. Revenge! is also known as Inn of the Frightened People, Behind the Cellar Door, and Terror From Under the House. Its low-impact chills and almost total absence of gore, nudity, and harsh language made it a one-time popular Saturday afternoon Chiller Theater offering.

The Verdict

There's not a lot to recommend Katarina's Nightmare Theater: Revenge!, but it's not such a terrible film as to require a warning, either. If damp British melodrama is your thing, have at it.

But it's still guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Scorpion Releasing
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
• None
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1971
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
• Crime
• Drama
• Foreign
• Suspense

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers


• IMDb

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