A dripping tap grows into a raging gush over the opening credits. The bath is about to overflow but Diana Dors is busy applying lipstick at a fogged-up mirror and bringing a razor to her wrists (after being diagnosed with terminal cancer).
The water receives the corpse, and her teenage daughter (Linda Hayden) stumbles upon it . . .
Next seen, the working-class nymphet is introduced to the posh Bayswater home of Mum’s old flame, Dr Robert Quayle (Keith Barron), the ideal stage for the “wicked child” shenanigans that are to come.
Luci is overwhelmed by the splendour of the house, coming as she does from abject poverty in Merseyside.
Haunted by nightmares and disturbing hallucinations of her promiscuous mother, she embarks on a twisted strategy of terrifying violence and sexual manipulation.
Motivated by greed, grief, resentment and a hatred of the privileged class, the orphaned teenage girl wreaks emotional havoc on her adoptive family, using her charms and budding sexuality to manipulate and tempt both her surrogate mum and dad.
As she exploits her burgeoning sexuality and complete lack of bodily inhibitions, Luci provocatively strips off at the most inappropriate moments.
Quayle initially fights his attraction to her so she turns her attention to his hormonally challenged teenage son (Derek Lamden).
In a dangerous and seductive game, Luci tantalises him, then rejects his clumsy advances, resulting in a frenzied attack.
The shocking 1968 British cult film helped launch 15-year-old Linda Hayden’s brief, but memorable career as a cinematic sexpot. She excels as the smirking teenage temptress, stirring up electrifying tension whenever she appears on the screen.
Zooming and shock-cutting promiscuously in nightclubs and bedrooms, Alastair Reid earns his directorial stripes with an unbroken, five-minute panning shot that follows Hayden and Lamden from the sun-dappled river’s edge into the darkening forest with a gang of louts.
The New York Times commended the film for its “diabolical brilliance”.
Dr Robert Quayle