Young American Pat Carroll (Stefanie Powers) arrives in London to marry her fiancé Alan Glentower (Maurice Kaufmann) and decides to pay a visit to the isolated, run-down country home of Mrs Trefoile (Tallulah Bankhead in her final film appearance before her death in December 1968), the mother of her former fiancé, Stephen, who died in a car accident.
Mrs Trefoile insists that Pat stay overnight to attend mass with her the next morning.
After visiting the church, the naive Pat tells Mrs Trefoile that she was not going to marry her beloved son, triggering an insane reaction from the religious fanatic, who abducts Pat to purify her sins and cleanse her soul to prepare her to reunite with her son in the afterlife as his bride.
Wounded by a pair of scissors in a fight, Pat’s every attempt to escape is thwarted as the old woman reigns terror over her.
Surrounded by the warped inmates of the old house – Harry (Peter Vaughan), a lecherous relative; Anna, the maid (Yootha Joyce), who is harry’s bitter wife, and Joseph (Donald Sutherland), the half-witted gardener – Pat faces danger at every turn, and events accumulate to a terrifying climax, affecting all who have come into contact with the fanatical Mrs Trefoile.
This low-budget production from Hammer features excellent performances, and Richard Matheson’s screenplay – adapted from the novel Nightmare by Anne Blaisdell – is terrific. The film was released in the US as Die! Die! My Darling.
Patricia (Pat) Carroll