Set in 1795, Catherine (Stephanie Beacham) has married the wealthy baron Charles Fengriffen (Ian Ogilvy) and moved into his grand country mansion. Married bliss awaits.
But something supernatural abounds in this large gothic house and Catherine is attacked by some sort of malevolent spirit and falls pregnant.
A family curse seems to revolve around the mysterious estate woodsman Silas (Geoffrey Whitehead).
Patrick Magee plays the family doctor – a man who clearly knows more than he is letting on, and Peter Cushing arrives to take over in the second act as Dr Pope, a psychiatrist of sorts and apparently someone greatly interested in legends and folklore.
Pope is called in by Charles Fengriffen to see if he can treat Catherine.
Herbert Lom is tremendously over the top as an evil ancestor of Fengriffen heinously abusing a servant and his wife for psychosexual kicks. It is these misdeeds that provoke the curse that plagues the grandfather’s bloodline.
Filming for this Amicus production took place at Oakley Court, a Victorian Gothic country house set in 35 acres overlooking the River Thames at Water Oakley in Berkshire, which has been used for many horror films (and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and was the home of Hammer for several years.
The film is beautifully photographed in achingly sharp focus by Denys Coop, the costumes and sets are very good, and Stephanie Beacham’s corset cleavage almost deserves to have its own credit.
Silas the Woodsman
Sir John Westcliff
Roy Ward Baker