HAUNTING FEAR (1990) Reviews and overview

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Haunting Fear is a 1990 American horror film about a married woman who has nightmares involving being buried alive. She somehow awakens a long-repressed entity inside her while her greedy, cheating husband plots to murder her for her money.

Written [as Sherman Scott] and directed by Fred Olen Ray (Venomous; Evil Toons; Alienator; Star Slammer; Scalps) loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe‘s short story ‘The Premature Burial‘. Produced by Diana Jaffe and Fred Olen Ray.

The movie stars Brinke Stevens, Jan-Michael Vincent, Jay Richardson, Delia Sheppard, Karen Black, Robert Clarke and Robert Quarry. Michael Berryman has a cameo role.

Victoria (Brinke Stevens) can’t sleep: she’s having bad dreams about being buried alive. Her husband Terry (Jay Richardson) makes her go see Doctor Carlton (Robert Clarke), who she blames for her father’s death. Unable to help her, he asks Doctor Harcourt (Karen Black)to try and unlock Victoria’s mental block with hypnotism.

Meanwhile, Terry continues a torrid affair with his secretary (Delia Sheppard), and worries about paying off a huge gambling debt. Terry could pay off his debt and be with his secretary if he could just get his hands on Victoria’s money somehow…

“Brinke Stevens claims that Haunted Fear is her best work and her favorite film. She is serviceable in the lead and handles dramatic scenes pretty well. But her over-the-top killer schtick is pretty bad […] Both Sheppard and Richardson give solid, sleazy performances.” 80s Horror Central

“Brinke Stevens makes a great maniac […] Her rampage at the end saves this movie from the trash compactor. So basically I would skip most of the movie and fast forward to the last 20 minutes. The plot itself is only strong enough for a half-hour episode of Tales from the Darkside.” Dr Gore’s Movie Reviews

“Amusingly rinky-dink gore effects and some very lubricious s-e-x illuminate Haunting Fear, a Poe-inspired nonsense about infidelity and premature burial. The scariest thing here is realizing that the two headliners — who between them account for about 15 minutes of screen time — aren’t slumming.” Entertainment Weekly

” …much as I love Fred’s quirky monster cuties popping up every 15 minutes to break up the uninspired bits, Haunting Fear was a relief from that because the entire movie was engaging without winks, nudges or monsters. I’m going to remember this as one of my favorite Brinke Stevens performances […] and she looked radiant every time she was on screen, even in that grisly finale.” Hollie Horror

“While it’s not a good movie by any definition, this effort is likely one of the finest Fred Olen Ray genre pieces you’ll see. Perhaps this is so because the director doesn’t have to reckon with alien creatures, strange psychics and other overly technical complications (Biohazard, 1985, j’accuse).” John Kenneth Muir, Horror Films of the 1990s, McFarland, 2011

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“When the film begins we see our protagonist visiting her father’s casket when he rises from it with dirt foaming in his mouth. This was a fantastic scene that looks absolutely amazing. However, the two death scenes we get are extremely cheap and poorly done. The foam head in one of the gags is beyond laughable.” Horror Society

“Only during the admittedly grim and entertaining finale does the movie pick up. There’s still enough to like about this to give it a positive rating. The aforementioned T/A, some cheesy practical effects littered throughout, an actual good performance from Brinke Stevens…” Varan the Man

Cast and characters:
Brinke Stevens … Victoria Munroe
Jan-Michael Vincent … Detective James Trent
John Henry Richardson … Terry Munroe (as Jay Richardson)
Delia Sheppard … Lisa
Karen Black … Doctor Julia Harcourt
Robert Clarke … Doctor Carlton
Robert Quarry … Visconti
Michael Berryman … Mortician
Hoke Howell … Father Corpse
Greta Carlson … Visconti’s Girl (as Sherri Graham)
Mark Thomas McGee … Morgue Attendant #1
Jeff Yesko … Morgue Attendant #2


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