Thursday, January 12, 2012

DVD Review: The Comeback (1977)

The Comeback (1977) is an entertaining slasher movie made by the British exploitation filmmaker Pete Walker (I previously reviewed his film Cool it, Carol! here). The Comeback is not as popular as some of Walker’s other horror films such as Frightmare and The House of Whipcord, but I think it’s worth a look if you enjoy late seventies thrillers. The movie clearly shows it’s age and has plenty of kitsch value, but it also has a certain vintage charm that might appeal to retro movie fans.
The movie stars the American jazz vocalist Jack Jones as a recently divorced and aging pop star named Nick Cooper, who’s desperate to make a “comeback” after a long hiatus from the music business. Nick’s manager Webster (David Doyle, or better known as John Bosley from the Charlie’s Angels television show) rents him an old British country estate with a recording studio and sets him up with two devoted servants that tend to his every need, but Nick finds the place rather spooky and soon after he arrives he begins hearing frightening screams in the night and seeing grizzly visions of a decomposing corpse. In the meantime, visitors to his abandoned penthouse are being brutally murdered by a creepy masked killer.

The rest of the cast includes Pamela Stephenson as Nick’s love interest Linda and a few regulars from director Pete Walker’s other films including Bill Owen & Sheila Keith as the old servants Mr. & Mrs. B.
Jack Jones is rather forgettable as the washed-up pop star and it’s not surprising that his only other film role after staring in The Comeback was as the nameless lounge singer in the comedy Airplane II: the Sequel. He’s now mostly remembered for singing the theme song for the popular seventies television series The Love Boat and for his short lived romances to actresses like Jill St. John and Susan George.
Pamela Stephenson isn’t bad in her role as Linda, but unfortunately she doesn't get much screen time and Peter Turner is quite good as Nick's sleazy assistant Harry. David Doyle is somewhat comical as Nick’s determined manger, but he's always been an actor with questionable skills. In The Comeback he gets to appear in a memorable and unexpected scene wearing drag while listening to cabaret music, but Doyle was never an attractive man and as woman he’s downright frightening.
The Comeback was released on NTSC Region-1 DVD last year by Media Blasters/Shriek Show as part of their Pete Walker Collection and the movie is also available on PAL Region-2 DVD in the UK as part of Anchor Bay’s Pete Walker Collection Coffin Boxset.
If you enjoy British slashers and are in the mood for some trashy seventies fun, I recommend giving The Comeback a look.
For more information about the DVD please see Amazon.

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