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Author Topic: House Of Mortal Sin/The Confessional Murders (Pete Walker, 1976)  (Read 6467 times)

Paul

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Working my way through the Pete Walker collection, I’d already seen THE COMEBACK when the set was released a couple of years ago and have recently watched FRIGHTMARE and HOUSE OF WHIPCORD and have begun to really get into the vibe of the films – although each of the films originate from dark material, there’s a prevalent streak of comedy running through them. It’s a shame that Walker’s work isn’t really recognised outside of cult circles because the films are rough diamonds patiently waiting to be discovered by today’s audiences. Granted, the languid pacing isn’t for all tastes but the films are definitely rewarding for the more patient viewer.

So last night I checked out THE HOUSE OF MORTAL SIN (aka THE CONFESSIONAL MURDERS) and again, I was really impressed. The film—by Walker’s own admission—was conceived as a confrontational piece, one that attacks the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, which for the time in which it was made, was a brave move. While the film isn’t shocking by today’s standards, you can only imagine how it was received during its initial release. THE HOUSE OF MORTAL SIN is a purely enjoyable thriller and follows the plight of a young woman and how a chance encounter with a sinister priest leads to a tale of murder and obsession.

Where the film succeeds best is in its characterization, with each of the characters given fleshed out and flawed in one are or another; even the most loathsome of the film’s characters have a sympathetic side and show qualities rarely seen in genre cinema.

The disc is fine, though the print itself isn’t without its problems – there’s a fair bit of damage evident but is solid and acceptable for the most part. While I’ve not listened to Walker’s audio commentary, the two featurettes – ‘Sheila Keith – A Nice Old Lady?’ and ‘Courting Controversy’ – an overview of all five films in the collection, featuring the participation of Walker, writer David McGillivray, among others are excellent and have piqued my interest enough to seek out Steve Chibnall’s book – MAKING MISHIEF – THE CULT FILMS OF PETE WALKER.
 
Walker was an interesting filmmaker and one that deserves to be given a lot more recognition. While it’s sad that he retired more than 20 years ago and at such an early age, there are still a good few of his films for me to catch up with.
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"Allow me to explain. Your mother is a whore, your father is a damn thief, and your grandfather is a notorious fag... and as for your sister..." - Yodlaf Peterson

Jonny

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Always liked this film, used to have the small box VHS pre-cert on the old Columbia 'Silver Series'. I missed out on buying the Anchor Bay 'Pete Walker collection' when it first came out and I'll definitely pick it up next time I see it going for a decent price.

There's nice interview with David McGillivray available as a download at the link below...

"Originally broadcast 16th November 2006: As a companion piece to our show on Norman J. Warren Alex Fitch talks to Norman's contemporary and collaborator David McGillivray about the horror film scripts he wrote in the 1970s such as 'Satan's Slave' and 'Frightmare' plus his new series of short films, Worst Fears... "

Click HERE for the download info...
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Paul

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Jonny - you've got to get the set, mate - there's one on amazon Marketplace for £13.40+P&P at the moment:

The Pete Walker Collection
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Kevin Coed

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Yes Jonny - buy the set! I'm disappointed you don't already have it.
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MarcMorris

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Comp, a lot of THE CONFESSIONAL MURDERS was filmed around Richmond.

Did you notice that a lot of the interviews in the featurette were done in my front room?  :-\
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Jonny

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Yes Jonny - buy the set! I'm disappointed you don't already have it.

Sorry for disappointing you, I'll order it asap... If only to see Marc's frontroom..  :D
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Paul

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Comp, a lot of THE CONFESSIONAL MURDERS was filmed around Richmond.

Did you notice that a lot of the interviews in the featurette were done in my front room?  :-\

I noticed that the film was shot in Richmond, mate, but no, didn't notice your front room at all! Hahaha.
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CountFosco

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I'm also a big Pete Walker fan (own the coffin shaped DVD set) and have started a casual (no set time frame) to rewatch all of his horror output. Watched DIE SCREAMING MARIANNE and listened to the commentary and THE FLESH AND BLOOD SHOW. I'd not seen either before and found much to enjoy despite MARIANNE being more a thriller, and not fondly remembered by Walker, and FLESH AND BLOOD is uneven but a lot of fun.

I too, would be keen to read the Chibnall book but have heard criticism of it in terms of factual accuracy and general contextual readings of the period in which Walker's work emerged. Plan to pick it up and judge for myself.

Look forward to listening to that McG interview, was it for a podcast or documentary?
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Paul

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I like Walker's films a lot too but really am not a fan of MARIANNE - it's such a painfully dull film.
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CountFosco

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Yeah, I agree with that but that opening number with Susan George go-go dancing to Cyril Ornadel's big brassy score is brilliant fun as is Leo Genn's incestuous and corrupt judge. I believe he went straight from this film to Lucio Fulci's superb A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN.
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Paul

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Yeah, I agree with that but that opening number with Susan George go-go dancing to Cyril Ornadal's big brassy score is brilliant fun as is Leo Genn's incestuous and corrupt judge. I believe he went straight from this film to Lucio Fulci's superb A LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN.

Yeah, the opening is great but as soon as the credits have rolled itszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
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CountFosco

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Yeah, I think Walker felt pretty much the same. It is arguably his least liked film in his own opinion.
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Paul

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Yeah, I think Walker felt pretty much the same. It is arguably his least liked film in his own opinion.

It's an exploitation pic, made to make money. A "lets make a thriller with some hot birds in an exotic location and just let the dough roll in". There's a real lack of any artistry.
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CountFosco

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It does have a bizarre and tenuous feel of the Bava gialli which came out around the same time 5 DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON and A BAY OF BLOOD. In the sense of its remote Mediterranean location, rising bodycount and cast of duplicitous, self-serving characters.

But yeah, it's massively inferior to both of those which do have plenty of artistry along with the carnage!
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Paul

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It does have a bizarre and tenuous feel of the Bava gialli which came out around the same time 5 DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON and A BAY OF BLOOD. In the sense of its remote Mediterranean location, rising bodycount and cast of duplicitous, self-serving characters.

But yeah, it's massively inferior to both of those which do have plenty of artistry along with the carnage!

A lot of people knock FIVE DOLLS but I quite like it. I'd not made that association before but can see where you're coming from.
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"Allow me to explain. Your mother is a whore, your father is a damn thief, and your grandfather is a notorious fag... and as for your sister..." - Yodlaf Peterson
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