Boots, Bracelets & Bathtubs – Rediscovering ‘Blind Terror’ (UK 1971 – 89 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - November 12, 2015
Boots, Bracelets & Bathtubs – Rediscovering ‘Blind Terror’ (UK 1971 – 89 mins)

Creepy thrillers featuring defenceless blind women have usually made for a thrilling fright-flick. From the 1967 Audrey Hepburn starrer ‘Wait Until Dark’ to the obscure British mystery ‘Witness in the Dark’ (’59), the main hook is usually enough to grab the attention as we root for the vulnerable protagonist. Another good example of its type is Richard Fleischer’s rural set creep-fest ‘Blind Terror’, a minor yet highly watchable entry in the genre.

After losing her eyesight in a horse riding accident, the resilient Sarah (Mia Farrow) returns to the English countryside farm of her youth, to stay with her relatives. While visiting a former boyfriend (Norman Eshley), her uncle, aunt and cousin are brutally murdered by a killer wearing distinctive cowboy boots. Later, after discovering the bodies, Sarah finds herself taken hostage by a gypsy family who think one of their own may be responsible for the slaughter. After managing to escape, and finding shelter at Steve’s house, the killer soon catches up with Sarah, hoping to retrieve an incriminating bracelet she had earlier picked up from the crime scene.

Filmed in rural Berkshire and also known as ‘See No Evil’, this fun suspenser is elevated by a very good central performance by 26 year old Mia Farrow, who’s very convincing as our nervous heroine, complete with English accent. The British supporting cast is largely made up of television regulars, including Norman Eshley as her old flame, and Paul Nicholas and Michael Elphick as potential suspects. The lengthy scene where Sarah is walking around the farmhouse unaware that there are three bodies strewn about is particularly memorable, even if the climax itself is pretty standard.

Doing his usual solid job as director, Richard Fleischer also shot the superb John Christie thriller ’10 Rillington Place’ that year, and had earlier made the wonderfully eerie docu-drama ‘The Boston Strangler’ (’68) with Henry Fonda and Tony Curtis. Genre writer Brian Clemens was an expert at creating both tension and atmosphere, something he had shown the year before when he frightened French tourists with the sun-soaked sleeper ‘And Soon the Darkness’(’70). An added plus here was the stirring and often beautiful soundtrack, which was provided by one of my favourite film composers, the great Elmer Bernstein.

Although it had mixed reviews and small box office returns at the time, I think ‘Blind Terror’ is an enjoyable mud-filled whodunit that has garnered a minor following over the years, due to numerous late-night televisions showings. With its creepy atmosphere and plotline that racks up the tension, it certainly has a lot going for it. It also has a fairly surprising villain with one of the most trivial reasons for their killings; somebody splashed mud on their beloved cowboy boots!

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