The Comeback (1978)

Not nearly nasty enough Pete Walker directed horror-thriller about a tormented pop star on the comeback trail. Also known as The Day the Screaming Stopped.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Comeback (film)

Jack Jones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This review was written 35 years too late

What a bizarre cast. Crooner and cheapo Robert Redford lookalike Jack Jones teams up with Bosley from the Charlie’s Angels TV series, Compo from Last of the Summer Wine, and Not the Nine O’Clock News member and Mrs Billy Connolly Pamela Stephenson in a tale of torment, cross-dressing, and too brief brutal shocks. Heck, it’s even got Jack Palance‘s daughter in it!

Jack is Nick, a fading pop star hoping to make a comeback with a new album after some years in the wilderness. Egged on by David “Bosley” Doyle as a very un-rock’n’roll manager, he decides the best place to lay down some new tracks is a grand yet slightly creepy mansion in the country. Just as well, as his ex-wife has just been slashed to bloody shreds by a scary old lady in his London penthouse.

The mansion staff include Bill “Compo” Owen doing spaced-out, wide-eyed and slightly mad, and Pete Walker stalwart Sheila Keith as his polite yet sinister housekeeper wife. Love interest comes in the form of an early Pamela Stephenson role (she keeps her kit on, pervy readers).

The attacks are the best thing about The Comeback. Cheapo Brit horror legend Pete Walker delivers them with rapid, sudden shocks. Even though you know they are coming, when they start they are fast, twisted and alarming. Quite brutal too. Trouble is, there aren’t enough of them.

Instead, we get a fair bit of Nick wandering around the imposing mansion on his Jack Jones (nice!) as he starts to hear cries and sobs that may or may not belong to his ex, doing it with Pammy in the front seat of his Lotus in a dull-looking English seaside town, and the discovery of the odd corpse or maggot-infested head somewhere which seem to vanish every time he tries to show his gruesome finds to someone else.

Chuck in Bosley as a grotesque tranny (briefly lusted after by Are You Being Served? ‘s Penny Irving, who also starred in an earlier Walker classic, “House of Whipcord“) to confuse the mystery a bit and you finish up with, to give the film credit, a climax that does leave you wondering who is behind all the madness-inducing goings on and why until all is revealed in an axe-wielding melee of wigs and chases.

Enjoy, but warning: film contains bad songs courtesy of Mr Jones.

Trailer:

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