(ITC Movie title "Fear Is Spreading")
Original UK transmission: 3rd May 1975
Original US transmission: 25th February 1975
WRITTEN BY: Dennis Spooner based on a story by Brian Clemens
DIRECTED BY: Dennis Vance
PRODUCED BY: Ian Fordyce
MAIN CAST: Denholm Elliot (Dr Frank Henson), Anthony Valentine (Garard), Claire Nielson (Hilary), Tandy Cronyn (Tracy Loxton), Alan Browning (Supt. Brook), Juan Moreno (Filton), David Horovitch (Tredgett), Dennis Chinnery (Sergeant), Ken Parry (Taxi Driver), Brian Haines (Inspector), Mark Wing-Davey (Cater)
A shot of a large country house switches to an interior view as the camera pans across a room adorned with a multitude of framed posters. Upstairs, a woman runs distraught from a bedroom and down to the living room where she stands weeping. Turning, she sees a man standing behind her and screams as he slaps her forcefully across the face. Then, going to her side, the man re-assures her gently "Oh my poor darling...my poor neurotic darling..."
Prestigious specialist Frank Henson and his wife Hillary become held hostage in their country home when Henson opens the door to escaped convict Garard and his sidekick Filton. Garard, a notorious killer, agrees not to harm the couple as long as they co-operate, but then an unwanted guest in the form of journalist Tracy Loxton arrives. Loxton claims she had made an appointment to see the Henson's collection of poster art weeks beforehand and, despite the best efforts of the doctor, insists on seeing the house. An elaborate deception then ensues, with the unbalanced Garard reluctantly playing the part of the Henson's butler while they wait for the girl to leave. Yet Garard is perhaps not the only killer present in the house.
Dennis Spooner fleshed out this reasonably tense instalment that packs plenty of punch initially but comes to an ignominious end with one of the daftest endings ever. Anthony Valentine's memorable performance as the megalomaniac Garard is still definitely worth seeing however. Veteran Denholm Elliot also lends the production some class, whilst Juan Moreno had previously appeared as Mad Nick in Season One's A Place To Die.
NOTE: The storyline was penned by Brian Clemens, a credit which is often overlooked.
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