From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
< Stark FearRevision as of 12:27, 5 January 2021 by Pete
Ellen Winslow (Beverly Garland) is trying her best to keep her three-year marriage afloat but there’s a problem: her salesman husband Gerry (Skip Homeier) isn’t making enough money. To remedy the situation Ellen—long legged, coquettish, willing—takes a job as a secretary to a man that, unbeknownst to her, was once a rival of her husband.
It’s true that her new position further alienates her from Gerry, but it’s also true that Jerry is a “sadist,” a man who takes pleasure in making women suffer, a man with an unresolved mother complex.
Threadbare but engaging (Garland is superior) there’s a lot in Stark Fear to keep you engaged. A visit to a Native American dance is curious, a stop-by at a swinger’s party is threatening, a brutal graveside rape is grotesque, a visit to a jukebox museum is odd, and the a sleepy Oklahoma town filled with eager-to-perform-for-the-camera locals is haunting. These are real people in their own habitat interacting with film performers; people play-acting situations while their real-people counterparts are actually living them.
Directors Ned Hockman/Skip Homeier’s straightforward approach to telling this poverty-row exploitation oddity is, in the end, effective. Stark Fear is a film that titillates, but at the same time, makes a social/ psychological commentary. It's a cautionary tale of a love-starved young woman who gives her dangerous, conflicted and abusive husband one too many chances.
Josiah Howard is the author of four books including Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide (now in a fourth printing). His writing credits include articles for the American Library of Congress, The New York Times and Readers Digest. A veteran of more than one hundred radio broadcasts, Howard also lectures on cinema and is a frequent guest on entertainment news television. Visit his Official Website.