Symptoms (film)

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Symptoms film.gif
Film poster
Directed by José Ramón Larraz (as Joseph Larraz)
Produced by Jean L. Dupuis
Written by José Ramón Larraz (as Joseph Larraz)
Stanley Miller
Thomas Owen (story)
Starring Angela Pleasence
Peter Vaughan
Lorna Heilbron
Mike Grady
Music by John Scott
Cinematography Trevor Wrenn
Edited by Brian Smedley-Aston
Release date
  • 10 May 1974 (1974-05-10) (Cannes)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Symptoms (AKA The Blood Virgin) is a 1974 British horror film directed by José Ramón Larraz.[1] It was an official British entry at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival.[2] Although circulated privately through bootlegs, the original prints were for many years missing, and was last shown on British television in 1983.[3] In February 2016 it was announced that with the help of the British Film Institute, they had been obtained and the film would be released on DVD.[4]


A young woman is invited by her girlfriend, who lives in an English country mansion, to stay there with her. The estate, however, isn't quite what it seems, and neither is the friend who issued the invitation.


Critical reception[edit]

Time Out called it "the finest British horror movie from a foreigner since Polanski’s Repulsion. The comparison is inevitable, because thematically the films have a good deal in common, charting the gradual mental dissolution of their spectral heroines. Symptoms imitates, but also improves on its original in a multiplicity of ways. The muted love affair between Pleasence and Lorna Heilbron is etched with enormous suggestiveness, and Larraz’s eye for visual detail is mesmerising";[5] and more recently, TV Guide concluded, "a truly chilling atmosphere is created, but its effectiveness is lost when the gore takes over";[6] whereas the BFI wrote, "it’s a slow burner but John Scott’s excellent score and Larraz’s sparse but effective use of shock tactics (a face at a window; a briefly glimpsed figure at the edge of the frame that really shouldn’t be there) ensure a mounting sense of dread. Pleasence steals the show but is capably assisted by Lorna Heilbron as the new object of her twisted affection and Peter Vaughan." [2]


External links[edit]