No clever intro this time: I’m clearing my backlog of Hammer movie reviews, here’s a review of three which don’t fit into any neat category.
After What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was a surprise hit, Bette Davis was more than happy to spend a chunk of her late career cashing in on her newfound acclaim as a horror villain. After all, the performance she and Joan Crawford had pulled off in Baby Jane had kicked off a brief micro-genre of psychological horror movies with older women as malevolent figures – why not exploit that, when the industry was otherwise all too willing to leave aging actresses on the shelf? That’s how she ended up starring in this 1966 Seth Holt film, which ended up being Hammer’s last black and white feature.
We open with Bette’s character – referred to simply as “Nanny”, for that is the capacity in which she’s hired by her employers – enjoying a happy little walk through her local park before she enters the home of her employers, the Fane family. As soon as she steps inside, the contrast between the miserable atmosphere inside the house and the happy outdoor scene is brutally obvious.