Cinema: A House in the Country

The Collector is a good grisly thriller that never rises to the challenge of becoming something more. Contrived to leave viewers feeling scared silly rather than profoundly shaken, this tournament of terror spells instant stardom for two relatively uncelebrated English performers, Samantha Eggar and Terence Stamp, although Stamp is seriously miscast. From a taut beginning to a breath-stopping climax, the drama seizes attention, yet misses nearly all the depth and subtlety of the small sinister bestseller on which it is based.

In his 1963 novel, a core sampling from that vein of irrational...

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