Conrad Radzoff (Ferdy Mayne) was a famous actor in his day. He was also the most famous vampire character on film. Now he is reduced to doing vampire commercials for dentures. When the director (Peter Kastner) of his latest commercial criticizes him, he throws him off a balcony.
Conrad is honored at a horror appreciation event and is asked to speak. He is welcomed with riotous applause from his young fans. Before he gets too far in his speech, he collapses from an apparent heart attack. Meg (Jennifer Starrett), one of the students, gives him mouth to mouth resuscitation and he revives.
The experience tells Conrad that he needs to think about planning his funeral arrangements for when he ultimately dies. Of course, being the big star he is, those arrangements must be elaborate. Wolfgang (Leon Askin) directed Conrad in most of his vampire films. As he is discussing the issue with him, he pretends to die. Wolfgang then starts trash talking the old vampire. Conrad then kills Wolfgang.
Not long after that Conrad does die and has the funeral he planned. In attendance are some of the students that worshiped him. After the service Conrad is laid in his mausoleum. Several of the students decide to break into the building. They take Conrad’s body and bring it to an old house used by the students as The Horror Film Society. After having a party and dancing with the corpse they lay it in a coffin in the attic for the night intending on bringing it back to the mausoleum the next day.
The next day Conrad’s widow, Etta (Barbara Pilavin) consults a clairvoyant, Mrs. Rohmer (Nita Talbot). Rohmer conducts a séance which brings Conrad back to life. Conrad screams, which brings the students to the coffin. Seeing Conrad still looking dead they close the lid and lock it. After they leave, the coffin bursts open and Conrad rises to seek revenge on the ones that stole his body.
“Frightmare” AKA “The Horror Star” was released in 1983 and was written and directed by Norman Thaddeus Vane. It is an American low budget horror supernatural slasher film. The film was supposedly shot in 1981 but not released in 1983.
Who these people are is of no importance. They are all entitled brats that deserve to die. The film is very gothic in feel but with lots of slasher elements as well as a couple Old Dark House tropes. A sort of “Weekend At Bernie’s” 1989 run amok. Like most slasher films there are a series of deaths, each one varied and gruesome in its own way. The atmosphere is provided by cinematographer Joel King. His determination to instill creepy horror using lighting and fog actually adds to the camp factor. It’s slightly better than the usual 80’s slasher pic.
Ferdy Mayne is wonderfully campy as the dead vampire. His embodiment of the vampire styles of Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi allows him to steal the film. The, movie within a movie, black and white film clips that are supposed to be of Conrad’s earlier pictures are actually of Christopher Lee in his film “Uncle Was A Vampire” 1959. Jeffrey Combs, from the Re-Animator series, plays the part of Stu, one of Conrad’s victims.
Some of the horror movie props were provided by Forrest J Ackerman.