Pulpy and campy in a distinctly late-70's post-Hammer Brit-thriller kind of way, Pete Walker's The Comeback is a fairly dry and ridiculous little relic, but if you hold some affection for Walker's cult favorites (Frightmare, Schizo, and House of Long Shadows), then odds are you'll dig this one too. It takes a nice long while to warm up, and many of its plot contortions are predictable (or downright silly), but for all its goofiness, The Comeback sure isn't boring. (Well, actually it is, but only in a few spots.)
Jack Jones (aka the guy who sang the Love Boat theme song) stars as easy-listening superstar Nick Cooper, who's just now starting a new album after a six-year hiatus and an ugly divorce. Nick's former wife get slashed to ribbons early in the flick, but that won't stop her from whining, crying, and whimpering from beyond the graaaaave. Or maybe it's just someone trying to drive Nick nutty. There are plenty of oddball suspects to pick through: a money-hungry manager and his hot little secretary, a horny roadie and concerned doctor, a pair of nice old coots who run Nick's apartment house.
But no, it's got to be something supernatural, because other people keep popping up dead ... and what's with the maggot-strewn skulls that Nick keeps finding?
It's all very dry and formulaic, but if low-budget British thriller - mystery - horror stories are your particular cup of tea, there's enough here to warrant a nostalgic visit. The cast has a "novelty value" that's hard to deny: In addition to lifetime lounge-singer Jack Jones in the lead role, we've also got a young & perky Pamela Stephenson (former SNL star and current Mrs. Billy Connolly) as the sexy secretary, longtime TV veteran David Doyle as the pushy manager, and Holly (daughter of Jack) Palance as Nick's poor, murdered ex-wife, who appears mainly as a flashback, a corpse, or a maggot-strewn skull.
It's all very gothic and mellow and reserved ... except for the four or five occasions in which something especially goofy and/or gory goes down. The flick never really comes close to being scary, but it has a kitschy old-school charm that helps one forgive the slow stretches. Plus it's got one of the head-slappingest finalÚs you ever will see.
Media Blasters / Shriek Show don't treat this 1978 obscurity to the full Special Edition treatment, but as part of the "Pete Walker Collection," it comes with a few extra goodies. The film itself is presented in a very fine anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Extras include an audio commentary with Mr. Walker and "English Gothic" author Jonathan Rigby, the original theatrical trailer, a photo gallery, some press notes, and six trailers for other titles in the Walker Collection.