Post-apocalyptic stories don’t turn up in the Golden Age of Spanish Horror as frequently as I would like and until a listener asked us about REFUGE OF FEAR (1974) neither of us were aware of it being part of that sub-genre. Of course, once we learned about the cast, we immediately tracked down a copy and here we are!
Also known as CREATION OF THE DAMNED the film tells the story of a small group of survivors of a possible nuclear war. These five people live in a cramped underground complex while trying to wait out the effects of radiation on the world above. The teenage son of one couple is obsessed with trying to stay in contact with the outside by shortwave radio. He lives in the hope that his girlfriend is somehow still alive but is becoming less sure of that possibility while the pair of married couples are having problems of their own. The husbands are ex-military so are using their training to maintain order but as the film begins tensions are in evidence. One wife drinks and knits while the other tries to sleep away as many hours as she can. Soon, the cracks that begin to appear in the walls of their concrete bunker aren’t the most dangerous breaks in their lives as mentally fragile people start to fracture.
REFUGE OF FEAR (1974) has a generally bad reputation which both Troy and I feel is a shame. We were drawn to see this film because it stars the wonderful Patty Shepard who, along with Craig Hill, appeared in a couple of Paul Naschy’s films. She and Hill have he most screentime and are good in their roles with the script giving them some juicy dramatic meat to chew on. The interesting script comes under discussion even as we try to not spoil the turns things take in the final act. We both feel that the director lets the film down a bit and we dig into the possible reasons for that. And we once again find a film that is richly deserving of a quality Blu-Ray release. I think this could be considered a much better film if a good print was made available.
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