The Comeback (1978)

It has taken me a while to become a Pete Walker fan, but you can officially include me in the club. The Comeback may be one of his weakest films that I’ve thus far seen, but it’s still a solid little thriller with a few great moments along the way. For example, Walker handles the first murder scene quite well. The murderer comes out of nowhere to commit an incredibly brutal and violent act against his victim. Walker is able to catch a real sense of malice and hatred on the part of the killer – something quite nice when compared with the usual unemotional serial killer. Another real plus for The Comeback is the presence of Walker regular Shelia Keith. She may not have as much to do here as in something like House of Whipcord or Frightmare, but she’s incredible in the scenes she does have. The woman could chew scenery with the best of them. She has an air about her that works in Walker’s films. The creepy old house, the elevator scenes, and Walker’s use of red herrings are also among my favorite bits of the movie.

But, as my rating would indicate, it’s not all good. My biggest problem is the casting of Jack Jones in the lead. He’s dull and unappealing. He can’t carry most of the scenes he appears in let alone the entire movie. During the film, I began to dub him “The Anti-Shelia Keith” as he lacks anything approaching the screen presence of scene-stealing Keith. My other big problem is with David Doyle as Jones’ manager. As is evident even in his performances on Charlie’s Angels, Doyle cannot play “serious” believably at all. He comes across as far too goofy to add the required gravity to a given scene. He’s just bad.

If you’re a fan of Pete Walker and enjoy his work with Shelia Keith, you should be able to find something enjoyable in The Comeback. If you’re new to Walker, I would suggest starting with another of his films.