5.7/10
127
5 user 4 critic

Hostage (1983)

Horrific true tale set in late 1970s Australia and later West Germany about an abused wife who learns in horror that her sadistic German-born husband is actually a fanatical neo-Nazi.

Director:

Frank Shields

Writers:

John Lind, Christine Maresch (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kerry Mack Kerry Mack ... Christine Maresch
Ralph Schicha Ralph Schicha ... Walter Maresch
Gabriella Barraket Gabriella Barraket ... Child
Judy Nunn Judy Nunn ... Mrs. Lewis
Vic Robins Vic Robins ... Mr. Lewis
Doris Goddard ... Mrs. Hoffman
Michael Harrs Michael Harrs ... John Hoffman
Clare Binney Clare Binney ... Freda Hoffman
Henk Johannes Henk Johannes ... Wolfgang
Burt Cooper Burt Cooper ... Helmut
Ian Mortimer Ian Mortimer ... Gary
Moshe Kedem Moshe Kedem ... Zaiter
Ian Shrives Ian Shrives ... Pimp in Club
Tony Hughes Tony Hughes ... Pimp's Mate
Tony Blackett Tony Blackett ... Australian Surgeon
Edit

Storyline

Horrific true tale set in the late 70's Australia about Christine Lewis, a naive 16 year old who in 1974 meets a handsome German immigrant called Walter Maresch working as a carny, and they quickly fall in love. However, his secret sadistic side quickly begins to reveal itself and he manages to strong-arm her into marriage. Things get progressively worse even after they have a baby, but her nightmare truly begins when he reveals to her that he is actually a fanatical member of the banned Nazi Party and forces her to move with him to West Germany, where the neo-Nazi group he belongs to operates. As his abusive behavior worsens and his neo-Nazi activities turn violent, she's forced to choose between her life - and his. Written by <tgard@genauto.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

German | English

Release Date:

5 May 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Savage Attraction See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Frontier Films, Klejazz See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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User Reviews

 
Nazis, carnies and babies in an Aussie oddity
27 December 2011 | by ofumalowSee all my reviews

Never mind the ridiculous cover (at least of my old VHS tape) showing the heroine simpering like baby-doll jailbait on a bed in lingerie--this is an at least somewhat serious attempt to dramatize a purportedly true story, however loosely based it may be. Yet it does occasionally lurch into cheesy sexploitation, just one among many ways it can't seem to maintain any tone or focus at all.

Kerry Mack's heroine starts out kinda white-trashy, and one feels for her callous dismissal of carny co-worker Ralph Schicha's earnest marriage proposal. Then suddenly she's the poor victim, pregnant and into marriage against her will--his life in danger, he refuses surgery unless she gets consents--and he's acting like an obsessed stalker in a horror movie. They move to his native Germany, where he reveals himself as a Nazi fanatic and forces her to perform a bank robbery with wig and machine gun like Patty Hearst. That's hardly the end of the extreme globe-trotting melodramatics, either.

Mack is made to jump through too many emotional hoops, and the very handsome Schicha can't make sense of a character who's sweet and loyal one minute, then psycho and abusive the next. (On the plus side, the kid who plays their toddler daughter is adorable, and seems very relaxed around her "parents.") The movie just doesn't have the finesse to pull off such a complicated relationship in psychological terms, and stylistically it reels from sober drama to broad, lurid, sometimes choppily edited sequences.

Despite its alleged factual basis in the experiences of a woman who endured some years tied to a delusional Nazi husband, the film's progress is too erratic to be credible. It awkwardly lands between drive-in fare and something more respectable. Still, it's too hectic to be dull.


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