Schalcken the Painter (1979)

The Horror Hothouse

ThePainter2BFI Flipside’s Schalcken the Painter is a welcome reissue of a BBC film originally broadcast late on December 23 1979. I remember watching it on the tiny black and white portable in my bedroom as I shivered under the duvet, and not just from the winter cold.

Based upon a short story by Carmilla author J Sheridan Le Fanu, Schalcken the Painter weaves a chilling tale of terror around the life of the 17th century Dutch painter Godfried Schalcken (1647-1708). A student of Gerrit Dou (Maurice Denham) Schalcken (Jeremy Clyde) falls for his master’s daughter Rose (Cheryl Kennedy), but when the cadaverous Vanderhausen (John Justin) offers Dou a fortune to make a wedding contract with Rose, Schalcken sets his ambition as a painter above his love for Rose and eschews the opportunity to elope with her. Naturally Vanderhausen, who has the disturbing habit of letting himself in without using…

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