Description of the Movie "House of Whipcord"

by Scott Cornell

"House of Whipcord" is a 1974 British horror and thriller film. According to British Horror Films, despite its low budget and controversial subject matter, it remains one of director Pete Walker's most famous films. The run time is 102 minutes. Characterized as a "British exploitation film," it was released in the United States in March 1975.


"House of Whipcord" is part horror, part women's prison movie. The story centers around an old man who runs a women's correctional institute out of his home. His accomplice dupes the women into trouble, then presents them to the old man for treatment. As he's working with the women, he gives them three strikes. The first strike gets them put into solitary confinement, the second earns a beating. The third infraction gets them hanged.


Patrick Barr plays Justice Bailey, the deaf, blind, senile former high court judge. His correctional institute is designed to further punish and reform women whom he believes have not received the proper punishment for their illegal acts. Margaret, played by Barbara Markham, is Bailey's wife, who runs the institute with him. The story also centers around Ann-Marie Di Verney, played by Penny Irving. Di Verney, 19, is a French model who was fined for public indecency. She becomes an inmate in the facility.


You might think that a movie focused on women's reform and incarceration might feature lots of blood, violence and nudity. However, according to British Horror Films, although this movie does include these elements, it does so tastefully. There are only brief flashes of nudity, there's very little blood, and the violent beatings are either done in darkness or behind doors where they can't be observed, according to the site.


The underlying themes of the film center largely on capital punishment and society in general. In fact, according to, one of the credits at the end of the film reads "This film is dedicated to those who are disturbed by today's lax moral codes and who eagerly await the return of corporal and capital punishment." By this statement, it's easy to see how Walker felt about the judicial process when the movie was released in 1974. This movie was his way of expressing his displeasure.