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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.


Frank Shields


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


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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


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


R | See all certifications »





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 »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Above-average 'true-life' exploitation
2 November 2012 | by atmvawserSee all my reviews

Well, this one's certainly disappeared almost without trace (my local rental outlet appears to be preparing to box or dump its huge collection of VHS, this one presumably among them, and I'd say it's not bloody likely to ever see the light of day again on a DVD release), and although it's nothing like a masterpiece, 'Hostage' is an intriguing and gripping example of the 'woman-in-peril' genre, this time based on an allegedly true story of the young Australian Christine Maresch and her immigrant husband Walter. When we first meet her, she's hitching down the highway, apparently having fled a violent home life. Ending up a carnival worker, she meets a German man who would probably make a great husband - if only Christine actually wanted to have a family...but Walter knows just what to do to trap his object of desire! Even if it's all true as told, it's still exploitation (the abundance of bare-breasted moments from lovely lead Kerry Mack, a real Michelle Williams look-alike, give the game away), and Leonard Maltin's complaint of it being 'disjointed' and 'repetitive'? Guilty as charged - but it's also stylish enough to be eye-catching, yet straightforward enough to be powerful. Frank Shields, the director and co-writer, knows what will hit an audience on a gut level and seize their attention: domestic abuse and terror, children caught in the middle, Nazis (!) and more - but he lets the film go almost totally off-the-rails during an inexplicable scene in the middle section, one which not only trades in offensive depictions of vicious and depraved Turks, but sends a geyser of blood from a villain's slashed throat raining down on our put-upon heroine and her daughter (as if everything else she had to deal with wasn't enough!) It's so excessive and unnecessary I didn't really know whether I wanted to laugh, cry or throw up...but the biggest problem is a vague feeling of emptiness that creeps in as the film's action just stops, and we are filled in as to the fate of this tragic family (accompanied by photos of the real Christine and daughter). It's an appropriately chilling curtain call (especially with that 80s score; I'm a sucker for a sequencer, sue me!) but has the film, messy and slightly sleazy yet ambitious and brave/foolish, really earned the respect of its audience that the true-life association seems to demand? I'm not entirely sure, and I'm probably not going to watch it again in an attempt to find out - but I give it the mark of an effective and above-average film of its type. See it before all copies are locked away and left to rot!

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