Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Hootenanny - First Impressions: Scream Bloody Murder (Marc B. Ray, 1973)

Last night's movie was another initially unplanned 11th hour choice, that was suggested to me as a good potential follow on from A Bell from Hell (thanks Brad!), due to their shared year and similar setup (i.e. a young man gets released from a mental institution and general craziness inevitably ensues), and, as luck would have it, it was even on the same side of the Mill Creek DVD as that movie, so I didn't even need to change discs (bonus!). I was a little bit unsure about taking the plunge with this one at first, as it really was a leap into the completely unknown, but I'm sure as hell glad I did...

The young man in question, Matthew (Fred Holbert), has been locked away since running over his dad, and then his own hand, with a tractor when he was still a young 'un. Upon his release, he returns home to find that his mother has remarried, much to his disapproval. In fact, poor Matthew seems to have a pathological hatred of anyone who is in with a chance of getting jiggy in the sack with (or even just touching) his mum, so as you might imagine, it isn't long before said step-dad is getting the shit killed out of him. And then things really start getting out of hand (no pun intended)...

As always with these things, I'm reluctant to give any more away. All I'll say is (and this is no doubt stating the bleeding obvious, as it's implicit from what I've described above) that Matthew has some serious relationship and sexual hangups, and we get an intimate insight into his issues for the remainder of the movie. 

I had no idea what sort of movie this was going to be tone wise (and to be honest I'm still a bit unclear where exactly it was meant to be pitched... i.e. I'm not sure how often the makers were taking the piss here, and if they ever were at all), but I had an absolute blast watching it. There's some visually appealing elements on display, such as occasionally inventive, dynamic camera-work and some scattered hallucinatory craziness. The leads play their parts with gusto and are both quite engaging. There's a couple of howlers to be heard on the dialogue front. And finally, a pre-Phantasm Angus Scrimm (credited here - before he'd created that pseudonym - as Rory Guy) has a small but memorable role. I only have one minor criticism, which is that they apparently didn't have any money for gore effects as they are pretty much non-existent, but I really didn't care when I was watching (and still don't really), as the movie was so entertaining anyway.  In summation, I'd say that if you like your slashers (and this is maybe something of a proto one) fast, uncomplicated and filled from end to end with unpredictable insanity, then you really can't go wrong here.


  1. Whew! I'm glad that worked out

  2. What a fun little gem of a film this was! In retrospect, I'd say it's probably not as fast paced/action packed as I've suggested, but I was never bored. I know some people apparently found the second half of the movie to drag but I'm guessing their mileage varied a fair bit to mine, as I didn't find that to be the case.