Scream And Scream Again (1970 United Kingdom)

This is one of those old British films that let you down but you want to look for the good within the disappointment. Its mildly entertaining but incoherent: 3 separate stories have been forced together. The result is an ultra-long episode of TV’s The Avengers. This is so late ’60’s, with its discotheques, pop groups ( ‘The Amen Corner’ ) and blokes in flowered shirts. Hammer tried to go down the same route later with ‘Dracula A.D. 1972’ but, by then, London had stopped swinging. On the plus side, if any film signposted the direction horror took in the ’70’s, it was Scream And Scream Again. You even get a foretaste of Michael Crichton’s ‘Coma.’

There’s a madman loose, trawling London’s hippest night-club and killing young girls, who are subsequently found drained of blood. So the police, led by deadpan comedian, Alfred Marks, set up a honey trap. Meanwhile, somewhere else, some Russian/Nazi types seemingly hell-bent on creating a ‘master race’ are going round the countryside shooting people, delivering Vulcan death grips and dabbling in a spot of torture. While this is going on, a jogger who collapsed at the beginning of the film, is disappearing limb by limb in a strange hospital. He is tended to by a mute nurse. She doesn’t seem to be concerned by his plight.

Vincent Price plays Dr. Browning, a scientist who may or may not be what he seems (Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee also star, but in miniscule roles). The main flaw though is one director Gordon Hessler made before in The Oblong Box: There’s no hero/main character. You don’t know who you’re rooting for or against. So you don’t identify with anyone in particular. It’s very confusing but the payoff at the climax almost makes up for it. For a horror film this is brimming with action scenes, including car chases, chases on foot, fight scenes and more. The whole thing moves along at a brisk pace and is never boring. Tension and suspense are generated without padding things with unnecessary or overlong scenes.

*Spoiler* My highlight of Scream And Scream Again is an awesome long car chase scene. This morphs into a desperate foot race through a deserted building, then up a photogenic quarry. The suspect (a Mick Jagger-ish ‘composite’) leaves his hand behind and later jumps into an acid bath. Following this, a policeman dips his hand into the acid then screams “My hand! It burns!” in a Welsh accent. Yeah boyo, it would! A couple of final points. The cops in this remind me of the hopeless Metropolitan Police in Theatre Of Blood (1973). They couldn’t find an elephant in your granny’s backyard. So, if you fancy a fix of weird and off the wall horror-thriller action, filmed in perpetual twilight it seems, and are prepared to suspend logic and disbelief a little more vehemently than usual, then you could do far worse than this oddity.

Advertisements

Comments

  1. This film sounds like a madcap ride, will certainly check this one out when I’m in the mood for unintentional laughs!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: