Scream and Scream Again (1970 UK)

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Scream and Scream Again (1970 UK)

Post  BoG on Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:48 pm



SCREAM... as you see Vincent Price playing a mad scientist!
SCREAM AGAIN as Christopher Lee makes his sinister presence known!
SCREAM Yet Some More as Peter Cushing makes a brief appearance!
In the trailer (above), when the credit for Peter Cushing comes up, Marshall Jones is the actor shown
This sounds like a horror film but it has strong sci-fi elements, modernizing the Frankenstein theme. Opinions on the quality of this one vary widely: depending on who you ask, it's either a near-masterpiece of sci-fi/horror or quite clumsily-made or just amateurish.
One thing the film is (and why many disagree on its virtues) and that's unusual. Most descriptions involve 3 separate plots and these 3 seem virtually unconnected for most of the film.
Plot #1 concerns a jogger (seen above) who collapses; we return to him every 10 minutes or so in some hospital room where he steadily loses his limbs.
Plot #2 involves some kind of a quasi-Nazi nation - the members wear these uniforms that recall the fascist country but the symbol is definitely different. Peter Cushing plays the head of this group, but
Spoiler:
I'll warn those who are interested in seeing him act against Price & Lee that he shows up at the 25-minute mark in a 4-minute scene with the actual main heavy and is promptly disposed of - his leadership was seriously limited;
the main heavy is played by Marshall Jones (above left), credited very low. He has this technique where he simply places his hand on a person's shoulder and, applying overwhelming pressure, kills them effortlessly - no one can resist this; well, almost no one.

Plot #3 is a crime thriller involving a superhuman serial killer (Michael Gothard) who preys on the nightclub set (this is modern London). The killer, who looks like a young Mick Jagger type and is named Keith, drains the blood of female victims. The police catch up to him but have trouble holding him because he's... superhuman (think the Michael Sarrazin version of Frankenstein's Monster in Frankenstein:The True Story/TV-1973). The killer swats cops away like nobody's business! This central chase & scrap is the highlight of the film and very memorable for any who've seen it.
Eventually, something of an overall plot materializes - this seems to be a conspiracy to replace people with better, if homocidal, models, recalling films as varied as The Human Duplicators (1964) to Futureworld (1976). The inclusion of that Nazi-like state suggests that the Aryan superman dream is being realized through the application of Frankenstein-like manufacturing. It's no surprise that Price is heavily involved in the ghoulish doings, including the use of vats of acid - yet, he also has very modern, high tech equipment. By the end, however, I still felt that this began as at least 2 different films which someone tried to combine into one.

A few plot turns remain mysterious and unanswered - such as why the killer was running around in the first place and then there's the whole question of the killer's ultimate 'disposal' - suddenly, he's suicidal? But, the main mystery is this Nazi-like police state; the original novel by Peter Saxon involved aliens (of course!) as the culprits - the film replaced those with this police state and the result is regarded as incoherent by many, as if the left hand (the Nazi-like state) didn't know what the right (Price) was doing. Price does provide some answers in the climactic sequence; he calls his creations 'composites' - interesting, eh? - and explains some of his rationale.
And, it does culminate with another memorable action - battle sequence involving the hammy yet creepy Price, with some revelations.
BoG's Score: 7 out of 10
Speaking of Price (and Lee), his role is not much bigger than Cushing's, while Lee's is just as small; Price and Lee (as a commissioner bigwig) pop up in a few brief scenes and only generate some thrills at the very end. There are no real 'stars' in this one; Alfred Marks as the chief police inspector, Christopher Matthews as a young police scientist and the aforementioned Jones as the main bad guy have more play time. This film is on a double feature DVD with The Oblong Box.




Last edited by BoG on Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:34 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Scream Again & Again & again

Post  BoG on Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 am

There's a long article on this film in the mag LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS #20. This film was released in the U.S. in Feb. of 1970; it was Amicus's biggest success here. It was also the widest release here from Amicus. It was the first to combine the talents of Price, Lee and Cushing - of course, the 3 top horror actors were wasted as they virtually had no scenes together.
Actor Alfred Marks (above) was usually in comedic roles but played it mostly serious here as Inspector Bellaver. The film was based on Peter Saxon's 1966 pulp novel The Disoriented Man. Producer Milton Subotsky came across it and liked the various ideas. He wrote up an adaptation of the novel. Price was under contract with Amicus at the time and was shoo-ined. Gordon Hessler was then assigned to direct; he didn't like the script but this did not come up right away. Deke Heyward, in charge of production of films in Britain, got the idea to have Price, Lee & Cushing all in one film. But, there was no way to get them all in one scene.
Subotsky's script, a more old-fashioned version in the Val Lewton mold, was frowned on by the other decision makers on the film; there were arguments, mostly with director Hessler, but they eventually settled on an altered version. Subotsky was also instrumental in getting the 3 big stars by arranging it so that Price was needed for only 2 weeks, Lee for 3 days and Cushing for just one. Price, who usually received $75,000 for such work back then, was acquired for only $40,000.  The entire budget was $350,000; the film grossed $1.2 million in the U.S.

__  
This is the only Amicus film to feature nudity - female nudity. Want to see stills?
Sorry - watch the movie!

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