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DVD Review

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Scream and Scream Again (1970)


Starring: Alfred Marks, Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Michael Gothard
Distributor: Spirit Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 27 May 2013

A man wakes up in a hospital bed to find he is missing a leg. He screams, and is sedated. He later wakes to find his other leg has been removed. He screams again, and is sedated. when he wakes for a third time, an arm has been amputated. Guess what? Yes, he screams again. Meanwhile, police are investigating a string of murders, where the victims have been drained of blood. A government official arrives to order the police to drop the case, but instead a sting is set up using a police woman as bait. The absurdly strong assailant is finally overpowered but escapes by cutting of his own hand. He is pursued to the barn of a house, where he throws himself into a vat of acid. The house is owned by Doctor Browning, who has an operating theatre for the creation of super humans, assembled from other living bodies, for the purposes of infiltrating places of power and removing those in his way. And Browning is not going to give it all up without a fight...

What on earth is all this about? It’s mental; completely mad. But you know what? It’s sort of enjoyable in a compelling way. It’s certainly a product of its time. 1970 was the tail end of the flower power era, when everything was psychedelic and a little off-kilter. Like Dracula A.D. 1972, it’s an attempt to bring old school Hammer and Amicus-type horror films into a then more contemporary setting. It does succeed to some extent; however, the skewith structure in which the tale is told will undoubtedly turn many viewers off. It jumps back and forth between a totalitarian, practically Nazi-like society to the hunt for a killer who hangs around in clubs waiting for female victims to approach him, to the patient in the hospital bed. None of the plot strands appear to be in anyway connected until the last scenes.

It must have been quite an achievement at the time to secure probably the top three horror stars of the day. I have to say though, they are woefully under utilised. Peter Cushing’s character lasts barely seconds before he is killed. Christopher Lee, looking for all the world like his character from The Devil Rides Out, enjoys only two scenes: a brief discussion around a table and a climatic tussle with Vincent Price. Price has top billing here, in terms of star quality and screen time, but between the three of them there is an inexcusable waste of good talent. I can only assume there wasn’t the money to have them all more involved. Their names alone above the title would have been more than sufficient to sell the picture, and I’m sure that was the purpose.


Ty Power

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