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on 18 July 2013
This 1970 British horror film was reportedly greatly admired by Fritz Lang. This is worth noting, as hardly anyone else seemed to like it, back in the day. One can see why - it's extremely nasty, nastier in its implications than in its details, and they're gruesome enough; it hardly bothers to explain itself, plot-wise; it seems to move around from one storyline to another, more or less at will, without resolving anything; it gives us nobody we can actively like, and the only person who can draw our sympathy is a man whose identity we never learn, and who exists in the film merely to be the victim of abominable cruelties; and it doesn't even have a central character. What, you say, how can that be true when the three greatest horror stars of that era are all in it? Therein lies the rub; it advertises Messrs. Price, Lee and Cushing as its stars, and they're not. From that angle, the film is a monumental swiz. It's a bit like those terrible Universal horror films of the war years - "House of Frankenstein" or the interchangeable "House Of Dracula" - which piled in all the monsters who'd made the studio fortunes in days gone by, and then kept them apart inside the film itself, so that we had a bit of plot with the Creature and a bit more plot with the Wolf Man and then a bit more plot with the Count, and by the end, we realised we'd been dunned by the advertising, and there was nothing to the actual movie. Here, Price and Lee occupy separate plot-strands which finally come together (well, sort of...) right at the end, when they share one very brief scene together; Cushing has nothing to do with either one, and has only one scene, maybe two or three minutes of screen-time. If you put all the footage involving the three actors together, it would only come to about a quarter of an hour in a film of an hour and a half. Outrageous! Well, yes, but then, the whole film is outrageous. You will likely scratch your head, muttering "What the hell is going on?" in a hurt tone, on several occasions throughout its running time. But it does make a kind of emotional sense, and the deliberate failure of the dialogue to make the plotline ever quite concrete eventually comes to seem a very cunning move on the part of screenwriter Christopher Wicking. The fact that we're never quite sure whether or not Price and Lee are playing actual human beings is very unsettling, and the political undertones of the film - the ghastly Eastern European (or wherever) police state in which Cushing briefly operates is not so very different from the secret Britain of the main action - are very subversive, indeed, very Fritz Langian. The inventor of Dr. Mabuse would appreciate the rampant, runaway paranoia of this shameless film. It's a pity it wasn't directed with something like Fritz Lang's subtlety and stylishness, it's a pity the budget wasn't larger, and one can quite understand how something so unapologetically peculiar (and gory) would alienate a great many thoroughly intelligent people. But it has got something - it stays in your mind, and, in the era of cyber-spying, it still seems rather modern.
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on 21 June 2013
Whilst London's police are baffled by the murderous attacks of an apparently vampiric serial killer (Michael Gothard), in an unnamed Eastern European police state an automaton-like military enforcer (Marshall Jones) eliminates his superiors to ensure his own rise to power through the ranks. Eventually, these two seemingly unrelated storylines come together through their links to a mysterious doctor's creation of a new, synthetic master race...
Bizarre in conception, uneven in execution, and in 2013 the kind of film that only the most die-hard fans of the classic British horror movie would be able to tolerate enough to sit through, 1970's Scream and Scream Again is a weird goulash (or ghoul-ash?) that snags itself a place in the history books by virtue of the fact that it is the only chiller from the period to team up the three horror icons Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, and Christopher Lee; that it is hardly worthy of that honour is another story.
A co-production between Amicus and American International Pictures, the movie certainly looks like it had some money thrown at it, with extensive location photography and some well-paced action sequences that are largely responsible for the better reviews the film generally gets. However, as a relatively simple thriller, it is needlessly obtuse in its storytelling style, a problem that can be laid squarely at the feet of screenwriter Christopher Wicking (To the Devil a Daughter). This is not helped by the fact that the three actors receiving top billing are hardly in the film at all, and when they do appear, their roles amount to very little. Price gets the most to do (probably because he was AIP's marquee star), but even his part as the meddling scientist gives him no more than no more than around fifteen minutes of screen time, and it's the kind of character he could play in his sleep. Lee's small role means precisely nothing until the movie's closing moments, and even though he eventually manages to squeeze a bit of menace out of his shadowy spymaster figure, you have to question exactly what the appeal of this part was to an actor who by the end of the 1960s was supposedly getting increasingly disenchanted with his typecasting as a fixture of weak horror flicks. Cushing comes off worst of all, with a three-minute cameo as a military higher-up marked for execution, and whilst his single scene is effective enough in isolation, it sees him in a part that could have been easily filled by just about any stock supporting performer you could mention.
Conversely, the film's real leads are actually quite well-served by both the direction of Gordon Hessler, and their characters. Jones, an almost completely unknown actor whose most prominent credit appears to have been a recurring role on Crossroads in the late 1970s, is quietly menacing as the vicious envoy of the mysterious state behind the Iron Curtain (notwithstanding the stupid bobble hat he inexplicably wears to his secret meeting with Lee in Trafalgar Square); playing the senior copper heading up the hunt for the `vampire killer', Alfred Marks is a welcome comic presence, whilst the always-creepy Gothard (For Your Eyes Only) is also memorable as the bionic murderer.
Unfortunately, these strong parts do not make a cohesive whole, and overall the movie is a choppy affair with a climax that is in no way good enough to justify the considerable amount of time viewers will have to put in to get to that point (the final couple of minutes feel particularly rushed). Scream and Scream Again is one of the gorier and meaner-spirited films of its period (Gothard's sex-murder attacks are especially nasty), but that doesn't mean it's one of the more notable ones. However, it's nice to see the movie turn up on Region 2 DVD at long last, with David Whitaker's original music and the hideous title song by Amen Corner (heard in one of the nightclub scenes) fully intact (for copyright reasons, it has previously been available on VHS, and shown on UK TV, only with a replacement generic synth score).
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on 6 January 2016
This is an attempt by American international films to do something "Hammeresque."
The result is a rather confusing,disjointed plot,that initially almost seems like there are separate story lines going on!
One cannot argue with the quality of the cast,Christopher Lee,Peter Cushing,and of course,de riguer to the US contribution to horror legends,Vincent Price,who,unsurprisingly,considering the producers,takes centre stage.
There is also an entertaining performance from Alfred Marks,an actor that was busy in the last 60's/early seventies.
It also features the rather unfortunately named Michael Gothard(!) who went on to achieve tv fame in the series Arthur of The Britons,with Oliver Tobias.
Without wishing to give the storyline or it's climax away,I would say that this movie has the typical elements of gore,violence and attempts to shock of a film of it's time,with a little bit of American over the top ambition.
For fans of movies of this era and genre it is worth a watch,but a classic it isn't.
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on 13 July 2013
i have a sort of fondness for "scream and scream again" as it was one of the first horror films i saw back in the late 80s.
i am glad that the film has finally surfaced on british dvd, although this is far from being a classic.
the plot hardly makes any sense from the beginning and only the scenes with the police seem to have any kind of continuity. peter cushing is thoroughly wasted in his one scene appearance: surely the writers could have found more for this gifted actor to contribute? vincent price doesn't appear much until towards the end and christopher lee's character seems pointless and adds nothing to the story.
there are some good scenes, i'm not calling "scream and scream again" a complete dud by any means. it has promise and on paper, it must have looked good. however, a director like michael reeves could have made so much more of the plot than gordon hessler.
it was good to see the original music by amen corner re-edited into this dvd, the songs are pretty good and the tunes catchy(being half welsh, i'm bound to be somewhat biased).
alfred marks has some good moments as the gruff police officer. a shame he wasn't in the film near the end.
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on 10 November 2015
This blu-ray has just come out from TWILIGHT TIME and the good news is its REG FREE but if you are going to get it order now as its a limited number.The movie was made by AIP and the big sell was it was the first movie to star PRICE CUSHING and LEE together for the first time in the same movie but the truth is CUSHING and LEE are in for there name only CUSHING is only in for about 3min and LEE just a bit longer but this is a PRICE movie all the way.The story i wont go into to much but PRICE is making super humans from body parts and there is a vampire style killer on the loose.The picture on the disc is good better than the dvd but not great the sound is also good the disc comes in a nice clear slim case with a repo of the poster on the front and a nice booklet inside.On the extra side we have the trailer a doc GORDON HESSLER AT AIP radio spots and still gal .So to sum up if you enjoy this movie you will enjoy this disc
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on 20 August 2015
Classic Film from the 70s. I'd actually forgotten how good this movie was, my mom kept telling about the runner who wakes up with one leg missing, then the next day another and then his arms! Brought this so mom could enjoy time and time again. A forgotten GEM from the 70s, loved it!
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on 10 July 2015
great film by the one and only mr horror himself vincent price with great cast christopher lee sadly missed missed all actors here even peter cushing thanks for great customer service thank you.
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on 25 December 2015
A horror of mild to extreme violence where Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee play different separate roles. Vincent Price the wicked doctor experimenting in acid. Has a criminal working for him. Meeting women in the nightclub and disappering in unusual circumstances. Christopher Lee a goverment agent,. Peter Cushing a high rank in the police. The wicked doctor can he be stopped and his two criminals working for him.
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on 3 May 2014
Confusing film. The last words at the end of the film is 'It's only just begun' by Christopher Lee. You have this Eastern European Secret Organisation. With a moniker that looks like a Three 'One Way' streets signal,wrapped about their top arm like some Swastika. A crazed vampire killer on the loose,killing off women,and the E.S.O. want all the info on him. He is not a real person,after he jumps into a pool of acid,it proves that he his one of Vincent Price's Re-make, Re-model's of body parts for his experimentation of a new man made race. E.S.O. man kills nearly everyone in his way with his lethal hand on shoulder clasp! Vince Price sees him off in his own tub of acid. Then Christopher Lee turns up at Price's lab and forces him 'The Inventor' of these people, into his own acid. Now that does not make sense at all! Christopher Lee seems to know all of this information and goings on,and when asked by one detective,'Is it all over then?' he reply's 'It's only just begun' THE END.
Now at least another Forty minutes please! As i said you need a 'Part Two'
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on 8 December 2014
As described thanks
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