Welcome one and all- Please leave sanity at the door

A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.pig@live.co.uk. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Like the “Composites” featured in the plot, this movie is something of a Frankenstein’s Monster. A campy hodgepodge of several separate plots that when combined make absolutely no sense at all, Scream and Scream Again is admittedly something of a disappointment. Now if you know sod all about this British horror aside from the fact that it features Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing then you are probably wondering how that can be. Well let me get the most infamous fact about Scream and Scream Again out of the way first. The three actors share no scenes together and all their screen time combined probably only counts for about 20 minutes of the finished film. However if you can get over that fact and let go of your brain before viewing, there is some enjoyment to be found.

We open on a London jogger who collapses during his run; he wakes up in what appears to be a hospital only to discover that his legs have been amputated. Meanwhile in an unidentified and probably made up Eastern European country a violent and power crazed official is slowly working his way to the top through means of murder and torture. Back in London the main plot of the film follows a London police detective (Alfred Marks delivering the best performance in the film) and his unit are investigating the deaths of several young women in London, all murdered by a crazed inhuman psychopath. Oh and Christopher Lee is the head of MI6 and Vincent Price is a mad Scientist.

Sounds confusing? Believe me it is. Until the very end when all is “revealed” I almost expected the conclusion to make some sense, in fact I just assumed it would. Being fair on the film it does sort of make sense, there’s still a few un answered questions (how were the original composites made if they make the other composites?) and although we know by the end that there is some sort of mysterious organisation of scientists that’s working towards a master race, their motives for actions seen throughout the film remain unclear. For example we follow an entire subplot about an official slowly gaining control in an Eastern European country only for him to be killed for becoming obsessed with power. If he is one of the organisation then why does he seemingly work against Christopher Lee? Is this something I missed or is this a plot hole? The whole reason why the killer drinks blood as well, is this something to do with the fact that he’s made out of other people? Does he need a constant supply of other people’s blood? You see if these things we’re made clearer I wouldn’t be asking these questions.

Confusing plot aside though Scream and Scream again is pretty well made. The cast delivers enjoyable performances and although Christopher Mathew’s performance has much to be desired, everyone else is on top form. I have single out Alfred Marks for particular attention as Detective Superintendant Bellaver. Police inspectors in horror movies are a pretty common thing and usually they are nothing to shout about, the role simply being for someone to have a reason to investigate the mysterious goings on. Marks however makes the role his own, his Detective delivers some great lines and indeed is one of the main attractions of Scream and Scream Again. It’s a shame really that his character is replaced by Mathews as I’m sure the climax would have been much more interesting had Bellaver not been killed off. I feel like I must defend Mathews somewhat as I have been rather harsh on who I am sure is a very fine actor, indeed in Scars of Dracula (1970) he delivers a very good performance. The problem is that the character is simply too bland and poor Mathews has nothing to expand upon meaning he pales in comparison to the rather colourful police characters he acts against. He is simply the “Young male lead” and not a very interesting one at that!

Surprisingly despite the somewhat confusing plot holes in places, Scream and Scream again is also very good at holding its viewers attention. There’s a chase sequence that goes on for a good fifteen minutes but is so well paced that it doesn’t appear dull or boring at all. The narratives constant switching between the various plots prevents any boredom and the whole thing is infused with a sort of camp mania. The ridiculously over the top 70’s jazz score doesn’t help matters but it does help the sheer enjoyability of the whole thing. Whilst the lack of action from Price, lee and Cushing is disappointing their scenes are fun and each actor delivers to the best of his ability.

Scream and Scream again is admittedly something of a disappointment. However I’m sure that on maybe second or third viewing it appears much better. It’s not a bad movie by any means it’s simply not a very good one which it’s sad as the potential is almost certainly there. I’m a big fan of Thriller/Spy movies and it was interesting to see a horror film experiment with that genre, but sadly it’s almost as if the sheer amount of different sub-plots and separate scenes were the films downfall. British horror fans might get a kick out of this one but otherwise I’d stay away, there are much better British horrors from the same period out there.


  1. Hello Cal
    I haven't seen this film, but I get the distinct impression from your review that it's a bit of a mess! I've seen bits and pieces of the Hammer films, and similar, of the period, and they almost always strike me as being unintentionally hilarious, being as 'over the top' as they often are. I'm probably not good enough at 'letting go of my brain', of suspending disbelief, as I would need to be to enjoy this genre.

    Best wishes
    Sammy B

    1. Hey Sammy
      Well being a fan my opinion is obviously biased, but there are a few that I know appeal to more mainstream audiences, such as Quatermass and the Pit (1967) which I highly reccomend. I get the impression with this however that the only intention of the film makers was to get the job done, sadly it shows
      Cal :)

    2. Hello Cal
      Quatermass is an interesting case, because it's still a 'meme', to use a current buzzword - if, for instance, some food item or other is forgotten in a fridge, and only sees the light of day again when it's thoroughly mouldy, if someone, particularly of my vintage, says it looks like a 'Quatermass Experiment', people know what you mean. Curious how relatively obscure films can find their place in the collective consciousness.

      Best wishes
      Sammy B