Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Scream Bloody Murder (1973) Marc Albert

I wonder, will I ever tire of films like Scream Bloody Murder? I sure as hell hope not. Lurid psychosexual trauma and proto slasher killing sprees in the days before Halloween opened the floodgates and smoothed away most coarse and creepy features to leave nothing more than slick sex and slaying schlock, bad taste and gutter sights, I can't imagine ever not being a fan. Scream Bloody Murder is probobly little more notable than many of its ilk, but it did at least survive in fairly decent condition and its pretty much a perfect exemplar. Our lead Matthew starts the film by running over his dad with a tractor before falling out of the seat and managing to run over his own hand. A spell at an institution run by nuns takes him to his teen years, with a fully fledged Oedipal complex and habit for murdering anyone who gets in the way of his quest for a perfect mother. Also he has a hook for a hand but despite this tends to use various sharp instruments to kill. Not the brightest spark, our Matthew. Anyway, the first half is pretty much golden, the second lags a bit but the ending is positively glorious. Fred Holbert ably shoulders the film as Matthew, he comes across a pathetic yet menacing figure, weird, sad and very lost (he has various potential support structures that fail him, or rather he fails them), but all pathos underlined by unsettling violence. The sort of character Wes Bentley seems to be good at playing these days actually. Although the film isn't especially grisly (reasonably bloody at times but not really gory), two time wonder director Marc Albert (his other effort in the chair is a nudie cutie called Wild Gypsies, not seen but on my list) employs lots of unbalanced angles and wild swinging camera work, gross and mocking twisted delirium faces and voices fed through distortion and echo to rather splendidly convey Matthew's sudden lurches into violence. Unfortunately the killing tapers off in a second half mostly concerned with girl in captivity unease (albeit spiked by the odd moment of lunacy), but the ending is classic stuff, headrush of psychotronic fire to leave you smiling for hours afterward. Altogether this one doesn't make it into the highest echelons of drive in lunacy, lacking just a little in the pathos or nastiness that could make it a true classic. No nudity either, which is a major downer. Still great fun stuff though and genre fans should make it some kind of a priority. Have fun...!

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