The 1980’s were kind of a trantion point for horror. Slashers were coming into power while studios were still holding on to clasc conventions to a point. Some films that came out during this time mixed clasc atmospheric imagery like creepy stairways, cobwebs and large dark houses with modern teen slasher plots. We got some interesting films that may not have happened in any other time. One of them was lent Scream.
lent Scream starts off with the police storming into a large house and finding a gruesome murder scene. Cut to a Scotty Parker (Rebecca Balding), a young girl at school registration, she forgot to get gned up for houng so she’s on her own. After searching all day she happens upon an old turn of the century home that has a room available. After dealing with the creepy high school nerd Mason (Brad Rearden) Scotty gets together with her new roommates, the friendly party girl, Doris (Juli Andelman), studly Jack (Steve Doubet) and poor little rich boy Peter Ransom the Third.
Mrs. Engles (The Munsters Yvonne DeCarlo), who owns the home, seems un-amused by the new boarders but Manson assures her that it will be OK. The question is: for whom? After they all go out to dinner their first night out, Sotty hooks up with Jack and leaves early. Doris and Peter come later but Peter is drunk and being the ass we already know he is and ends up walking on the beach alone, but not for long. Peter ends up with several knife wounds and buried in a sand castle.
After that everyone is uneasy. And even though they don’t see him, young Mason’s obseson with his dead father only adds to the weirdness of the house. Things get even weirder when the police ask about Mason’s ster, Victoria (Barbara Steele), who supposedly doesn’t live there anymore. Just who is keeping secrets and why?
lent Scream is a great forgotten slasher. Good scares and a creepy atmosphere and some nice surpring kills keep you interested. Barbara Steele is in top form here with a meaty role that allows her to explore the depths of madness.The films production history is a horror of its own. Filmed in 1977, originally with a cast that included Jaws opening scene swimming victim Susan Backlinie as Victoria, the film was deemed un-releasable. New writers were brought in to spruce up the script and it was also decided to recast some of the roles with some “Name” actors. When all was said and done, roughly 12 minutes of footage survived the reconstructed film.
The house itself is named “The Smith Estate”, and is located in Highland Park, not far outde Hollywood, ca. If it looks familiar, you’ve seen it in the film Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told.
So were the reshoots and recasting worth it? I think so. It’s a fast moving slasher with solid performances. You’ll have to check it out and make your own decion but I recommend it.