Scream and Scream Again (1970)
A quick glance at the cast list of SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN should be enough to excite any horror fan.
Featuring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Vincent Price this 1970 film could easily have come from the Hammer stable if it wasn’t for the utterly bizarre, convoluted and ultimately confusing plot which encompasses vampire superhumans, oppressive Eastern European regimes and vats of acid.
Adapted from a Peter Saxon novel by Christopher Wicking (who years later co-wrote the David Bowie flop/cult classic ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS) SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN is a film that constantly keeps you guessing and generally proves your predictions wrong.
Not vampires, not violent dictators or rubber-masked monsters, but a sudden heart attack does for our jogger and suddenly we cut to him tucked up safe in hospital. Or is he? A nurse arrives and wordlessly attaches one of those weird suction pipes which drain your saliva to our jogger’s mouth. When she leaves he takes stock of himself. One arm. Two arms. No legs! Let the screaming begin.
I would like to say that I could give the plot away at this point, but having watched this film twice in quick succession I still can’t claim to fully understand it. One of the tricks which this film constantly manages to pull is, just as you start to get the hang of what’s going on and who everybody is, it suddenly changes location and story thread.
Apparently Vincent Price repeatedly said in interviews that he didn’t understand the script at all and he had no idea what he was talking about in his final, supposedly explanatory, monologue. I’m with him.
Bizarrely the best bit of the film has none of the top-billed stars in it, as the British police chase a (literally) blood-thirsty murderer around Betchworth Quarry and to a very surprising end.
SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN may not have gone down in history as a classic, but for its uniqueness and elaborate plot alone it is worth a watch for any horror fan.
Tom Parnell is a writer and former journalist who spends too much time sitting around at home watching Doctor Who DVDs.