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Scream for Help (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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Scream for Help (1984) - Blu-ray Review

3 beers

Hilariously awful and unfortunately dense, Scream for Help might just be one of the best worst made flicks you’ll see this Halloween season.  It certainly had me in stitches.  Not laughing yet?  Keep drinking and you will be.

Scream for Help eventually presents itself as a tense trapped-in-the-basement thriller.  If only this were actually the film!  There’s a lot of family situations that ought to work.  Unfortunately, they don’t, adding to its overall cluelessness that attempts to tackle teenage sexuality (Dad! I'm bleeding) and unexpected teenage deaths.  Those missteps result in a movie that is more comical than it is anything else.  In fact, little outside of the rather frank fascination with voyeurism and sex resonates here.  Look at the theatrical trailer.  Those images, of a girl peeking in through shades and strangers running, are all you need to sell it.

"might just be one of the best worst made flicks you’ll see this Halloween season."


This unfortunate film, directed by Michael Winner and written by Class of 1984’s Tom Holland (who is still upset about how his script was directed and acted), easily takes home the prize for Best Unintentional Humor in a horror film.  The acting is bad.  The direction is clunky.  And the music, composed by Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, is so completely melodramatic that it becomes parody after the first ten minutes.

The laughter begins early on.  Christie Cromwell (Rachael Kelly) is convinced her step-father is trying to kill her mother.  She writes about it in her diary.  Paul (David Allen Brooks) is definitely handsome and his looks buy him a lot of leeway with her very dense (and often clueless) mother (Marie Masters).  But, because the movie is from Christie’s point of view, we know something is up and once we see the feisty hotness that is Brenda Bohle (Lolita Lorre) whom Paul LOVES to help out (of her clothes), it’s simply a matter of time before the gig is up.

But first, we have to endure a poorly acted R-rated Nancy Drew-like mystery that involves a conspiracy to rob her mother of all her money.  Paul and his cronies aren’t very nice, we know this by all the sneering from Rocco Sisto.

Of course, Paul, who has a deadline for the murder to occur, is also rigging and staging the house for a murder.  Things just happen to Christie’s poor mother (like falling down the stairs) which could be seen by the authorities as unintentional accidents.  Christie knows something is up.  No one believes her, though.  She starts following Paul with the help of her best friend’s boyfriend, Josh (Corey Parker) and the evidence starts rolling in.  In fact, Christie does a lot of tailing Paul through the course of his day.  She snaps a lot of polaroid pictures of his many female conquests, too.  Brenda Bohle is as randy as he is, it turns out.

It’s when Paul attempts to turn the tables on Christie that the movie becomes hysterical.  The dialogue and the situations turn melodramatic and hysterical and then, maybe out of sheer frustration, f-bombs are dropped everywhere.  And, thanks to Scream Factory’s new 2K scan, we get to see this hot mess of a flick unwind in stunning clarity.

Scream for Help (1984) - Blu-ray ReviewSuddenly, Christie can’t drive properly, attempts to get her cherry popped (actual dialogue) with her best friend’s boyfriend, and becomes hysterical at the drop of a hat as the truth she already knew is exposed.  Oh, yeah, and Christie’s best friend (played by a very topless Sandra Clark), who reveals that she’s pregnant and has so much to live for moments before a fast-moving car runs her over and rips her face off, is yet another casualty in this preview of what would become the much better The Stepfather

The film's writer, Holland, who had successfully brought Anthony Perkins back in Psycho II, was hot property and movie studios wanted ANYTHING he had already written.  Lorimar Productions were the first to bite.  Unfortunately, they did not chew this one enough before swallowing and soon choked on it.  Holland survived this hot mess of a flick as he still had Child’s Play and Fright Night to offer the horror hooligans out there but, thanks to the brutally frank interview with him that is attached to this release, you can still see his overall disappointment and bewilderment at how this film turned out.  He knows its a clunker.  Even if it does lay the groundwork for a much better version, this film is a dud.

Scream for Help will have you howling at the moon. 

Scream for Help (1984) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
89 mins
Director
: Michael Winner
Writer:
Tom Holland
Cast:
Rachael Kelly, Marie Masters, David Allen Brooks
Genre
: Horror | Mystery
Tagline:
No one believed her until it was too late.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Fine, don't believe me, just wait until he kills you."
Theatrical Distributor:
Lorimar
Official Site:
Release Date:
July, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 18, 2018
Synopsis: Terror invades an upper-class New York community as 17-year old Christie Cromwell cleverly uncovers her stepfather's horrifying plot to murder her wealthy mother. She's on to him, yet no one will believe her because she's just a kid: smart, imaginative, maybe she's just taken a crazy idea to the limit. Suspense builds when a series of shocking events confirms her worst fears. Alone, afraid and helpless, terrified Christie and her mother are held prisoner in their own home at the mercy of ruthless killers.

Scream for Help (1984) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- September 18, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD stereo
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

With a new 2K scan of the original camera negative, Scream Factory gives fans of this little shocker something to celebrate.  The images are crisp and detailed and retain their edges.  Framed in a tight 1:85:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer is good, good stuff.  Colors are bold.  Shadows run deep and the crisp textures in the walls and in the backgrounds of this slasher are focused.  The DTS-HD stereo soundtrack is perfectly suited for the film.  The soundtrack, scored as if it is a soap opera by John Paul Jones, might not be a constant thing, but when it is present, it deserves to be celebrated.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a brand new audio commentary featuring Justin Karswell (Hysteria Lives!, The Slasher Movie Book) And Amanda Reyes (Are You In The House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium)

Special Features:

Shout Factory gives us some more insight into the film with two new interviews from David Allen Brooks and Tom Holland.

  • Stepfather Of The Year – An Interview With Actor David Allen Brooks
  • Cruel Intentions – An Interview With Writer Tom Holland
  • Theatrical Trailer

Scream for Help (1984) - Blu-ray Review

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