This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn't exist.
Looking at the cast list for Amicus films' Scream and Scream Again is enough to make any classic horror fan foam at the mouth. Few films can boast the presence of legends Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Vincent Price. Unfortunately though, much like the cast list, the plot seems as though they have thrown as many threads at the wall as they can to find very few of them stick. Hints at vampirism in a procedural format, against a backdrop of a fascist invasion, with elements of science fiction, body horror and robots… All of which are dropped into a vat of acid to create a bit of a messy soup.
Something of the tone of classic sci-fi seeps through though. The novel that inspired the film, ‘The Disorientated Man', was credited to Peter Saxon, a house name used by multiple authors for low brow pulp fiction. The mess and chaos is part of what makes Scream… fascinating to watch, even if it is confusing. There are echoes of weekly serials and chaotic nonsense that we were still lapping up into the 90s in the chaotic plots of The X Files. In much the same way, little is explained or goes anywhere.
We open with an image of a man running, he slowly clutches his chest and collapses to the floor, elsewhere a police officer investigates the murder of a young woman, and another man moves back and forth between his home country, a fascist one with an almost uncanny black white and red flag, and a safer more democratic state.
The collapsed man finds himself in an isolated hospital room with a silent nurse, every time he wakes his situation seems to become more desperate. Then the police officer, Superintendent Bellaver (Alfred Marks) injects much needed dry humour into his investigations into a seemingly impossible murderer. And then there's the political stuff, which seems to not really amount to much of anything at all. Things do begin to come together towards the end, as we meet and learn more about the mysterious and mad Dr Browning (Vincent Price), his loyalties and benefactors add some credence to the multiple plots. But there is still a certain amount of “but why?” that lingers in the viewer even as the film ends.
LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- High-Definition digital transfer of the British and American cuts of the film
- Uncompressed mono PCM audio
- Audio commentary with Kevin Lyons, author of The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television and Jonathan Rigby, author of English Gothic: Classic Horror Cinema 1897-2015 (2023)
- New interviews with actors Julian Holloway and Christopher Matthews, editor Peter Elliott, and propman Arthur Wicks (2023)
- Ramsey Campbell on Christopher Wicking and ‘Peter Saxon' (2023)
- Gentleman Gothic: Gordon Hessler at American International Pictures – A documentary on the filmmaker's work for the studio featuring Hessler himself and critics Jeff Burr, David Del Valle, Steve Haberman and C. Courtney Joyner (2015, 23 mins)
- Uta Screams Again – An interview with actress Uta Levka (1999, 9 mins)
- Super 8 Version – a reconstruction of the cut-down version distributed as The Living Corpses of Dr. Mabuse
- Deleted scenes
- Mick Garris trailer commentary – the filmmaker provides a short overview of the film (2013, 2 mins)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Reversible sleeve featuring designs based on original posters
- Limited edition booklet featuring new writing by critic Anne Billson
- 3 character postcards of classic images from the film
- Limited edition of 3000 copies, presented in full-height Scanavo packaging with removable OBI strip leaving packaging free of certificates and markings
Scream and Scream Again is released on Limited Edition Blu-ray from Radiance Films on September 18th