In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, April 27, 2018

That's the Way!


For the final VHS for Anthology April, I wanted to post about a title that is near and dear to my heart, Michael Armstrong & Stanley A. Long's 1983 effort Screamtime.


Two petty criminals steal three video tapes from a store and retreat to a friend's house to watch them.

Even though the wraparound is set in New York, Screamtime was a UK production that was released here on Lightning Video in 1985. It's a fairly obscure title, but I'm quite fond of it.

The first story entitled “That's The Way To Do It” sees a aging puppeteer (Robin Bailey) made to choose between his lifelong passion and his family. Though the climax may be a bit obvious, I've always thought the idea of Punch & Judy a bit disturbing.

Robin Bailey in Screamtime.

Next is “Dreamhouse” which is one of my all-time favourite anthology segments. Involving a couple (Ian Saynor & Yvonne Nicholson) moving into an inherited country house, I think it's a great piece of storytelling with a reveal that still gives me chills every time. The gore may be a little sloppy - who stabs like that?! - but there are some well engineered jump scares here. Obviously, it made an impression on director Reg Traviss when he used the climax for his 2010 Charisma Carpenter vehicle Psychosis. I wager Dreamhouse was an influence on Rodrigo GudiƱo's debut short The Eyes of Edward James, as well.

Yvonne Nicholson sporting some serious spectacles.

The final segment is “Do You Believe in Fairies?” where a couple of youths looking for easy money try to rob two old ladies living in a mansion. They would have gotten away with it too if it wasn't for those darn fairies and gnomes! This one is a bit more sedate than the other two, truth be told I got a bit sleepy during my latest rewatch (it's not nearly as rewarding as Stuart Gordon's similarly themed Dolls) but the two old ladies (Dora Bryan & Jean Anderson) are the most stereotypical English biddies you've ever seen.

They believe. Do you???

The film then wraps up in a manner that is as cheesy as it is abrupt, but no matter. If you can get your hands on Screamtime I recommend giving it a whirl. It may not be as polished as some of the other eighties anthologies out there, but I think you might be surprised by its charm.