This week's VHS is my newly acquired Video Treasures copy of 1979's The Silent Scream.
Students residing at an off-campus mansion get bumped off one-by-one by someone or something.
I was teetering on whether to post about this one, as it was largely unremarkable, but I decided to soldier on anyway. Looking up The Silent Scream on Imdb, I wasn't surprised to find it was a revived project originally shot in 1977. At first considered unwatchable, the filmmakers revamped the script and hired some name actors like Cameron Mitchell, Avery Schreiber and Barbara Steele to gussy things up. I wonder if that was when they decided to add this aggressive title card, as well.
Almost nothing remained of the original movie and – considering the fuzzy rape scene that a character watched on TV was apparently footage from its previous incarnation – that's probably a good thing.
The first chunk of The Silent Scream felt a bit like Psycho, if the Bates Motel had been near a big university and not off the beaten path, but it descended into something more like Danny Steinmann's The Unseen – though admittedly that was released a year later. Technically sound, the movie boasts a decent location in its old rustic house, the very same one used for 1967's Spider Baby.
|Juli Andelman as Doris in Silent Scream|
Director Denny Harris populated the movie with a mix of old and new actors, including Juli Andelman as Doris. She was a plucky young thing whom I warmed to almost immediately. I thought it was a dick move for the two leads to abandon her on the beach with Grabby Grabberson. Doris seemed a bit more worldly than Scotty (Rebecca Balding) who ended up spending most of the climax tied to a clothing rack that looked like one I bought at IKEA. Push UP on it for FUCK'S SAKE!
Mainly though, this movie could've used more Mitchell & Schreiber. You know, it's funny. Usually when horror movies cut to the cops on the case, it comes off as jarring or upsets the tone (case in point, Last House on the Left), but these guys... I could have watched these guys all day.
The Silent Scream was watchable fare and should be given some credit for being saved from the fire with a do-over. If anything, it teaches us to apply for on-campus housing early, as procrastination = trauma.