Scream and Scream Again [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Kino Lorber
Review written by and copyright: Robert Segedy (9th August 2019).
The Film

"Scream and Scream Again" is an odd film; a hybrid of different genres: espionage, thriller, horror film and science fiction all thrown together to make up the whole film. I can clearly recall this being a staple of the Saturday afternoon Chiller Theatre variety, and I even saw it in a film class I took in college later on. The biggest thing about the film is its three big stars: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. None of the stars really share much screen time with the other, but for monster fans, this was a must see. It had been a while since I had seen this one, but time has been fairly kind to it. Let’s take a closer look.

Strange things are happening in London and the police are helpless to try and stop the rampaging maniac that is on the loose killing young women. There are indications that a vampire like killer may be on the prowl, but with two recent discoveries of freshly drained victims, there are no clear cut answers as to who or what is causing the mayhem. The film starts with the camera tracking a young man as he begins his day by jogging across the common, but suddenly he stops and collapses; it seems that he has suffered a heart attack. The man awakes in a hospital and at first he seems to be okay, but he quickly realizes that something is very wrong: his right leg has been amputated at the knee. The camera fades to black and we shift scenes abruptly. The camera is placed in the backseat of a car that is stopped at some type of a check point in what is clearly an Eastern European country, possibly East Germany. The guards all wear military uniforms with some type of trident symbol visible on the shoulder. Signs in three languages are posted on the walls, so we can process that this place is probably three countries unified under one banner now. The head guard asks the driver for his papers and then the car is inspected; the head guard stamps the documents and tells the holder “welcome home.” So much for an enlightening backstory as we are simply tossed into the midst of the story. The credits have told us that the screenplay was written by Christopher Wicking, and that the film is based on a 1966 pulp novel entitled “The Disoriented Man” by Peter Saxon. It feels more like the disoriented viewer, but I stick with it hoping that the threads will begin to finally make sense.

Back in the unnamed Fascist regime, an officer, Schweitz (Peter Sallis) is quickly dispatched by the man who was the driver earlier; apparently this man possesses superhuman strength as he applies a Vulcan like nerve pinch to the officer and he dies quickly. Peter Cushing is on screen for a literal five minutes before he too is killed rather hastily through the nerve pinch of sure death. We learn that the man is named Konratz (Marshall Jones) and that he is some type of political agent looking to climb his way up the political food chain. Next we find ourselves at a swinging 70’s discotheque and a woman named Sylvia (Judy Huxtable) is picked up by Keith (Michael Gothard) a hipster that drives a convertible. Keith turns out to be the killer at large and he kills Sylvia in a dark tunnel. Inspector Bellaver (Alfred Marks) is at his wits end and he doesn’t know how to detect a pattern to the killings. He decides to set up a sting like operation using policewoman Helen (Judy Bloom) as the bait and she ends up going for a ride with the stranger, but little does he know that she has a radio transmitter in her shoe, and the police aren’t far behind. After a moment’s hesitation, the police realize that the couple is doing more than kissing. It turns out that Keith is sucking Helen’s blood from a bite that he has inflicted on her wrist. The police attempt to capture the vampire and he easily throws them off using his artificial strength. Now, here is where this film takes a sharp turn and bisects away from typical fare; a lengthy car chase follows that ends in a momentary capture with the suspect handcuffed to the car’s bumper. However as the police gather around the radio to hear what is next, Keith suddenly is free after evading capture by tearing his hand free from the handcuffs. The chase resumes on foot with Keith leading the others to a country estate. The place turns out to be the headquarters of Dr. Browning (Vincent Price) who is a government endorsed scientist and he has a large vat of acid in the barn on the grounds. Keith plunges himself into the acid and the case is now closed. The good doctor is suspect as he employed the first victim at his laboratory, but Browning plays dumb when questioned. This is where the science fiction part of the script becomes known. Is any of this making sense? No, good because it isn’t supposed to, at least not yet. In the next few scenes what is made clear to us is that there is a large conspiracy at work with synthetic super humans placed in high positions of power. The apparent head of British Intelligence Fremont (Christopher Lee) is involved as well. Lee doesn’t really do much either except bark orders into a phone. Fremont and Konratz meet at the fountains in Trafalgar Square and have a heated exchange. It seems that Konratz wants all of the police files on the “vampire killer” case and Fremont tells him that he can set this up. Konratz waltz’s into police headquarters under an assumed name and he tells Bellaver that he wants the files to go. Bellaver tries to bluster his way through the scene and is nerve pinched for his troubles. For those keeping track, the body count is fairly high and there is more on the way.

Meanwhile the severed hand is kept locked up after the doctors have examined it; it turns out to be some synthetic type flesh made of an unknown substance. "Blade Runner" (1982) fans take note: Replicants are mentioned some twenty years earlier. Jane the nurse that doesn’t speak (Uta Levka) is the one that comes a creeping and breaks in to steal the limb. She is interrupted by a matron (Lee Hudson) who is also tossed like a rag doll into a corner. Now it seems that a young Doctor Sorel (Christopher Matthews) that has helped with the autopsies is taken with the case and gets involved. Bellaver instructs him that the case is closed, but we all know what that means. Basically this gives Sorel the go ahead to start snooping. He enlists the aid of policewoman Helen to accompany him to the good doctor’s estate so that he can get a sample of that handy acid bath, but of course the tank has been drained. Calling the police headquarters is worthless because he is told that Inspector Bellaver has been found dead. What to do but continue creeping around the grounds and discovering Dr. Browning’s operating room. And who should walk in but Dr. Browning himself and he enlists the young doctor to assist him with his latest operation. Things are fine until Nurse Jane wheels in an unconscious Helen as the next unfortunate brain donor and then Sorel starts to protest. After a struggle, Browning reveals that he too is a replicant and that he created Keith. Enter Konratz who is tying up loose ends and he makes a brief speech about world domination and other lofty goals before he ends up in the acid bath. Fremont pulls up in a company car just as Sorel and Helen make a hasty retreat. Fremont heads inside where he overpowers Browning and submerges him in the acid. The credits roll over a black screen as Amen Corner sings their awful song, “Scream and Scream Again.”

The disc includes two versions of the film, a U.K. cut (94:43) and a slightly shorter U.S. cut (94:33).

Video

The image is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 HD 1080p 24/fps mastered in AVC MPEG-4 compression. The print is very good and included are both the US editions as well as the UK edited version. The interiors are well lighted and the flesh tones are distinct. Exteriors are equally eye pleasing as well. Kino notes that they did perform extensive digital cleanup of the master.

Audio

Both versions of the film include an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono soundtrack. The audio tracks are 16-bit leading themselves to a tad stronger in the depth department. No matter which version you watch Amen Corner sound awful indeed. No subtitles are included.

Extras

Kino does the right thing and includes an audio commentary by film historian Tim Lucas that is his usual high standard of excellence including additional information on all the key players.

"Trailers from Hell with Mick Garris" promo trailer (2:33), this basically shows all the good scenes so don’t watch it first.

3 various radio spots (2:06)

There's the film's original theatrical trailer (2:21).

Finally there's a collection of Vincent Price bonus trailers for:

- "Tales of Terror" (2:21)
- "Twice Told Tales" (2:43)
- "The Oblong Box" (1:56)
- "Madhouse" (1:48)
- "House of the Long Shadows" (2:27)

Packaging

Comes in a standard Blu-ray packaging with a reversible cover.

Overall

"Scream and Scream Again" is an odd film from those folks at AIP and Amicus joining forces to produce this 70’s fare. Even though we have the big three in the film, it doesn’t really add much to the film overall.

The Film: B+ Video: A Audio: B+ Extras: A Overall: B+

 


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