Saturday, April 10, 2010

Scream (Not That One)

Stuntman Byron Quisenberry scraped together some bucks for two weeks of shooting at the Paramount ranch, and emerged with SCREAM, a somnabulent horror flick that may well surpass FINAL EXAM and THE FOREST as the most boring slasher movie ever made.

Quisenberry was the writer, director, and executive producer, but his best talent was hiring veteran character actors whose presence provides what entertainment value SCREAM has. Alvy Moore (GREEN ACRES), Pepper Martin (SUPERMAN II), Hank Worden (from a zillion westerns), Gregg Palmer (FROM HELL IT CAME), and badass Woody Strode (SPARTACUS) worked a couple of days for Quisenberry, but most are killed off too soon.

Rafters spending the night in a Texas ghost town are picked off one by one by an unseen killer who brandishes a bloody array of tools. Unfortunately, Quisenberry chose to depict most of the murders off camera, cheating viewers of any visceral thrills to make up for his slack pacing and confusing plotting. The killer may or may not be the ghost of a 19th century sea captain; even the Shriek Show DVD commentators are confused. You’d have to be a hardcore horror completist to want to try to figure it out.

Composer Joseph Conlan moved from this to SIMON & SIMON and other mainstream TV fare, and cinematographer Richard Pepin became one-half of PM Entertainment. I don’t know why Shriek Show bothered to release this on DVD. Commentators Marc Edward Heuck and (the unidentified) William Olsen struggle to find something to talk about with Quisenberry. Olsen argues with the director about story nitpicks, and Heuck amazingly compares SCREAM to Luis Buñuel. Aquarius released SCREAM in New York City in 1983 as THE OUTING, and Quisenberry says he made money on it. I'm not sure it was ever titled SCREAM until the VHS release. The young cast includes John Wayne’s youngest son Ethan.

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