Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in one movie? With the addition of Hammer girl Yutte Stensgaard (Lust for a Vampire, Zeta One), surely such a movie can’t be bad! That movie is Scream and Scream Again and unfortunately I couldn’t find myself enjoying it.
Scream and Scream Again was a co-production of AIP and Tigon, released in 1970 and directed by Gordon Hessler. Hessler is mainly known for three other movies: The Oblong Box, Cry of the Banshee and KISS meets the Phantom of the Park. All movies which rate him as a cult movie director, just not a director of good cult movies. All have a certain je ne sais quoi (note we’re trying to overcome our shortage of French words at the Avenue) which make them watchable but not exceptional.
In Scream and Scream Again we witness a maniac on the loose, nicknamed ‘the vampire killer’ because he also sucks the blood out of his victims. We hardly see this happen, as this isn’t the focus of the movie. Which brings us to my key point: what is the focus of the movie? The film begins with an exhausted jogger dropping on the ground, someone trying to get into some sort of Nazi-like regime (yes, they even copied the red and white design, just with a different symbol in the circle’s middle), a überstrong killer on the loose… this movie is going places!
Sadly it’s going in four directions at the same time, which leaves the viewer feeling quartered. It’s a cop thriller, a sci-fi movie and a vampire flick. As mentioned before, the vampire scenes are barely mentioned, the sci-fi element seems directly lifted from an episode of Doctor Who or The Avengers and the cop thriller is so overexposed and stretched it’s still full of cops, but not exactly thrilling. And don’t be fooled by the poster of the movie: the acid bath is hardly there.
If there’s still a chance you want to watch this, it’s because of the cast. Cushing, Lee and Price in one movie is always worth an hour and a half of your time. Even if Cushing was a late addition to the cast and only shows up in a couple of scenes. Of the three movie legends, Price gets most of the screentime. Sometimes it looks as if he’s rehearsing for Dr. Phibes. Well, who can blame the man? Years later, Vincent Price was interviewed about the movie and confessed he’d never understood the script. See, now there’s a consolation: you’re not alone.
P.S. Anyone want to see the trailer?