Sunday, June 24, 2012

Scream - 1981



Language: English
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.66 : 1
Directed by Byron Quisenberry
Cast:  Pepper Martin, Hank Worden and Ethan Wayne


A group of friends on a rafting trip down a river stop in at an old ghost town to spend the night. Soon their rafts disappear, and then they begin to be eliminated one by one by a mysterious killer.

DVD Release

Scream was released by Code Red twice. Once as a single release and again in a double feature with Barn of the Naked Dead. Supposedly the film was shot in 1.66:1 but is presented in 1.85:1 by Code Red. The print looks pretty grainy and scratchy but overall it's not as bad as most people say it is. The mono sound is decent but far from impressive. This review is from the Double feature disc.

This being a double-feature, I've separated the extras that relate to the film and the extras on the whole DVD.

  • Original Trailer - (1:26) Anamorphic trailer to the movie. Similar presentation as the film itself. It's a little grainy and scratchy.

DVD Extras

  • Maria's Fantasy Music Video - (5:33) Had to be part of the negotiations or something for Maria to do the hosting. The music video isn't bad but it's not my cup of tea. Maria is pretty hot though.
  • Maria Intro-Outro - Maria gig is to make fun of the films she's presenting and it works for the most part. The clips are only two to three minutes in length so I can forgive it. As long as they keep bringing me the films, I could care less who they have introducing them. You have the option to not play her introductions which is a nice touch.
  • Code Red Trailers
  1. The Hazing - (1:08) Anamorphic trailer. Scratchy but very watchable.
  2. The Hearse- (2:20) Anamorphic Trailer. Looks really good.
  3. The Babysitter - (2:28) Anamorphic Trailer. B/W. Looks pretty good.
  4. Love me Deadly- (0:57) Fullscreen Trailer. Scratchy but watchable.
  5. Cut-Throats Nine - (2:13) Non-anamorphic Trailer. Scratchy and green tinted. Worse out of the bunch.
Standalone Release
The Double Feature fails to bring over all the special features from the stand alone release. I have included them here as reference but I have not seen them yet.

  • Audio Commentary with Byron Quisenberry - I was really hoping this would be on the double feature disc because the director apparently tries to answer some of the ambiguous moments in the film. I hear he's not very talkative though.
  • TV Spot - Apparently has an alternate take of one of the scenes in the film.


There's not a lot to say about Scream. It's a slasher film that was made to cash in on the slasher craze of the 1980's. The film starts off with a bunch of travelers kayaking down a River and then making their way to a little ghost town that appears to be some cliche western Hollywood backlot. It gets dark and they start to drop one by one. Throw in a rather rush and poorly realized ending and that's it.

The best thing this movie has going for it is probably it's cinematography. Shot on 16mm and would then be blown up to 35mm, cinematographer Richard Pepin does a pretty good job of handling the camera. When you watch a lot of amateurish stuff like I do, this is a god send. Great camera work especially the POV shot of the killer chasing the guy up the stairs. I will also give a little credit with the build up of tension. There's a hint of creepiness while the killer stalks his victims.

So where does Scream go wrong? Minus those 10 minutes of creepiness, the entire film is a bore and a chore to sit through. All the kills happen off camera and when you have films like Friday the 13th and company showing explicit gore, this film seems very underwhelming.The acting is mediocre to okay. The only stand out performer is veteran actor Woody Strode who has a rather awkward dialog sequence that attempts to explain the plot. And the ending? Please. Poor excuse to try and be artsy and in the end just leaves you going "bleh".

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