A Scream In The Streets

A Scream In The Streets

'WARNING: This program contains nudity, sexual situations and a really ugly drag queen'.

Another Z grade movie from the shameless hicks at Something Weird, SCREAM is as compelling as it is inept in almost every artistic dept. But, hey, this is a Harry Novak production (AXE, ZOMBIE CHILD, etc), so what do you expect?!

OK. Where do I start? The plot? What plot?!?! Basically, a rookie cop is assigned to spend a day with a season veteran (and that's where the similarity to Denzel's TRAINING DAY ends - promise!) and during their day together various events unfold in a curiously episodic fashion.

The main objective of the crime-fighting twosome appears to be apprehending some shady character who's being raping and murdering local women. The rapist lurks near a local park and preys upon lone women. He manages to get close to them by dressing up as a woman himself. Totally devoid of intentional comedy, this mere concept is ridiculously ludicrous - you must admire the sheer naivety of director Carl Monson for thinking any audience would not question this hugely far-fetched point.

By the end of the film you can't help but think the rapist plot was a total afterthought on writer Erich Norden's part anyway - the rapist barely features. But if filmgoers were to accuse exploitation cinema of not exploring where such characters get their motivation - SCREAM's rapist at least offers a miniscule of insight into the nature of his violent sexual attacks: "I hate women! You're rotten! Ha ha ha!" Well, this is 70's cinema - a decade where anything and everything was permissive - so long as it could be deemed excessive.

Other sub-plots that never satisfactorily tie together include a peeping tom who spies on local neighbours indulging in afternoon sex; a middle-aged visitor to a brothel with a penchant to beating his female massuers up; and the sex lives of the cops concerned with bringing these "freaks" (their words, not mine) to justice.

The main fault - and, ironically, the biggest selling point - to this film is that despite it's 90 min running time, there's only about 20 mins worth of plot. The bulk of proceedings are fleshed out with long sleazy scenes of near-hardcore sex. The massuer abuser is seen to virtually penetrate his female partner, while the man the peeping Tom spies on is surely giving his lady friend oral pleasure for real.

There are other scenes where it is quite apparent that the actors are having unsimulated sex - and I'm not surprised that "The Art Of The Nasty" book once singled this out as one pre-cert VHS release that could easily have been banned back in the 80s. The beating of the female massuer, for instance, is conducted with a little to much conviction for my liking!! And let's face it, the people having sex here are UGLY ... Lea Martini this ain't!!!

The rape scenes are thankfully quite tame although the BBFC may have something to say about the film's general tone, and a few moments of blood on breasts.

The picture quality is nice, and considering how hard it is to find this obscurity on VHS this should be welcome news to fans. There's no artifacting and very little grain. It's presented in full-frame 1.33:1, which is likely to have been the original aspect ratio. Everything looks correctly framed. There's is occasional specks on-screen but they are infrequent and don't distract from the 'fun' - picture is clear and sharp throughout. Audio is English mono and is fine - consistent and free from noticeable hiss or drop-out. Oh, and yes, this is the full uncut version.

Extras are plentiful and include 5 short films all of dubious origin and terribly trashy (read: boring) content. Although "Crime On The Streets" features a young Chuck Norris, and is quite funny.

There's a horde of trailers for films you're not likely to ever be interested in seeing (THE GODSON, SEX CLUB INTERNATIONAL etc). A couple of Harry Novak-themed Stills Galleries offer artwork that is no doubt more interesting than the films they promote. We even get treated to the original theatrical trailer for SREAM (which includes deleted footage from an interesting-looking sex scene that obviously didn't make the final cut).

Something Weird should be applauded for their continual support of films that no-one else of sane mind would ever opt for DVD remastering. Considering it's budget and age, this does look mighty fine. And it has it's own endearing qualities too - the hilarious dialogue, fast pace and unbelievable scenes of explicit sex are enough to recommend it to anyone with a fetish for films of that ilk.

I'd searched in vain for this on VHS for a while, and was glad to finally see it. It's nice to see it being given such a good treatment on DVD (does it really deserve a nice packaging and an abundance of - admittedly irrelevant - extras?!). But this nestles in what is perhaps an uncomfortable 'middle-ground' for genre fans - somewhere between low budget hard sexploitation, and B movie Drive-In trash.

Review by Stuart Willis

Directed by Carl Monson
Released by Something Weird
Extras :
Theatrical Trailer; 5 short films; several exploitation trailers; 2 stills galleries ...