|Note the little drippy things, readers...those are...NO!!...they can't be!!...YES, I think they're...BLOOD drops...! EEEEEE....|
What the hell was she thinking?
This scene was depicted in the brilliant trailers for the notorious drive-in spectacle "Silent Scream", and it lured carloads of ticket buyers into a movie that turned out to be one of the more timid slasher movies of the decade. Although the timing of the film was clearly supposed to capitalize on the success of "Friday the 13th" and "Halloween", it was actually filmed in 1977 (before the big slasher craze). It has more in common with "Psycho" than anything else, especially the gloomy mansion where the film takes place. In fact, the mansion is one of the film's only settings, aside from a few brief moments set elsewhere.
|Oh, the foolish sort-of-young people thought they were SO safe! How wrong they were.....|
|...and who knew that one day, he would front the band Marilyn Manson...|
Things start out well when Mason Engels (Brad Rearden), the gawky teen boy, rents Scotty a room, and she discovers three other renters living there: Doris (Juli Andelman), Jack (Steve Doubet), and Peter (John Widelock). Also living there is Mrs. Engels (Yvonne DeCarlo), who lurks around the attic and is way too conspicuous for her own good. It seems as if the Engels want to make some rent money off these college kids, but they're not quite at ease with the whole thing, either. Could they be, oh I dunno, HIDING something?
Yes, life in this huge mansion on the hill overlooking the beach is turning out to be a big college party, until Peter gets knifed to death on the beach and buried under an elaborate sand castle. Somebody seems to be working through some issues by using a butcher knife, and since "leaving" seems to be the last thing any of these young folks would do, the next thing to do would be to hang around, wait for someone else to get murdered, then go exploring the basement in your robe and fuzzy slippers. Right? Right.
|Scotty, buying her cobwebbed stairway to heaven...|
The climax finds Scotty climbing that spooky stairway of doom, being dragged into Victoria's bedroom and attacked. Doris is dead already, stabbed to death in the basement and somehow dragged all the way up that tiny staircase by little ole Victoria (if you knew Doris, you'd understand how unlikely this scenario is, since Doris is a big girl who could have kicked Victoria's crazy ass with one meaty arm tied behind her back). The Engels arrive in time to stop Victoria from killing her, but they tie Scotty up to keep her from running away and blabbing to everyone about their dysfunctional home life. That's when the Engels family drama plays out like a Dr. Phil show: all these years, Mason thought Victoria was his SISTER and that Mrs. Engels was his MOTHER. But Victoria's really his mother, and the father he thought he had never really existed (it was his grandfather, who was already two years dead by the time Mason was born).
This makes Mason spaz out and start shooting a gun all over the room, until Mrs. Engels is dead, Victoria is "horror movie villain" dead, and Mason shoots himself in the head. Whew, Scotty's safe now, right? Well, remember when I said Victoria was "horror movie villain" dead? Yeah, that means, she's not dead at all. That is, not until Jack arrives to save the day, and distracts Victoria long enough so Scotty can...PUSH her to death. She falls on the knife and dies. Did you know "Silent Scream" can also mean what happens when you fall asleep and your mouth unconsciously drops open?
|And now, an acting class with Rebecca Balding. Today's topic: playing "perky".|
|"I'll just keep reminding myself what films like this did for Joan Crawford's career...there, I feel better already."|