Wednesday 9 March 2011

Scream ... and Die! (1974)

A British would-be giallo, SCREAM ... AND DIE! was directed by ex-pat Spaniard Jose Larraz, and was also known by the baffling but giallo-esque title THE HOUSE THAT VANISED.  Larraz made a couple of excellent films in the '70s - SYMPTOMS (1974) and VAMPYRES (1975) - in which he successfully fused the themes of sex and death creating two atmospheric and erotically-charged horror tales.  Unfortunately, the film he made in between was a misfire.

At times of low ebb, the mainstream British film industry has flirted with the world of mucky books and blue movies.  The period in which the two came closest to overlapping was probably the mid-1970s which saw a string of low-rent comedies usually featuring a delirious melange of bad actors, fading stars, glamour models and, on occasion, porn stars.  There were one or two horror thrillers made in the same period: one example is EXPOSE (1976) which starred Fiona Richmond, and another is this effort from Larraz which stars Andrea Allan.

Andrea Allan
Andrea Allan started out as an actress on TV (she was a recurring character on UFO) had one or two bit parts in films and then did some glamour modelling work.  That was presumably around the time she landed the lead role in this movie, as a model being menaced by a murderer whom she witnessed in action.  It's a lazy bit of casting and as if casting a model as a model didn't give you an indication that the director wasn't bothered about his leading lady's acting ability then the fact that he subsequently dubbed her voice surely does.  She's a pretty girl but very little is required of her other than to take her clothes off at regular intervals.

Classic horror image
It kind of sums up the level of Larraz's ambition really and betrays the banal sensibility behind the film.  Whereas in his better films Larraz uses the 'old dark house' cliche and does something new with it, here it's simply a location.  Similarly, in those films he draws unsettling parallels between sexual and violent urges, and between love and obsession, here he merely uses sex and violence as titillation.

The black-gloved maniac strikes again

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