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Scream For Help (Blu-ray Review)

Scream Factory is bringing to Blu-ray for the first time, the 1984 film Scream For Help. The film pairs the director of Death Wish, Michael Winner, with the writing of 1980s horror’s greatest commodities in Tom Holland. No, not Spider-Man, the OG Tom Holland who gave us Chucky, Fright Night and Psycho II. I’m not too familiar with this one, but listening to them give their reasoning for releasing it and the type of schlock it is…I have to say I’m pretty excited. Sounds like they are trying to recapture some Ninja III: The Domination magic here. It comes with some brand new interviews and a commentary. They were also able to do a brand new 2K transfer for this release from the original film elements. Those that dig this kinda feature should jump in on pre-ordering it below, and be ready to check it out when it arrives on September 25th (AKA, this BUSIEST new release date of 2018).

Film – Hear me out here

Terror invades an upper-class New York community as 17-year old Christie Cromwell cleverly uncovers her stepfather’s horrifying plot to murder her wealthy mother. She’s on to him, yet no one will believe her because she’s just a kid: smart, imaginative, maybe she’s just taken a crazy idea to the limit. Suspense builds when a series of shocking events confirms her worst fears. Alone, afraid and helpless, terrified Christie and her mother are held prisoner in their own home at the mercy of ruthless killers.

Wow! I had never seen, nor heard of, Scream For Help before this review. And its completely up my Cult Cinema Cavalcade alley. This 1984 ridiculousness is basically The Stepfather before The Stepfather came out. If you’re looking for a good movie or genuine thrills, go for The Stepfather with Terry O’Quinn (And I mean that, Stepfather is fantastic). But if you’re in the mood for some midnight fun with friends, Scream For Help will give you just the right treat.

Tom Holland, I love you, but I need to apologize for enjoying this like I do, and I’m sure none of it is your fault. This thing is crazy off the rails right from the start. The film is unnecessarily blunt, honest and over the top in a whacky way. It includes plenty of really weird voyeuristic sex stuff on repeat and some really weird things that just feel abrupt, wild and can’t help but bring some unintentional laughter. This is a little seen film and I don’t want to spoil any of it for someone looking to discover the next Miami Connection.

Thank the maker for Scream Factory digging this up and putting it out. I had an absolute joy discovering this little schlocky mess. I couldn’t believe how off and bizarre a lot of the score and musical cues are. The acting is also over the top or subpar. You’ll need to see this melodrama to believe it, which I recommend doing with a buddy that gets it or a nice group of bad cinema appreciators.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Scream For Help debuts on Blu-ray with a new 2K transfer from the original film elements. It looks pretty terrific , with a pretty crisp and sharp picture. Details are really strong and well defined here on all surfaces. There are some soft shots inherent in the source of the film that happen in a few spots. Colors are rather bold and strong in appearance.

Depth:  Some nice above average depth of field is on display in the image. Characters and object move freely in their environments. Their motion is cinematic and smooth with no real distortion issues to report and a solid pushback on the background in shots.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and do some good work with shadowing and such with no really hiding of details and no crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are natural and pretty strong here with good saturation. Reds pop pretty good, especially the mom’s sweater and a few other objects in one scene. Greens are also pretty rich and stick good to the screen when show.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are cleanly visible from any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: This is a nice, clean mono track. The score really like to jump in and get pretty boisterous, but it never detracts from anything going on, just heats up a moment. Everything is pretty well balanced though and blends together nicely.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are nice an crisp with surprisingly very good clarity.

Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Justin Karswell (Hysteria Lives!, The Slasher Movie Book) and Amanda Reyes (Are You In the House Alone? A TV Movie Compendium)

Cruel Intentions (HD, 13:29) – An interview with writer Tom Holland. He’s not too happy how the finished project turned out (Which he says he’d written in the 70s and got picked up after Psycho II was a hit), but seems to have fun ragging on the people who didn’t make it work and sheds light on as to why it didn’t. There’s also a brief moment where he throws a jab at the Fright Night remake when discussing that his anger with this movie wound up in the studio giving him a shot at directing.

Stepfather of the Year (HD, 15:57) – An interview with actor David Allen Brooks. He talks the highs and lows of the production and doing the film. He’s got a bit of a weird take on Michael Winner and talks about how disappointing his pay and how it works in England was.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:40)

Summary 

Scream For Help is an incredible discover for me that I’m eternally grateful has been found. I cannot wait to show others this gem. Scream Factory of course puts together a really nice release for it with terrific sight and sound and some solid interviews about the film that give a nice little honest introspective on this film that goes of the rails right from the first line. If you enjoy stuff like The Visitor, Dangerous Me, Troll II, Miami Connection…do yourself a favor and pre-order yourself a copy of Scream For Help!

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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