Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Genres - Mystery, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Police Detective Film  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - UK  |   MPAA Rating - R
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This creepy, complex cult favorite deserves to broaden its fanbase beyond fans of vintage exploitation fare. Scream And Scream Again was controversial during its original release but it has definitely improved with age. Christopher Wicking's screenplay is fragmented but this is a stylistic choice, designed to set the viewer on edge and breed a feeling of paranoia that pays off when the story's plot threads merge at the finale to create an insane, unnerving 'conspiracy theory' explanation for it all. Director Gordon Hessler gives the film the kind of nervously energetic style it requires, keeping the many plot threads on track while engaging the viewer with flashy visuals and energetic action setpieces (the obvious highlight in this respect is an extended chase during the film's midsection). Capping the film's appeal are performances that play the material straight while living up to its often manic intensity: Vincent Price takes his mad-scientist role to surreal heights while Christopher Lee provides a nice counter-balance to that performance with his world-weary turn as a politician who makes dirty deals to keep his country afloat. Sadly, Peter Cushing's appearance amounts to little more than a cameo but he handles it in fine style. It's also worth noting that the Price and Lee's performances are mainly character roles and are supported by equally fine performances from other actors who have more screen time: standouts in this regard are Alfred Marks' work as a grizzled, perpeatually sarcastic police detective and Marshall Jones' chilling turn as an ambitious and homicidal government man. Ultimately, Scream And Scream Again might be a little too complicated and challenging for some viewers but it offers ample rewards for the viewer who can keep up with its ambitious, intense style.