Death Warmed Up (1984)

Directed by David Blyth [Other horror films: The Horror Show (1989), Red Blooded American Girl (1990), Wound (2010)]

This New Zealand production is such a madcap movie. I don’t necessarily mean that it’s zany or even fun, but it does have a bit of a wild feel to it, and while it’s definitely not what I’d call a good movie, at least Death Warmed Up has flavor.

Luckily, the plot never feels too out there, as we have a good idea of what’s going on from the beginning. Things get a bit hectic toward the end, what with an outbreak of mutated people causing havoc, but the story never gets overly confusing or at any point nonsensical, which I can appreciate.

Also, while it’s hard to say that anyone really stands out as far as performances go in this movie, most of the central actors and actresses were at least decent. Michael Hurst had a pretty unique look to him, and his character was pretty tragic (that opening was just beautiful). Margaret Umbers, William Upjohn, and Norelle Scott all worked well as friends, and I bought their performances. Gary Day did great as the amoral scientist, and as a lesser antagonist, David Letch (who was also in Mr. Wrong, as was Umbers) was notably threatening.

The special effects and gore were never the biggest focus, but there were plenty of mutated patients (though they were never really in focus, so the extent to their mutations weren’t that clear), some gory skull removal during some operations, a few slit throats here and there, aftereffects of a massacre. None of it was great or really memorable, but at least it was there, and more so, at least it all seemed competently done.

One thing that amused me was the fact that some of the scene transitions used what I’d refer to as Powerpoint slideshow transitions – it didn’t take away from the movie or anything, but it just looked sort of funny, and I can’t think of many movies that use transitions quite like this one did.

The opening, as I alluded to earlier, was pretty solid. You have a guy using a shotgun against two people, and the results looked quite gory. Not that the movie dragged later on or anything, but I think the beginning to Death Warmed Up did a good job at making us, as the audience, wonder what’s coming next, because for this movie, it’s not always that easy to tell.

I find the movie amusing, though there wasn’t much in the way of humor actually in the film proper. It just seemed all over the place, and though there was a coherent story, Death Warmed Up just felt weird. I’ve seen this once before (I own it on the Pure Terror 50-movie pack from Mill Creek Entertainment), and the only scene that I remembered vaguely (as it’s been at least ten years since I’ve seen the movie before this rewatch) was the chase in the tunnels, which was a bit dark as far as lighting was concerned, but moderately suspenseful.

Truthfully, I don’t really like Death Warmed Up, but I can’t find it in me to really dislike it. I do think the movie is a bit below average, but at the same time, this is one that I could easily see myself diving into again in the future, if just due to how odd some of it is. If you’re into New Zealand-based horror, give it a look. You could certainly do worse than this.

6/10

Al filo del hacha (1988)

Directed by José Ramón Larraz [Other horror films: Whirlpool (1970), Deviation (1971), La muerte incierta (1973), Scream… and Die! (1973), Emma, puertas oscuras (1974), Symptoms (1974), Vampyres (1974), Estigma (1980), La momia nacional (1981), Los ritos sexuales del diablo (1982), Descanse en piezas (1987), Deadly Manor (1990)]

Most commonly known as Edge of the Axe, this Spanish slasher was an interesting movie to revisit. I generally thought it was okay, though I have to admit that I think the finale was a bit on the weak side.

For the most part, I find the story here somewhat strong. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing special about it – a mysterious bout of murders is plaguing a small town – but there’s a plethora of suspects and characters, and a decent mystery. Problematically, the conclusion doesn’t use these elements to the best of their ability, but at least the set-up was solid.

Barton Faulks was okay as a central character, and I actually felt his budding relationship with Christina Marie Lane’s character was sort of cute. Fred Holliday as the Sheriff took a little bit to grow on me (especially as he really seems like a dick in the first half of the film), but I ended up enjoying him during his appearances.

I also appreciated most of the potential suspects (not that the Sheriff wasn’t a potential suspect, or Faulks’ character, but these were more ‘appear a few times to arouse suspicion’ types) such as the priest, played by Elmer Modlin, or the random organist Jack Taylor. Joy Blackburn and her relationship with Page Mosely seemed just thrown in there, but both of them were fine. Patty Shepard (who probably has the most experience of the cast) was nice to see.

The kills were honestly just okay. The opening scene in a car-wash was probably the most memorable, but there’s a character later on who gets a few fingers cut off, which may have been one of the better spots of gore in the movie. That said, for being named Edge of the Axe, there’s not a whole lot of violent axing here. Most of the kills were competent, but not really anything that’d come across as too memorable.

Where the movie truly falters, though, would be in the finale. Throughout the film, we’ve been given plenty of different potential suspects who could be the murderer, and when we find out who’s behind the crimes, I have to admit that it just didn’t feel right. I sort of liked the idea of it – I mean, I’ve seen this movie before, but I forgot who the killer was, and I was 100% surprised by the identity – but the execution seemed a bit weak, and it was followed by a conclusion that feels somewhat cliché (at least nowadays; maybe back then, it was fresher).

Despite the weak conclusion, though, I did like a lot of this. It had quality atmosphere, and though the movie definitely takes some missteps, I dug the vibe. It’s not a movie that’s fantastic, nor is it really good, but I liked it well enough, so rating it around average strikes me as fair.

7/10

Cat’s Eye (1985)

Directed by Lewis Teague [Other horror films: Alligator (1980), Cujo (1983), The Triangle (2001)]

This is either the second or third time I’ve seen this King-based anthology, and I’m not any more fond of it now than I was the first time I saw it. Cat’s Eye isn’t without promise, and I appreciate they decided to adapt some of King’s lesser known stories, but the movie is too comedic for me to really fully care for.

The first two stories here (all connected, as the title implies, by being witnessed by a cat) are based off short stories written by Stephen King, “Quitters, Inc.” and “The Ledge,” both published in King’s first collection of stories, Night Shift (a copy of which I’ve owned for years, and as such, it’s quite threadbare, really on it’s last legs). If you’ve read early Stephen King, you know that his writing style, especially in his short stories, can come across as clinical, very matter-of-fact. Not dry, but almost reminiscence of 70’s horror – bleak and without much in the way of hope.

Cat’s Eye throws that out the window and instead brings a lot of comedic influences into both of these stories. For ‘Quitters, Inc.,” we get an utterly ridiculous hallucination sequence with cigarettes (and quality singing from Alan King’s character), and for “The Ledge,” Kenneth McMillan’s Cressner is a lot goofier, almost a spoof of a classic mob boss.

It’s also worth mentioning that the conclusion of “The Ledge” was far better in the short story than it was in this adaptation, and that’s even discounting the dodgy special effects.

My disappointment with how they choose to adapt these stories notwithstanding, I think most of the main cast was okay. Not great – no one here really stands out exceptionally well, aside from maybe, and I say maybe, Alan King – but passable. James Woods (Videodrome) was a bit dicey, but likely did the best with the role he had. Robert Hays felt a bit uninspired as the lead in “The Ledge,” and Kenneth McMillan had potential. I was sort of surprised to see a young James Rebhorn (The Game and Independence Day), but his character didn’t really do anything, so it doesn’t really warrant this mention.

The third story, about a girl and her troubles with one trolly boi, wasn’t based off a King short story. As far as the special effects went, especially concerning the troll, it was probably the best of the three, but I also felt that it really went on too long. Candy Clark was pretty decent as a somewhat hateable mother, and Drew Barrymore (previously in Firestarter) was okay, but I didn’t care for the story.

Honestly, that sums this up. We get three stories here spanning an hour and a half, and while I like the source material for the first two, I just didn’t enjoy how they brought them to the silver screen. Also, while some might find such references cute, the opening which winked at both Cujo and Christine made me groan. It just felt forced, similar to the reference of Pinhead in Bride of Chucky.

Cat’s Eye has it’s place, and the movie certainly has it’s fans, but I can’t say I’ve ever been one, and I doubt the style they go for here will ever really work for me.

5/10

White Dog (1982)

Directed by Samuel Fuller [Other horror films: N/A]

There are some movies that you just know aren’t going to have happy endings, and while that doesn’t make the movie bad, it can impact your willingness to sit through it. This never bothered me that much – I still cry during the end of Titanic, and probably always will, but still find the film worth watching. White Dog is too a film worth watching, but it’s not one that I would say has much in the way of rewatchability.

Dealing with a pretty obscure topic (at least as far as my education was concerned) about dogs trained specifically to attack black people, it should go without saying that racism is very prevalent in this movie. Almost none of the on-screen characters are racist (save for one that shows up toward the end), but that a dog was “trained” (or beaten, depending on whether or not you’re a piece of trash who condones animal abuse) by a racist into a savage monster is just damn disheartening.

I don’t always like touching on racism, on a side-note. Partially, it’s due to the fact that I’m a white guy from Indiana who didn’t really know any black people until college, and it’s just not a comfortable topic for me. No doubt that comes from a place of privilege, and it’s just awful how backwards the USA still is when it comes to race. Still, it’s a necessary conversation, and I think this movie, which got some hate after it was released, does good with the topic.

The main character, played by Kristy McNichol (from Little Darlings, a movie I’ve not personally seen but my mother was a big fan of, so wanted to throw it a mention) strikes me as naive about some things, but really turns into a strong character, and when she confronts a racist man toward the end, it was great to see. Her performance here is pretty solid, especially during the first half as she’s learning to care about and love the dog.

McNichol isn’t the best performance though – that accolade goes to Paul Winfield. Though not an actor I’m that familiar with (I have seen him in both The Serpent and the Rainbow and The Horror at 37,000 Feet), Winfield does great here. I love his goal of attempting to recondition the dog in order to discourage racists from using them for their racist ends. About an hour in, he really goes out of his way to recondition this dog (even after the mild disagreement from McNichol’s character), and I love him for it, no matter how it ended.

Aside from these two, the only other person that really stands out is Burl Ives, who is a character that takes a little to get used to, but I did end up rather liking him. Dick Miller also pops up for a single scene, which was random but fun, and toward the conclusion, we get a little Parley Baer, playing a rather despicable character pretty well with the short screen-time he had.

It’s also worth noting that, while I have no problem with the horror label being thrown onto this movie, much of the violence is shown in a more dramatic and heart-breaking light. Sure, the movie is a downer by it’s subject itself, but aside from the second attack (of the street sweeper, played by Tony Brubaker), most of the kills don’t really feel like what you’d expect in a horror movie. That doesn’t downplay the horror of a humongous dog rushing someone down, but if someone went away from this finding it far more a drama, I couldn’t say I’d much blame them.

White Dog is a movie I’ve seen before, but like many of the movies I’ve seen in years past, I didn’t have a great memory of this one. It’s no doubt a well-made film, and is one that should be checked out if it sounds of interest, but it’s not a movie I think I’d go back to that often, and it’s definitely not what I’d call a fun viewing.

7/10

Return to Horror High (1987)

Directed by Bill Froehlich [Other horror films: N/A]

In all honesty, Return to Horror High could have been something special. I don’t know what it would have needed to get there – maybe better direction, a more serious approach, something else – but with the meta nature of the film, along with the nonlinear plot (not to mention the plot twists), this had potential. The problem is it didn’t land at all.

And I don’t just mean the finale – I mean all of it. Certain scenes were interesting – the first time they had a scene break for us only to discover it was part of the filming threw me for a loop (I honestly thought it was a flashback), and there were a few decently artistic scenes (such as the love-making sequence, what with flashing lights from welding outside and the 80’s styles of Wendy Fraser’s “Man for Me”), but for the most part, very little in this film made an impact on me.

When I first saw this years ago, I suspect I might have found it somewhat convoluted, and while things generally make more sense this time around (aside from the “Daddy” ending), that cohesion doesn’t really benefit my views on this much. I just found it an interesting concept that was executed somewhat woefully, and not much in the way of performances save it.

Many might mention George Clooney when bringing this one up, and I guess I have also, but even knowing he was in this, I didn’t recognize his face (it doesn’t help that I know very little from Clooney – I’ve only seen two films with him in it, being Batman & Robin and From Dusk Till Dawn). More noticeable by far were Maureen McCormick (who was one of the few elements of comedy I consistently appreciated), Alex Rocco, Brendan Hughes (Howling VI: The Freaks), and Lori Lethin (who had three separate roles here).

There wasn’t much in the way of kills whatsoever. Pretty much all of them are weak save for perhaps the take on a human dissection. Everything else was forgettable, though, but that’s okay, because it fits well with the rest of the movie.

Which may have come out more unkindly than necessary, but Return to Horror High, like I said, had potential. Almost none of it really did anything for me though – not even the mystery of the killer, and that usually at least garners some mild interest from me. I found this utterly underwhelming, and despite some potentially clever ideas, I don’t think I’m going to give this one a third viewing.

5/10

The Mutilator (1984)

Directed by Buddy Cooper [Other horror films: N/A] & John Douglass [Other horror films: N/A]

You know, I have to admit that my recollection of this movie may not have done it proper justice. I saw The Mutilator once many years ago, and ever since, I’ve been telling people about how underwhelming I found the film. Seeing it again with fresh eyes, though, I didn’t feel underwhelmed at all. 

It could fairly be said that neither Morey Lampley nor Frances Raines (Disconnected and Breeders) did much for me, but the other four central characters were pretty good. Bill Hitchcock and Connie Rogers struck me as a realistic couple, Hitchcock’s character even occasionally amusing me. Matt Mitler was strong, and making for a quality final girl was Ruth Martinez, who I really liked here.

Pulling all of this together is the fact that I really got the sense that these were friends just hanging out, so even during the moments void of murder, it was fun just seeing this group of friends chilling (and playing Blind Man’s Bluff, a game that doesn’t look remotely fun).

What adds a little bit to the performances, by the way, is the fact that this was filmed in North Carolina, and most of the actors and actresses have that southern twang in their accents which just gives the movie a little more regional flavor, something that I quite appreciated. 

Of course, what really adds to the film is the quality gore, which is something I perhaps missed the first time I saw The Mutilator. With such classy kills as a character getting stabbed with a piece of wood through the throat and thusly decapitated and another guy’s chest getting all ripped up with an outboard motor (which isn’t necessarily clear during the scene, at least to me, but the impact is most definitely worth it), this movie doesn’t slouch off in that department. There might be a weak kill or two (such as the character who was drowned), but that strong finale, with some dismemberment and someone being cut in half by a car, is enough to cancel those out.

While a small point, I wanted to mention the song that sandwiches the film (plays both at the beginning and the ending during the credits) titled “Fall Break” (on a side-note, Fall Break is an alternative title to this movie, and in fact, the print of the film that I saw had this title as opposed to The Mutilator). The song is a bit too jaunty for me at times, but I did think it was a lot of fun, and it’s one of those songs that’ll end up on my iTunes (the same fate which befell “Fade to Black” from Prom Night).

Oh, and another thing that I found a pleasant surprise – unlike many horror films, The Mutilator didn’t go for some final scene jump scare, which surprised me as it sort of felt like they were moving in that direction. Luckily, it was just a little somber scene in a hospital, which I definitely appreciated.

There’s no doubt that this film is somewhat run-of-the-mill, and given that the killer wasn’t particularly distinctive in any way whatsoever, it makes sense to me that for some, this might just not cut it. And to be fair, like I said, the same could have been said of me prior to this rewatch. Seeing it again, though, opened my eyes, and while it’s not a great slasher, I did have quite a bit of fun with it.

7.5/10

Cheerleader Camp (1988)

Directed by John Quinn [Other horror films: The Secret Cellar (2003)]

Though certainly a flawed movie in some obvious ways, I found Cheerleader Camp (sometimes known as Bloody Pom Poms) an enjoyable experience, which I think is where this movie excels, though whether that makes up for the failures, well, that’s an interesting question.

The tone of this movie seems all over the place – the opening sequence is a dream, complete with a nice dream-like atmosphere and unique angles. It’s not a particularly silly dream either, but once the character awakens, and we meet the cast, there’s plenty of silly scenes to come. A few other dreams pop up throughout, to be sure, though I think they qualify as more ridiculous than they do atmospheric.

Betsy Russell made for an interesting lead. Russell (who later went on to play Jill Kramer in some of the Saw sequels) doesn’t really have a lot of agency herself, and generally reacts to her nightmares and the horrors surrounding her at camp without fighting back, but hey, she tries. I don’t know Lucinda Dickey (aside from this, she was only in five other films), but I did like her low-key style, and toward the finale, she became even more fun.

Leif Garrett (a singer that apparently my mother listened to in her youth) didn’t make much an impression. He did okay as a dickish character, I guess, but I preferred him in the underrated Peopletoys (better known as Devil Times Five). Lorie Griffin was fun as the sterotypically dumb blonde, Travis McKenna was extremely fun as the likable weighty boi, and George ‘Buck’ Flower (who has appeared in quite a handful of random horror films, such as Skeletons, Spontaneous Combustion, Pumpkinhead, and The Fog) got a bit more screen-time here than he usually does, and I enjoyed it. Lastly, while her character was #awful, Vickie Benson was decent.

I called the conclusion pretty early on (and to be fair, I have seen this movie before, but it had been so long that most of the story and mystery was unfamiliar to be), but it was still an okay surprise, especially since a few red herrings were strewn throughout. On the flipside, the kills here are mostly weak (I think the best one was a pair of scissors stabbed through someone’s mouth), but if you’re having fun already, that may not make too much of a difference.

Personally, I don’t think Cheerleader Camp is great, and I definitely think the movie had potential to be more than what it ended up. That said, I did find Cheerleader Camp a pretty fun movie, and while I do think it ultimately ends up below average, it’s not a movie I’d consider an altogether bad time at all.

6.5/10

Humongous (1982)

Directed by Paul Lynch [Other horror films: Prom Night (1980), Mania (1986, segments ‘Have a Nice Day’ & ‘The Good Samaritan’)]

I think that in some ways, Humongous is an almost-decent movie, though there was most definitely room for improvements. Still, it does possess an okay atmosphere, and while far from great (and a step or two away from good), it may be worth checking out at least once.

Though unlikely to amaze anyone, I did find myself enjoying the setting (a secluded mansion on a secluded island) here, and for what little this movie did get down pat, I’d say the location was one of them. The story isn’t anything that hasn’t been seen before, but it was competent enough to be engrossing (though at times, I do think things are running a bit sluggish).

As far as performances go, I think that Janet Julian was pretty good. I don’t think she was amazing, but like much of what the movie does, she was competent, and that thin shirt she wore was A+ material. And speaking of A+ material, Joy Boushel looked quite cute in that pair of short shorts. Boushel’s (Terror Train, Cursed) character was a bit iffy in the beginning, but she got topless a couple of times, so I don’t have any real complaints. Both Layne Coleman and David Wysocki (Mortuary) struck me as forgettable. John Wildman was sort of interesting (in quite a dickish way), but we don’t really learn enough about him to fully get his character.

Most underutilized, though, was Janit Baldwin. When she first disappeared and popped up, that was fine and well, but she never really adds that much to the story, which I really felt was a shame, because though Julian was obviously more action-oriented, Baldwin struck me as a more interesting character. Just one of the potential issues with the film, albeit a small one compared to the largest issues.

And that first issue is the title, which I find horrendous. I mean, you expect someone to jump from movies like The Burning, Happy Birthday to Me, and Iced to a movie called Humongous? I just find the name hideous, but whateves. What was also lacking was lighting – so many of the scenes throughout the film are a bit too dark, and because of that, I felt the finale was lacking a real punch in regards to the reveal of the titular hulking monster.

There’s also a dearth of quality kills. I mean, a couple toward the end were okay (one individual gets their head squeezed, and another gets a snapped back from a too-eager bear hug), but neither were great, and more importantly, the ones beforehand were almost laughably bare-bones (though I do admit that it lead to a somewhat amusing gag cut).

Lastly, the way that the final girl attempted to head off the antagonist’s threat was to dress up as his mother and scold him. And if that sounds familiar, well, there’s a reason for that. Now, that’s not the end of things, as there’s a decent finale in a boat-house, and in fact, the scene itself in which she’s pretending to be his mother was moderately tense, but even so, it felt sort of funny given that this came out just a year later.

Humongous isn’t a bad movie, or at least it’s not a movie that’s without charm. I definitely think a couple of things could have been done better, such as lighting or character motivation (I still don’t entirely get Wildman’s character, which is a shame, as he’s basically the reason why these characters were in this situation to begin with), not to mention the somewhat disappointing kills, but it’s still a movie that has a little going for it (such as the opening in which a rapist is torn apart by dogs, which I can wholly support). Check it out if you’re a fan of 80’s horror – worst case scenario, I led you astray and made you hate your life a little.

6/10

Chopping Mall (1986)

Directed by Jim Wynorski [Other horror films: Not of This Earth (1988), The Return of Swamp Thing (1989), Transylvania Twist (1989), The Haunting of Morella (1990), Sorority House Massacre II (1990), Hard to Die (1990), Scream Queen Hot Tub Party (1991), 976-Evil II (1991), Ghoulies IV (1994), Sorceress (1995), The Wasp Woman (1995), Vampirella (1996), Storm Trooper (1998), The Bare Wench Project (2000), Raptor (2001), The Bare Wench Project 2: Scared Topless (2001), Project Viper (2002), Wolfhound (2002), The Bare Wench Project 3: Nymphs of Mystery Mountain (2002), Cheerleader Massacre (2003), Bare Wench Project: Uncensored (2003), The Thing Below (2004), The Curse of the Komodo (2004), Gargoyle (2004), Komodo vs. Cobra (2005), The Witches of Breastwick (2005), The Witches of Breastwick 2 (2005), Bare Wench: The Final Chapter (2005), Cry of the Winged Serpent (2007), House on Hooter Hill (2007), Bone Eater (2007), Vampire in Vegas (2009), Cleavagefield (2009), The Hills Have Thighs (2010), Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010), Camel Spiders (2011), Piranhaconda (2012), Gila! (2012), Scared Topless (2015), Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2015), Legend of the Naked Ghost (2017), CobraGator (2018)]

In many ways, Chopping Mall is a pretty simple movie, taking common elements and meshing them together decently well. It’s not special, and it’s not even particularly memorable, but it’s digestible fun, which counts in it’s favor.

Apparently far more based on Gog (1954) than it was Short Circuit (which came out a year before), the film follows security robots going awry and chasing down eight teens who stay after hours and party in a furniture store (a spiritual prequel to Hide and Go Shriek, some might say). The variety of the kills isn’t really that high, but you do get the ever-classic head being blown off by a laser, which was actually repeated during the beginning of the credits. The electrocutions were sort of cheesy, but still fun. Oh, and there was a slit throat, so there’s some “chopping” for you.

Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet) was solid as a more-reserved teen who quickly became one of the best fighters this group of kids had. She was fun, occasionally adorable, and easy to root for. Few of the other seven teens stand out, though. Tony O’Dell was okay, Suzee Slater had quality breasts (and a fantastic death scene), and even Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond, and most famously, Beyond the Gates) was just eh. No one else stood out aside from Dick Miller, who had just a single scene, but as always with Miller, it was a lot of fun.

As one would hope, the soundtrack is pretty fun (albeit somewhat generic) 80’s synth, but even more fun were the multiple references to other movies. Obviously the posters of The Slumber Party Massacre, Galaxy of Terror, and Forbidden World were visible toward the beginning, but you have Miller’s character being named Walter Paisley (the same name of a character he played in A Bucket of Blood), and then there’s Roger’s Little Shop of Pets (of course referencing The Little Shop of Horrors). Some characters were watching Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957) early on before the fun with the robots began. They even threw in some characters from Eating Raoul (a movie I didn’t particularly like, but hey, whateves), so overall, this was fun and playful.

What wasn’t fun or playful was that scene in the pet shop, though – tarantulas probably have very good souls, but they terrify me (just as they did in Deadly Blessing), and that scene in which they’re crawling on Maroney’s arm just freaks me out. That was legit the hardest scene to watch in the film.

With plenty of fun lines, such as Maroney’s final one-liner, and a good, quick pace, Chopping Mall is a movie that got it’s job done and done well. Sure, there’s only one really memorable death scene, and few other scenes really stand out (though I do love the silhouette of the killbot snapping it’s pincers), but even knowing that, Chopping Mall is fun, and it has been since I first saw it years back.

Thank you. Have a nice day.

7.5/10

Scream for Help (1984)

Directed by Michael Winner [Other horror films: The Nightcomers (1971), The Sentinel (1977)]

Scream for Help is a movie that I’ve only seen once before, and honestly, a movie that I remembered very little of. Pretty much when it came to mind, I just thought of it as the spiritual prequel to The Stepfather (not unlike how I think of 1985’s Blackout). In truth, this really can stand up on its own, because while it’s not an amazing movie, I definitely think a lot was done well.

Problematically, much of the first half deals with a lot of melodrama, what with a step-father’s affair being found out by his step-daughter, and while I can get the emotional upheaval this would cause the family, it’s not always the most engrossing stuff.

Again, though, there’s still decent scenes here, such as the somewhat surprising and intense hit and run that happens quite early into the film. No doubt too there’s tension at different portions of the opening, and while things don’t really pick up until the final thirty minutes, there’s plenty of things going on that are likely to keep your interest.

What sort of interested me was how the story also largely dealt with a teen girl’s coming-of-age, in a way. Over the course of the film, she experiences her first love and experiences her first love-making, and of course love saves them all in the end. Of course, it also led to most of their problems in the first place, but like most teenagers, it’s a confusing time for us all.

Rachel Kelly was pretty convincing as a teenager naive in the ways of lust. I mean, no doubt was her character occasionally ridiculously melodramatic, but she was pretty fun, and she possessed quality strength. Her mother, played by Marie Masters, didn’t interest me as much, but she still did decent enough. Forgettable also was Corey Parker, but I loved how his character, the very day after his girlfriend dies, gets with the girlfriend’s best friend, so a quality example of man.

Speaking of which, while his girlfriend, played by Sandra Clark, didn’t last that long, she was still pretty decent, which was a bit of a surprise given that this was her sole role in anything. David Allen Brooks (who pops up much later in Jack Frost 2) was pretty good here, and Rocco Sisto was even better, but Lolita Lesheim (who provided a bit of nudity) was just okay. Still, decent performances from most of the central cast, especially Rachel Kelly.

While traditional horror scenes were a bit light at times (and the finale felt far more thriller than it did horror), there were a few here and there, and like I said, plenty of tension throughout the whole of the film. Also, there was a kick-ass explosion at the end, which was pretty cool, and while the electrocution wasn’t up to par, it was still fun given the character in question who was electrocuted deserved it.

A lot could be said for the idea that this movie feels far more like a coming-of-age thriller than it does the pure horror movie that you might hope it’d be, and I can certainly see it, to an extent, but no matter what Scream for Help is classified as, I think it’s a movie that has a decent amount going for it, and if you’ve not yet seen it, it may be worth it, even if it’s not amazing.

7/10