I love Michael Winner because, well, the dude was a lunatic and sometimes, he appears like the smartest director ever. And other times, you wonder if he’s ever seen a movie before. Working from a Tom Holland script, Scream for Help is pure psychodrama, a blast of absolute insanity filtered through teenage hysteria and told by a British pervert who once tried to eat nothing but steak tartare and nearly died.
Also: Winner somehow got both Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones to score his films.
New Rochelle, New York mast as well be Twin Peaks. It’s a town filled with lunatics, like Paul Fox (David Allen Brooks), the stepfather to Christie (Rachael Kelly) who seemingly is trying to kill her and her mother — and his new wife — Karen (Marie Masters).
I say seemingly and you should read that as “he’s totally trying to kill her.”
Paul is also sleeping with another insane person, Brena (Lolita Lorre), who has an even more unhinged sibling named Lacey (Rocco Sisto). All of them have this wild plan of taking Christie and her mom for all their money, then killing them, but their plan is at best nonsense and based around a set time that doesn’t matter, but who cares? This movie goes hard, stays harder and has pregnant teens getting plowed over, their boyfriends getting over it super quick, a near giallo-plot and oh yeah, a bloody deflowering that does not get glossed over in the least.
All of this set to John Paul Jones working on his first post-Zeppelin album with Jimmy Page, Madeline Bell, Jon Anderson from Yes and guitarist John Renbourn.
I have no idea how or why Antonio Cantafora shows up for a second as a man at the no tell motel. He was also in Baron Blood, And God Said to Cain, The Bitch, Demons 2 and so many other films. I need to know how he got into this film. Was he on vacation in the U.S.?
This movie is an Afterschool Special with boobs.
You did it again, Michael Winner.
In preparation for this movie, Winter spent time in New Rochelle meeting and speaking with teenage girls to audition for the lead role. Unfortunately, some of the local townsfolk suspected him of being a child molester. Winner knew the local chief of police, who talked them out of that, but if anyone was dangerous to be around nubile teens, it was Michael Winner.
Also: This was to be the third movie that Richard Franklin would direct from a Holland script after Psycho 2 and Cloak and Dagger. Franklin ultimately decided he didn’t want to do another low budget movie, so IMDB says, but those other two were not low budget. The movie that Franklin would have made would have been technically better, but it would not have been as memorable.
Here’s a drink.
- 2 oz. J&B (or whiskey if you’re afraid of the taste)
- 1 oz. amaretto
- 5 oz. root beer
- Pile up a glass half full of ice.
- Pour scotch, then amaretto, then root beer.