SOMETHING TO SCREAM ABOUT (DVD)

4 Stars
Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 65 minutes
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Written and directed by former Femme Fatales Magazine editor Jason Paul Collum, “Something to Scream About” is a thoughtful, respectful documentary focusing on the careers of nine actresses who got their start in horror movies. The neuftet of the so-called “scream queens” (introduced by Stevens, the only genuine “Scream Queen” of the bunch) range from the talented Debbie Rochon, star of over a hundred independent films, to Felissa Rose, who made her start as the thirteen-year-old star of “Sleepaway Camp” and has only recently returned to filmmaking.

The women speak frankly about the industry, about getting their start in movies, about aging, nudity, and their own sense of worth and talent. There’s a great deal of enthusiasm and honesty on display here – particularly from the intimidating Amazon and former Penthouse Pet Julie Strain, who admits that she never shied away from nudity because she wasn’t that good of an actress and had little else to offer producers (perhaps a harsh assessment, but honest, nonetheless).

The interviews are intercut with clips from movies like “Night of the Living Dead” (for O’Dea), “Witchouse 2”, “Bloodletting”, “Polymorph” (for Albright – only natural (and economic) as Tempe Entertainment produced the film and it was edited by Tempe regular “Lance Randas”), the “Subspecies” series (for “Duff”), “Sleepaway Camp” (for Rose), and the outstanding and soon-to-be-released “Nowhere Man” (for Rochon). Also, the documentary is almost top-heavy with clips with the over-rated “Slumber Party Massacre”. While entertaining, and notable for the speaking-part debut for host Stevens, “Slumber Party” was by no means a benchmark in the era of ‘80s slasher films and is on display here simply to orient audiences to the lesser-known Deliso and Burkett.

Which brings me to my sole complaint: “Something to Scream About” spends far too much time on the “one-shot” actresses who had very little to add to the doc beyond nostalgia for their best-known film. While Rochon, Strain and Albright have vast careers under their belts and are well-represented on-screen, Stabs is given very little face-time – which is a shame as her path through the no-budget industry (as opposed to the medium-to-low budgets the others represent) could have been better explored. In the meantime, it seems that Rochon or Albright barely get going before the scene cuts back to yet another reminiscence of “Slumber Party Massacre”. But thanks to the pace of the editing, and the charisma of all involved, this is a very – very – minor complaint.

For fans of these actresses, there is very little here that will come as a surprise, but that in no way lessens the entertainment and educational value of the doc. It’s an excellent primer for those new to the horror genre and highly recommended.

The DVD also features a brief interview with Strain’s younger sister and upcoming starlet, Lizzy, Collum’s early short film “Julia Wept” and – a real boon for fans – snippets from very early student films featuring Rochon. (The doc is also available as part of a two-disc set with episodes of Bookwalter’s and Stevens’ “Shock Cinema” video magazine.)



Posted on February 9, 2003 in Reviews by
Buffer


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