Scream And Scream Again
To the sound of some fool mucking about on a Bontempi organ, a jogger
collapses in the street. He wakes up in hospital and soon realises that
for some reason, he's minus a leg, and being tended to by a saucy nurse.
Before you have chance to wonder what the bloody hell's going on there,
you're whisked off to what appears to be Nazi Germany, where Peter "Last
Of The Summer Wine" Sallis gets given the old death grip treatment
by some bloke.
And still the plot continues to make no sense, as the scene changes again
- this time we're back in England, where the police are investigating
the sex murder of a young girl.
Press man: "Is it murder, sir?"
Obligatory crotchety police inspector: "Is it murder? Don't be so
Actually, in the grand pantheon of miserable police inspectors that populate
this site (Donald Pleasance in Death Line,
Robert Hardy in Psychomania, Michael Elphick
in Vampire Motorcycle, Milo O'Shea
in Theatre Of Blood etc etc), Alfred
Marks' Insp Bellaver has to rank amongst the best. And he's amongst some
pretty tough competition. What's more, he apparently wrote a lot of his
own material. So we get him snarling "Snotty little bar-stard, inne?"
at one point, and at another, he seems far more concerned about his sandwich
than the case at hand:
"Smells like cheese, looked like ham... I was close - it's chicken.
This chicken wasn't killed - it died of old age."
Anyway, back to the plot (plot?). The dead girl apparently worked for
Vincent Price, who is some kind of doctor. But let's not hang around following
the murder investigation - no, back at the hospital, our friend has woken
again to find that he's now missing both his legs. Confused? You will
Out on the moors, two hikers are being shot at by Nazi soldiers. Why?
Who cares. What's more important is that the male hiker is wearing the
smallest pair of shorts you've ever seen, and he's accompanied by a pre-Lust
For A Vampire Yutte Stensgaard. She's taken back to the Nazi castle
for a quick bit of torture, her screams fading into... a pop concert.
At this point I have to take a breather. I mean, I'm all for giving the
audience something to think about, but this is taking the piss. We're
well into the film's 90 minute running time, and absolutely nothing has
been explained. What's more, we're about to be treated to a tiny cameo
from Peter Cushing (who complains about the torture only to get killed
by death-grip man), the same piece of live footage from Amen Corner repeated
over and over again (by the look of it), and a missing airman who we never
see. Add to this the poor sod in the hospital bed, who, by the next time
we see him, has lost his arms as well.
The only bit of relevant plot concerns the groovily dressed murderer,
who picks up a girl in the club where Amen Corner are playing, kills her
and somehow relieves her body of all its blood. At least here's a bit
of plot we can grasp hold of - the police decide to set some bait for
the "Vampire Killer", putting police women into the club as
honey traps. Amen Corner are still playing the same song (well it was
the late 60s), and of course, one of the police women falls lucky(?),
although her idiot colleagues fail to realise she's being killed ("Let
the girl have some fun...") until it's nearly too late.
The murderer (in a fetching purple ruffled shirt) then proceeds to kick
the shit out of a load of policemen, and escape in his car. Cue fantastic
car chase, only let down by some crappy day-for-night photography which
succeeds in giving the impression that the police have been chasing him
at high speed for nearly a week. He's cornered in an old house - but that
doesn't stop him - once again plod are on the wrong end of a serious twatting.
However, a quarry proves to be his undoing, and after failing to scale
its sides and banging his head, the police remark that "Well, it's
all over, eh?"
After handcuffing him to the bumper of a car, they all wander off (like
you would do...), allowing him the chance to rip his own hand off and
escape. Ouch. That is going to hurt come morning. Or at least it would
have done, if he hadn't put everyone out of their misery and brought the
chase to a final end by jumping into a vat of acid when cornered in a
barn on Vincent Price's farm.
The hand is taken to a hospital for study, but they don't have it for
long - the saucy nurse from scene one is on hand to casually kill an orderly
and steal it.
The police now reckon "Either this is coincidence, or we've got more
than one super-normal freak maniac on our hands", but obviously still
smarting from the kicking the first one gave them, decide to shut the
Of course, that's not the end of the matter (although it could be - as
it is, the audience would be none the wiser if The End appeared on screen
right now) - a young blonde doctor decides to do a little investigating
of his own and heads back to Price's farm. Unfortunately there's no acid
in the tank any more, and when he gets back to his car his look-out (an
attractive young WPC) has vanished.
In London, Lee is meeting up with our friend the killer masseur (whose
name is Konrad, apparently) in the middle of Trafalgar Square. A deal
is struck - the pilot back (remember him?) in return for all the evidence
on "the vampire murderer", to prevent an international incident.
The kidnapped police woman wakes up in the same bed we last saw the limbless
man lying in, and (fed up with waiting for Lee's bureaucracy to kick in,
obviously) Konrad goes to the police station himself to fetch the evidence,
killing Inspector Bellaver while he's at it.
Still with me? Don't worry, we're almost at the end... The Blonde Doctor
infiltrates Price's secret laboratory, and the plot is finally explained
in typical Price fashion: "I don't have much of a chance to show
off, and I couldn't resist telling you anyway..."
He's been making people. Composites, if you will - of which he is one.
"It's the old mad scientist' dream - playing god."
Price: "Man is god now, he always was."
Price's next Composite will be made up of the police woman, but before
he can start, Konrad turns up and there's a big fight. "You've turned
every scientific advance into a weapon! You won't have me or my work!"
Price screams, as the trusty death grip fails to work on him and he turns
round and twats Konrad with (of all things) a fire extinguisher.
There's acid baths a-plenty for all concerned at the finale, and a typically
late 60s open ended "make your own mind up" last scene.
Scream And Scream Again - perhaps not the best plotted or easily comprehensible
film on the site, but one of the maddest. And any film with all three
Brit Horror greats in it has got to be worth a look.
Scream and Scream Again (1969)
Director: Gordon Hessler Writer(s): Peter Saxon (novel), Christopher
Cast: Vincent Price - Dr. Browning, Christopher Lee - Fremont, Peter
Cushing - Benedek, Alfred Marks - Supt.Bellaver, Christopher Matthews - David
Sorel, Judy Huxtable - Sylvia, Yutte Stensgaard - Erika, Anthony Newlands -
Ludwig, Julian Holloway - Griffin, Kenneth Benda - Prof. Kingsmill, Judy Bloom
- Helen Bradford, Marshall Jones - Konratz, Peter Sallis - Schweitz, Uta Levka
- Jane, Clifford Earl - Det. Sgt. Jimmy Joyce, Nigel Lambert - Ken Sparten,
Michael Gothard - Keith, David Lodge - Det. Insp. Strickland, Kay Adrian - Nurse
Edgar, D. Davies - Rogers, Rosalind Elliot - Valerie, Leslie Ewin - Tramp, Lee
Hudson - Matron, Stephen Preston - Fryer, Lincoln Webb - Wrestler