Scream Bloody Murder

Director: Marc B. Ray (1973)
Starring: Fred Holbert, Leigh Mitchell, Angus Scrimm
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Positively Shakespearian (no, really) in its telling of a hook-handed man who goes on a killing spree and kidnaps a prostitute, Scream Bloody Murder is an entertaining bit of sleazy shlock that manages to endear with its inept cheesiness and grot.

Matthew (Holbert) is traumatised after killing his father and mangling his own hand in the process. He's released from the mental institute years later, but is far from right in the head. First things first, he murders his mother and her new husband. This done, he sets off to find his fortune, murdering a newly married couple on the way. He befriends a prostitute named Daisy (Mitchell) and kidnaps the poor dear when she refuses to quit the game. Ridiculous gore scenes and lengthy scenes of bondage ensue. That she keeps escaping is unsurprising, since it must be difficult to tie knots when one has a hook for a hand. Fans of Two Knotty Boys shouldn't look too disparagingly upon Matthew though. Daisy is the sort of Damsel who is incapable of spitting out a handkerchief to scream for help.

"Do me a favour and hold this in your mouth whilst I go and kill the shit out of everyone, will you my dear? Cheers."

The sadism in Scream Bloody Murder (or The Captive Female, depending on who you ask) is sort of reminiscent of John Fowles's The Collector or the similarly crappy movie The Frightened Woman, although Matthew makes for a more convincing psychopath than that movie's laughable Daniel Craig lookalike. It's also far less technically adept and a lot less offensive thanks to this. That it associates physical disability with psychopathy is in itself offensively lunkheaded, but even the hook you can't take seriously.

In some scenes you can actually see Holbert's hand holding said hook through his jumper. But most of the time, you'll be distracted by the jumper itself. Scream Bloody Murder is the sort of 70s movie where people wear rollnecks, jerseys and jumpers. That is to say: the very best kind of 70s movie. There's also an authentic sailor and a brief role for Angus Scrimm amongst it all.

Scream Bloody Murder is an amusing but fairly useless bit of trash made watchable thanks to its hyperbolic melodrama, sleazy cinematics and an entertaining lead performance from Fred Holbert.

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