Thursday, June 4, 2009
Scream for Help
Scream for Help
Directed by Michael Winner
Starring: Rachael Kelly, Marie Masters, David Allen Brooks, Lolita Lorre, Rocco Sisto, Corey Parker, Sandra Clark
Running Time: 89 minutes
Christie Cromwell (played by Rachael Kelly) is convinced that her new stepdad Paul Fox (David Allen Brooks) is trying to kill her mother to get a hold of their money. Everyone, including her mother Karen (Marie Masters) think Christie is crazy. First she proves that Paul is sleeping with a woman named Brenda Bohle (Lolita Lorre) and then the truth comes out: duh yes, Paul is indeed trying to kill Karen. Christie and her mom kick Paul out of the house (but they forget to take his keys!) so he, Brenda and a thug named Lacey (Rocco Sisto) come back to murder the both of them and make it look like a burglary. Now the ladies must fight for their life (even though they clearly deserve to die).
Obviously, Michael Winner, director of Death Wish and a bunch of other Charles Bronson-related things, didn't give a flying fuck about Scream for Help. Then there's the writer, Tom Holland, who wrote and directed both Child's Play and Fright Night. He manages to have characters speak their every thought so that no one in the audience gets confused by the complex plot. Somehow, these two goons managed to have careers after poisoning the Earth with this beast that is part inheritance scam, part home invasion, part T&A and part teen melodrama.
Before I go on I have to take a moment to call out former Led Zepper John Paul Jones on his score for Scream for Help. Clearly, Jones HATED this dang movie or used some pieces of music lying around his house to do this one. Nobody told the guy that it was 1984 and not 1974 when he composed his exaggerated diarrhea music. While some of his stingers work during the suspenseful scenes, the rest of Jone's music is so totally inappropriate for this flick that it's comical. Don't believe me? Dig on the music for the bicycle chase:
Poor Rachael Kelly! While she looks oddly familiar, this is her last film role to date. And what a fine exit. She isn't the worst actress in the world but potty mouth Christie is unfathomably irritating and we even get her narrating the friggin' story. When Janey, her pregnant best friend (played by Sandra Clark) gets run over and killed, what does she do? SHE SLEEPS WITH THE DEAD CHICK'S BOYFRIEND! Talk about winning some points with the audience. One odd indication that something went terribly wrong is when they show Rachael Kelly's name in the credits, it appears next to an old bum living on a bench. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but that is just wrong.
Okay, the cast can only do so much damage. The fact is that Scream for Help feels like a really dirty TV movie. The violence is pretty intense but the home invasion aspect of the plot is ruined by poor plotting. There are a couple of ridiculously gratuitous nude scenes and a few unpleasant sex scenes. One of those is Christie losing her virginity to her dead friend's boyfriend and crying out in pain. It's funny because it is such a lousy and totally pointless scene but it's also funny because it is impossible not to hate Christie. Damn it, I'm harping on her again.
I hope that when a Michael Winner boxset comes out that instead of Death Wish, The Mechanic and Chato's Land being prominently featured, the whole set is just 12 copies of Scream for Help. This film should be remastered, restored in widescreen and even put on Blu-ray. In the audio commentary, I think I'd like to hear Micheal Winner, Tom Holland, John Paul Jones and the cast of the film (especially Rachael Kelly) expound upon and reminisce about what they were snorting, smoking or shooting up their veins while making this crap festival. Meanwhile, I'll be jumping up and down and hitting my head on the ceiling until I can forget that I ever watched Scream for Help.
"Fuck you, Josh Dealey!"