England, 1795: the young Catherine has just married Charles Fengriffen and moves into his castle. She becomes the victim of an old curse that lays on the family. On her wedding night she is raped by a ghost and gets pregnant.
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In 1795, in England, the young woman Catherine moves to the house of her fiancé Charles Fengriffen in the country to get married with him. When she arrives, she feels interest in the portraits of the Fengriffen family, particularly in the one of Charle's grandfather Henry Fengriffen, which seems to have a sort of evil entity possessing it. While admiring Henry's face, a severed hand attacks Catherine through the picture on the wall. Later, she gets married with Charles, beginning her journey of mystery, eerie apparitions, secrets and deaths, and having her days filled with fear and the nights with horrors in a cursed family. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
-- And Now the Screaming Starts! Was an attempt by Amicus Productions to move away from the Portmantaeu movies that was their stock in trade, to make a horror movie of only one story. The reason is not to compete with Hammer Films, since there really was no rivalry between the two companies, but just to show that they could if they so chose to go that route as well. What is evident is that their inexperience in this department shows greatly, making the film an enjoyable misfire, if ultimately a frustrating experience.
Story is set in the late 18th century and newlyweds Charles and Catherine Fengriffen move into Charles' family estate. Almost immediately Catherine starts to have terrifying visions, even experiencing what she feels is definite contact with something not of the natural world. Is she going mad? Or is there something seriously malevolent lurking around the dark corridors of Fengriffen Mansion?
What follows is a number of fun and creepy horror sequences very poorly glued together by a minimalist back story and thin characterisations, the Amicus production team just hurtling as quick as possible to the next scene involving Stephanie Beacham being freaked out and screaming. And of course for us to observe her quite magnificent heaving bosom. On reflection it's a collage of more famous and better movies, so a portmanteau movie that's not actually a portmanteau movie!
The cast list features Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom and Patrick Magee. Cushing doesn't show up until late in the day, and as classy as he was as an actor, he is phoning it in here. Lom only appears in an extended cameo flashback, which is annoying since the character is deliciously warped, sort of what Emeric Belasco was for Legend of Hell House. While I'm still not sure what Magee's purpose in the film was? Seriously!
Beacham and Ian Ogilvy's new marriage just sort of sits there without rhyme or reason, interesting threads such as Cushing taking an interest in sexual relations with demons never get expanded upon, and really there's no big finale to crown the story; though skeleton abuse does hold some macabre enjoyment value. Yet in spite of all its problems, it's still a fun night in with the lights off. Beacham's bosom, severed limbs and a vengeful curse from the past ensure it's worth watching for sure. 6/10
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