Newlyweds Helen and Paul go to a backwoods cabin on vacation. When Paul goes back to the car for some cigarettes he's not given a chance to ponder the carcinogenic ramifications as an axe ...
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Herschell Gordon Lewis
Allison Louise Downe,
Lawrence J. Aberwood
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Newlyweds Helen and Paul go to a backwoods cabin on vacation. When Paul goes back to the car for some cigarettes he's not given a chance to ponder the carcinogenic ramifications as an axe blade makes the point moot. Panic stricken, Helen runs into the woods, only to find Odie Pickett as her only savior. He takes her back to his place, where pregnant wife Emmy, thick-as-a-brick son Bo, and available-since-she-was-twelve daughter Sarah, do their best to give her a "family" welcome. While Helen's immediate danger is somewhat delayed, her newfound shelter begins showing some signs of danger as well. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
If anyone knows me, they know that I am a huge fan of the low-budget chiller "Don't Look in the Basement!", a highly underrated early 70s classic. My review for that film is one of the few positive reviews for it, read it and you'll see why. I researched extensively the works of director S.F. Brownrigg and especially the work of his amazingly talented cast. I discovered that Brownrigg used many of the same cast members in his other movies, so I jumped at the chance to find this film and several others.
While "Scum of the Earth" does not in any way challenge "Basement!" scare-wise, it does feature excellent acting, sleazy atmosphere, and a grat storyline with many surprises. It was originally released in 1974, then re-titled in 1976 as "Poor White Trash II" and made more money than when it was originally released! Such a shame it has been neglected for such a long time because of its title.
Camilla Carr, Gene Ross, and Hugh Feagin return from "Basement!" and all are excellent; Feagin is a lot better than his Sgt. Jaffee in the previous film. Carr easily steals the show; she was great as Harryette, the baby-obsessed murderess in "Basement!" and is better here as the white trash daughter of Gene Ross' drunk farmer. Ross was superb as Judge Cameron in "Basement!" and is just as good here. Brownrigg certainly knows how to build atmosphere with his low-budget potboilers. "Basement!" has a claustrophobic atmosphere with an overlying aura of madness; "Scum" has an isolated atmosphere with an overlying aura of filth. The setting is inside Texas backwoods and is just filthy; every scene in the house hints at humidity, sloth, and bad smells.
Added to Brownrigg's familiar cast are Norma Moore as the heroine in peril, Ann Stafford as Emmy, Ross' abused wife, and Charlie Dell as Bo, the idiot son of the family. Well, Moore isn't any Rosie Holotik, but does well in her earlier scenes, only to slide into overacting heaven by the end of the film. Stafford is superb, the ultimate burdened Southern wife! Dell does well, too, bringing much sympathy from the audience for his sorry state, hated by his father and sister and pitied by his mother. Another note: Brownrigg uses some music from "Basement!" and the theme song, "Death is a Final Affair", is excellent! Ultimately, "Scum of the Earth" is a movie that must be seen to be appreciated. No review can do it justice, just as no review can do "Don't Look in the Basement!" justice. You can only find it under the false title of "Poor White Trash Part II", but I hope that someone re-releases this on video in a clean print with the original title.
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