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You can read about the plot here on IMDb so I'll skip that part.
In creating this microbudget horror film, director/writer/producer/effects guy/shoe shiner/you-name-it Jeff Leroy did a number of unusual things, things that I normally don't see in the genre. And I know, because I've subjected myself to an inordinate amount of microbudget junk in the past few years. I might have two brain cells left. There is way too much microbudget horror crap made, but it's only made because there are people like me who are trying to see every horror film ever created at least once, so if someone will create it, we'll watch it.
Anyway, here's a list of the unusual qualities that Leroy gave The Screaming:
1. The most important one: you can tell that he actually cared about making a good/entertaining film. This point is frequently overlooked in microbudget horror because it seems that a lot of people enter the game only hoping to make a quick buck. They figure that horror is easy to make, because there's a misconception that all horror, in general, is crap compared to other films, and they know about rabid genre fans like me. So most of this stuff isn't made for any love of horror, film, or the arts in general. But Leroy conveys that he isn't in this for just a quick buck. The points below all evidence in more detail how Leroy showed this.
2. Leroy made sure that the script told a story and was coherent. This is (almost unbelievably) rare in the microbudget horror genre.
3. Leroy displayed a lot of skill (relative to others in this genre, at least) in setting up shots, editing and so on.
4. Although this isn't exactly a horror comedy, and isn't really campy, it's also not overly serious or self-important either. You can tell, for example, that Leroy knew that his main Play-Doh creature looked a bit ridiculous. But he didn't go for easy laughs, and neither did he adopt a pretentious attitude that he was creating a revolutionary literary work with a profound, unprecedented statement to make. Both approaches are found far too often in microbudget horror, with the "this is serious, mind-blowing stuff with deep literary value" attitude more prevalent and more intolerable as a viewer. Microbudget films are going to be cheap, by definition, and very unlikely works of genius. Filmmakers should embrace that fact. Leroy did.
5. Leroy hired a remarkably capable cast. He also featured two extremely beautiful women (one who somewhat resembles a younger Joan Cusack--I always had a thing for her), making many scenes even more pleasant to watch.
Sure, The Screaming is no gem, and it's not even one of the best microbudget horror films. There are still plenty of plot holes and bad decisions. Additionally, the transfer that I watched (from Brentwood/BCI Eclipse's Spawn of the Devil 4-film DVD set) had a horrible, quick, triple echo on everything--it sounded like it was being played over the P.A. system in an empty hockey arena, making it almost unwatchable (if Leroy was responsible for this instead of Brentwood, I should subtract at least another point). But in the context of this often-loathed (and rightfully so to a large extent) genre, this is a decent, entertaining film.
This digital horror film brings us into the Micro-budget film genre where the more blood and chicks in distress the better. The story is weak, the acting is respectable and the special effects, well, they're special alright. A quality horror film for the fans that already know what to expect.
THE SCREAMING is a very low budget horror movie that was shot on video. It features passable acting, poor lighting, a weak story, and some of the worst monster effects I've ever seen. The plot has a college student being pressured to join a cult by his attractive landlord. The cult is a parody of Scientology with a book similar to Dianetics. This would have been a funny shot at that group were it not for a dumb script and the cheapness of the production. The monster effects look awful and the picture quality makes it feel like you're watching a home video or a public-service announcement. I think anyone who sees this will agree that movies should be shot on film.
Jeff Leroy wanted to makes fun of Scientology so built a horror movie around a cult similar to it. The twist is that instead of frail old L. Ron Hubbard as the cult leader, there's a centuries old space monster who turns his followers into vampires. Our hero is a dirty living college student who is doing research into the occult. His landlord is an attractive blonde who tries to get him to clean up his life with the help of the cult. It doesn't take him long to figure out that she's only after one thing: his blood. "The Screaming" was shot very cheaply on video and I just plain ugly. The space monster (which looks like a giant winged cat that looks perpetually mad and has no skin) is alternately a clay-mation miniature and a large scale animatronics puppet, both of which look awful. The acting and writing are both terrible and the director doesn't even try to disguise the fact that this movie was made for nothing. Avoid this non-scary, pitiful little excuse.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
THE SCREAMING is less an indie horror flick and more of an open spoof of the Church of Scientology and its methods, despite what the closing credits would assure you. It's one of those one-man-band films in which the same guy does all of the technical stuff, and it's filmed on a single location for the most part. This shot-on-video epic is very dated and scuzzy-looking, and features a guy renting an apartment whose new and pretty neighbour is a religious nut. It's simply not very interesting.
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