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Something of a lost gem
rocknrelics8 February 2008
Whilst far from perfect, this is a very good anthology of horror stories.

There is very little gore, but the stories build up a good atmosphere, and the acting is always of at least an acceptable level, and in the cases of Robin Bailey,Jean Anderson and Dora Bryan, it is actually quite excellent.

In the middle story involving people moving into a house, I actually felt quite creeped out, something that hasn't happened for years to me.

I would love to know the story as to how three short English tales ended up juxtaposed with the wrap around story of thieves stealing the tapes from a store, but whatever, it doesn't detract from the stories themselves.

The copy I have seen has washed out colours which somehow added to the bleakness, and this is shot on film it would appear, doesn't look cheap and nasty at all.

If you are a fan of brit horror, you must see this it's definitely a bit of a lost gem as far as I'm concerned.
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Otacon1018 July 1999
"Screamtime" is one of those anthology films, like "Creepshow," and while it's not as good as the George A. Romero classic, it's effective.

The plot is about two guys who steal three videos from a video store. They go back to one of their girlfriend's apartment to watch them.

The first video is about a "Punch and Judy" puppeteer whose family wants him to get out of the puppeteering business since it doesn't make much money for the family. Then his stepson burns down his puppet show stage and soon after is murdered on the beach, seemingly by the Mr. Punch puppet. Then later at his house his wife is also murdered. Has Mr. Punch come to life, or is someone else to blame?

The second video is about a married couple moving into a new house. The wife begins to see grisly visions of a murder that seems to have been committed there. But is the house really haunted?

The third video is about a guy who competes in dirtbike races, but needs some money. So he gets a job working odd jobs at the house of two elderly women. They tell him about the fairies that guard the house and the garden gnomes that work for them. He dismisses what they say, but takes an interest in the money, gold, jewels, and other valuables around the house. So he gets two of his friends to help him rob the place that night. But the fairies and garden gnomes really are alive and attack the intruders.

Finally, the video tape thieves and one of their girlfriends get attacked by elements of the three videos they stole.

If you give this low budget movie a chance you may be pleasantly surprised by it. The three films were shot in England with the connecting device about the video tape thieves shot in New York City. The puppets in the first video are creepy looking. The ending of the second video will shock you. The third movie gets a little spooky in the dark house; tiny floating lights fly by the camera unseen by the burglars, a room is suddenly full of garden gnomes, etc. This movie is perfect for horror movie connoisseur.
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Worthwhile anthology
Cujo10829 July 2010
Two guys steal some tapes from a rental store and stop by a female acquaintance's place to watch them. The first one, involving a loser puppeteer, is pretty stupid. The second one has a couple moving into a new home. The wife begins seeing things that lead her to believe the place is haunted. This segment is a good one. There's one effective shock about midway through it, as well as a terrific ending that took me by surprise. The third and final tale finds a biker working for two rich old women who say their house is watched over by fairies. Naturally, he figures they're just senile and decides to rob the place. This story was quite fun, though it felt like the shortest of the three. Of course, the weak opener seemed to be the longest. Most anthologies do have at least one stinker, but it's worth seeing for the second and third bits, especially the second. The wrap-around is amusing as well.
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Suprisingly good
Blondie_26 October 2001
My brother and I rented this years ago. From the picture on the video box, we thought it was a ral bad, cheap thrills slasher film. Instead it turned out to be a suprisingly good anthology of British horror stories. Good british horror, very creepy and scary without being gory or violent, kind of 'quiet horror'. "Punch and Judy" is only okay, but the other two stories will give you some serious chills! THe only complaint I have about this film is the story-within-a-story concept about the friends renting this video and watching it, and seriously regretting it at the end of the videos. That was unnecessary and stupid. Good luck finding this film, though, I think it is pretty rare.
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Worth Getting Released On DVD
starchildfan5 July 2005
As a teenager, my father and I would go to the local video store and rent a horror movie almost every week. After we got through all the flicks that we had at least heard of, we started on ones we never heard of. One of these flicks was "Screamtime." As stated, this film has three small stories in it. One was about a puppet that may or may not be killing people. This one is okay. The second story was about fairy's that protect this old ladies house and it was pretty dang good. The final one is the best though. It is about a family that moves into a house and the wife keeps seeing murded bodies that are not there. This one has a killer twist at the end that makes this movie worth finding and buying. You can normally get in on Ebay on VHS.
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80s anthology has its moments
FilmFatale9 November 2012
For some reason, three British short films were turned into an anthology with framing segments about two stereotypical Noo Yawkuhs who steal some videocassettes from a Times Square video store and hide out at a friend's apartment to watch them. I found this movie on some lists of 80s slashers, and I was pretty confused for a while about why. The first story is about a cuckolded husband, his mean loser stepson, his shrewish wife, and a killer puppet. The third story is about fairies. But the second story, "Dreamhouse" is pretty fantastic. Newlyweds move into a house and the wife starts seeing things. She even consults a psychic who assures her that there are no ghosts in the house. What the wife IS seeing is the twist of this segment, and it's pretty fun. I'm still not sure that I'd put this one on a list of slashers, but that second story makes it worth a watch.
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A Pleasant Diversion
BaronBl00d8 December 2001
Sometimes when you expect the get a nice, mild surprise. Something may turn out to not be as bad as you thought it would be. Such is the case with Screamtime. The video box depicts the film as being real cheap and bad, and the opening shots and credits do little to dismiss that impression. Two guys steal three videos and run to some girl's house. Almost instantaneously we are given a view of her naked breasts. Well, at this point you think you have a pretty good idea where the film is going. Then the punk kid/thief sticks a video in the VCR and we start to watch a story about an English puppeteer who lives a life with a wife and stepson who don't love or understand him. They want him to burn his puppets, give up what he has spent his life doing, and move to Canada. The story is nothing like the wrap-around story. It is well-directed, has some decent performances, and even some thoughtful story-telling. The script is not great, but the story is entertaining. Robin Bailey does a real nice job as Jack, the man behind an evil looking Punch and Judy. The story ends, having generated some pretty good jumps and at least some suspense. Back to the the story of the thieves. The footage of them seems like it was shot by some high school amateurs. Then another story. The second story out-classes the rest for it tells a story of a woman and man who just moved into a big house. She begins to see things. The pacing is a bit slow, but the climax is more than ample reward for that small discrepancy. I really was quite surprised by the ending of the story and very pleased with the whole story overall. It was extremely well-executed in terms of direction and performance. Back to the stupid clods again and then on to the third story about a young man and his buddies out to rob two old women who say they live amongst fairies and gnomes. The story is pretty good and the two old ladies are wonderfully played by Dora Bryan and Jean Anderson. The special effects in this story are somewhat lacking. The third story ends and then we see how the wrap-around story ends. It is a ridiculous ending to a whole ridiculous scheme. The film may have faired better if they had someone just host the three stories and introduce them like in Thriller. It certainly would not have hurt. At any rate don't pass this one up if you like some good old British anthology horror story-telling. The stories are very interesting. I can only think that somehow someone made these three stories in England and could not find a "real" distributor and ended up selling them to some fifth-rate film operation.
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SCREAMTIME is an amazing little horror anthology gem
mtgrant18 May 2007
I went into watching this with zero expectations and came out really surprised. I love anthology style horror films and have been searching for the best ones for a long time. My personal favorites include Creepshow, Cat's Eye, Tales from the Darkside, Asylum, Tales from the Crypt, Nightmares, The Willies, etc.. This movie manages to be funny and pointless in some parts and really scary in other parts. The wraparound story is so weird that you can't help but laugh at it. I think the scariest story is the second one about the couple moving into the old house. The way they built suspense and atmosphere was excellent and the end was a pleasant surprise as well. The first story wasn't very original but it was fun none the less. The third story was just plain bizarre but was by far the most original and creative out of the three tales. Overall I really recommend a late night viewing of this to anthology film fans. I think a DVD release would get this film the credit it deserves.
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Screamtime is something a little different from the rest
electricrat6629 March 2019
This is a great little film that I have loved since the first time I rented it back in the late 80's. There is no real gore to speak of, but it is a collection of imaginative short stories that have that "tell a spooky story around a campfire" feel. From the man with the puppets to the woman who thinks her house is haunted, this film leaves an impression on you, and you're not likely to forget the tales it tells. Years later you'll be wishing to see one or all of them again. It's so rare, it's hardly seen on any service, online or otherwise which leads me to ask the question - WHERE IS THE DVD/BLU RAY? All regions, please! I would buy it the second it came out. Surely some studio can pick this up and give true fans of this film what they have been wanting FOR YEARS. This film should be enjoyed by all and it's sad that it seems to have been all but forgotten. 10/10
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"Nothing to be afraid of, you know."
Backlash0073 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers

Screamtime is one of the more unusual anthologies that I've seen. The wraparound story involves some guys stealing VHS tapes from from the video store and what they steal are the stories we get to watch. So it's one of those "movie within a movie" deals. I just wish they had stolen better videos. The first story is that of an aging puppeteer who's a little too "attached" to his dolls. Bad pun, but the Cryptkeeper in me couldn't help it. It's kind of bland, but you want the old man to have his revenge. At least I did. The second story is the most memorable, although it may not seem so at first. It seems like your run-of-the-mill haunted house story and the clichés are running amok. A husband and wife move into a new house that was extraordinarily cheap and the wife begins to see strange things. Like I said, your usual ghost story. But stick with it. Turns out she's predicting the future, not seeing the past. I couldn't help but spoil it, I thought the twist was rather neat. The final story is almost not worth mentioning, unless, that is, you have a phobia of yard gnomes. If that's the case, you are going to be seriously freaked out. In the end, the various killers from the stories come out of the TV to eliminate our group of delinquents. I think the moral here is to stop piracy at once! Don't say I didn't warn you when giant yard gnomes come out of your computer.
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pretty decent horror anthology w/ some spooky and clever points in it
FieCrier21 November 2004
This was a decent horror anthology movie. Two New Yorkers steal some videos from a video store, and take them to a female friend's apartment to watch.

In the first one, an old man loves doing Punch & Judy shows for kids, and takes meticulous care of his puppets at home. His wife is fed up with it; they don't make enough money, and she wants him to burn them and move with his stepson to Canada for reliable work. We then see his family being attacked by a wooden board. Has Punch come to life, or has the old man gone nuts? This one wasn't all that good, but it wasn't terrible.

In the second one, a couple move into a house their father was unable to sell. The wife sees a boy bicycling in the yard that no one else notices. She hears noises, and sees blood in the bathtub, then on a knife in the kitchen, then on the bannister. She starts seeing other people in the house, and then starts seeing those people bloody or dead. This one was quite a bit better.

In the last segment, a young man races motorcycles, and works at a clothing store. He needs more money, which his boss offers to loan him. He takes a job gardening for a pair of old ladies to make the money he needs to pay his boss back. They're quite eccentric, believing in fairies and gnomes, and a pact their 16th century ancestor had with the fairies to help conceal her affairs from her husband. The young man discovers the old ladies have a chest full of money, and he decides to rob them with the help of his younger brother and a friend. This one was pretty good too.

Finally, the wraparound segment brings everything together.
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Great little anthology flick!
udar5514 November 2008
Two guys steal some VHS tapes (big box!!!) from an early 80s 42nd Street video store (they do a walk by a theater showing TABOO II with great flair) and head to a girlfriend's house to watch them. How is that for a wrap around segment? The first section deals with a Punch & Judy puppeteer who has to deal with his nagging wife and disobedient son. When they decide to split, ol' Punch comes alive to enact revenge for his master. The second segment highlights a young couple who move into a new house, where the wife begins having visions of a murder that may have happened there. The is the best of the series and features an excellent ending. The final segment is about a broke biker who takes a job tending the garden for some old ladies who insist it is guarded by fairies. Kinda blah with this last one. Back in NYC, our petty criminals finish the flicks and get their just desserts.

A pretty good British anthology-by-force with three random short films strung together with a NYC lensed wrap around. The film proper lists one Al Beresford as the director here, but the IMDb reveals that is a pseudonym for Brit helmers Stanley Long and Michael Armstong, who both a have a history in the softcore UK sex comedy scene. Anyone know this history of these shorts in the UK? And who added on the NYC wrap around (which works in the requisite nudity and captures early 80s NY well)? I would definitely recommend this for the first two segments, which are quite well done.
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Puppets, haunted houses, gnomes, faeries and Peter Cushing doppelgangers!
Coventry26 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Totally obscure and low-keyed British horror anthology that certainly holds a few frights in store and at least doesn't outstay its welcome, but in the end clearly isn't strong enough to compete with – say – the Amicus omnibuses. Not that it ever at one point ambitioned to compete with the great ones, but still. I really liked how simplistic and unpretentious the whole thing was. Both the wraparound story as the three separate tales are thoroughly unspectacular and not highly memorable, but surely they entertain during the moment. Two young thugs steal a couple of videocassettes from a store and go over to the really yummy sister of one of them to watch. There's the wraparound story for you! Impressive, isn't it? The first segment is about an elderly puppeteer who's confronted with his family's increasing hatred regarding his profession. The wife wants to leave him and his delinquent stepson and his thug friends occasionally come around to vandalize his cute little street theater. After yet another aggressive outburst of the sun, the seemingly harmless puppets decide to fight back… The denouement of this story is predictable and derivative, but you won't mind too much, as it's fast-paced and boosts a blood-soaked climax. They old guy playing the puppeteer is great and both his looks and acting methods make him look like the mirror image of Peter Cushing. I presume the producers specifically searched for a look-alike when the price tag of the real Cushing was too expensive. The second segment superficially looks like a standard haunted-house story, but comes up with an admirably imaginative twist at the end. A newlywed couple moves into an old large mansion and almost immediately the girl – Susan – suffers from ghostly visions. They're harmless at first, like the reoccurring sight of a boy cycling in the garden, but soon enough the visions become nightmarish, like bloodied knives in the sink and murdered people in the bathtub. Is the house really possessed with ghosts from the past? Is Susan crazy or perhaps a psychic medium? The largest part of this chapter is repetitive and dull, but the nifty climax compensates for quite a lot. Some really cool gory bits to admire here, too. The third and final segment has a wicked little premise as well: a young biker in desperate need of money accepts the job of gardener in the house of two elderly and seemingly senile ladies and immediately notices the valuable silverware and art in the house. He returns at night with a few friends to rob the place, but perhaps he should have paid closer attention to the ladies' stories of loyal gnomes and faeries that stand guard over the house and constantly look for fresh souls to recruit as slaves. There's a nice bit of morbid atmosphere in the closing chapter as well as a delightfully British sense of dark humor. Overall, "Screamtime" is good enough fun and definitely recommended if you happen to come across it.
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Hey Kids, What Time is It?
the duck14 November 2003
"Do you believe in fairies?" the elderly woman in the television set queried. If you now what's good for you, Jeff (or Jeff-ette), you will after taking a gander at this videotape-within-a-videotape-within-a-videotape-within-a-videotape (unless you own the DVD edition.) The movie does not star so much as feature a cast of actors put to the test as they watch video after video after video, and we watch them watching. Then they die (9 out of 10 viewers of Screamtime did not die after watching it, and those who did died of natural causes.) The phrase, "you get what you pay for," is given new meaning as two hooligans steal three videos (thus not "paying for" them), and are then murdered by them, fortunately after viewing them all the way through. These hepcats probably weren't even kind enough to rewind. At least there were no late charges, just late patrons.

As in dead!!!
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A triumvirate of terror
Afracious11 January 2000
Warning: Spoilers
This is an anthology of three tales in the same vein of Creepshow, Torture Garden etc, set in England and starring some known English TV actors like Robin Bailey and Dora Bryan. It begins in New York City with two hoodlums visiting a video store and stealing some video tapes. When they get home they watch each one, which tells its own story. The first one, Punch and Judy, is about a puppeteer with seemingly lifelike puppets. The second stanza is the best one, a family move into an old house and start to see strange visions. The ending of this one is surprising and effective. The last one has a guy visiting two old ladies who want him to do some odd jobs. What he tries to do is burgle them, but the garden gnomes have other ideas. I have not seen this film for a long time but the middle story stayed with me for a while. It is a bit of a sleeper and hard to find, but check it out.
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A real scream
videorama-759-85939128 December 2016
Screamtime, you'll have one hell of a time, let me tell ya. This is one of those better British horrors, very suspenseful and unnerving with it's three stories, each carrying a creepy aura, or attribute, plus some real shocks. The first one involves a two bid, failing puppeteer, played by fine actor, Bailey, (the performer who shines out, among the others in this flick) who loves his puppets more than anything else, it's almost sickening. The next one, the best, involves a woman, who's seeing some pretty gruesome images, some involving child murder, plus a boy who's constantly circle cyling in the front yard. The husband, a Barry Evans, looking, even talking type, becomes concerned. Is she going mad? The third one, that doesn't carry as much weight as the others, though is genuinely creepy, (knome's have never been scarier) with quite a strange offering at the end, involves two brothers, robbing a rich woman's house, where like the two guys who steal these movies, pay dearly. This fine, fashioned horror has some quite gruesome moments, but it's a very polished effort, plus good acting too. Vincent Russo must be related to James Russo. Can anyone clear that up for me.
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"I wanna see some movies".
lost-in-limbo1 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Somewhat of a forgotten 80s (even though it felt like it was something out of the 70s than say the 80s) anthology feature, this low-budget British horror flick might not be anything remotely memorable but the three stories along with the wraparound tale are just so oddball, sedate, raw and fairly unpleasant that it's an magnetic viewing with a wicked sense of humour. From each story it moves on to, it gets better. Ed and Bruce are two young adults who decide to steal three video tapes from a New York video store (oh seeing a video store like this one brought back memories). The two then head to Ed's ex-girlfriend's apartment to watch these horror movies. So put in the first tape. The first tale follows that of an elderly puppeteer you must choose between his new family and that of his life's work presenting Punch & Judy shows for kids. What starts off as basic family dramas (a delinquent step-son and selfishly clueless wife) with some brooding psychological tension and dreary atmospherics, transcends in to complete daftness and predictability as the deaths pile up (which are maliciously portrayed) and the revelation goes over-the-top. It can get laughable, especially the attack scenes involving a puppet and a wooden plank with frenetic camera-work, but those moments are also mean-spirited and it moves by fairly quickly. The performances are quite amateurish, but Robin Bailey is fitting enough in the lead role. Hit eject. Time for another movie. The second entry about a young newlywed couple moving in to an old house seems like its going to be your typical cut-and-dry haunted house arch and while that is so with the constant noises at night, baffling visions plaguing one character's mind and no one believing the poor lady caught in the middle of it all. Is it haunted, a second sight or is she losing her mind? However some of the jolts can be jarring with its unsparing imagery and the final twist is so effective in its ironic twist of fate that it changes what you might have originally thought. I know it did on me. Sometimes the steady pacing might lull about with its monotonous actions and it's pretty straight-laced compared to the other stories, but the performances are considerably solid (especially Yvonne Nicholson with her neurotic turn) and the score is unnervingly bombastic in its cues. Strangely this one felt like the odd one. Now we are down to our final tape. The third and most creative, if interesting story. Is a whimsically wicked little horror tale with a fairytale like quality. A young motocross rider is in need of some cash so he can continue to compete in his beloved sport, takes up an offer as gardener in the house of two elderly ladies who like to talk about stories involving gnomes and fairies. There he also notices that they are considerably well-off. So one night he returns with his brother and friend to rob the place, but it turns out those stories are maybe more than just stories. Rather playful, after a slow beginning. But when it kicks into gear there are some entertaining sequences involving a midget dressed up a gnome, a treasure chest of gold, zombies popping out of the ground and a beautiful, but deadly fairy (Kim Thomson). So finally it coming to the credits, time for the wraparound to close things up and it's humorously macabre in doing so too. This is much better than those pirating ads you see before the main feature begins. For while it lasted, "Screamtime" was an amusingly twisted anthology that finishes on a screamer.

"Do you believe in fairies?"
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worthy of watching for the second short story
movieman_kev3 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Two hoodlums steal a few short videotapes from the local mom & pop video store and go back to one of their female friend's apartment to watch them. After surprisingly minimal amount of protesting from the girl who claims to have a hot date, they all settle in to watch some movies.

The first, about a bullied puppeteer, is easily the worst of the bunch, the acting is all right, but the story is pretty uninspired, however if you can make it through this dull segment, you should be good to go as the following two stories are markable better. The second about a haunted house is less original than the first story but it's helped along by some good acting and a few effective scares. The third and final tale revolving around old ladies and mystical creatures is a throwaway but i got some enjoyment out of it. All in all this film is not amongst the better horror anthologies by a long shot, but you could do worse. The "Dreamhouse" segment makes the film worthy of a view alone.

Eye Candy: Marie Scinto gets topless
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Good old 80's at its best.
clairebaby197723 October 2007
I watched this film when i was about 14 and spent the next decade hunting for it after it became deleted, i recently came across it and watching it now i can appreciate it in its silly 80's glory! Bad acting, a jump from an American start where two guys steal some videos from a video shop and then hide away in a female friends flat to watch them. For some unknown reason all the films they watch are British and star some familiar faces of the time. All three short films have a kind of twilight zone type feeling to them, the grainy 80's backdrop for me made it more eerie than the typical horror you see these days, of all the short films it was the second one 'Dreamhouse' that got me...a woman seeing horrific images of people being slaughtered before her eyes in her new home, even going as far as calling in a medium, her husband thinks shes crazy and it has a very intense bloody climax that had me grossed out as a 14 year old but not so much as a 30 year old! Over all its a typically poor film, hence why it was possibly deleted, but maybe for a fan of the older stuff, or Hammer house of horror, this may be worth a watch.
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feev26 March 2019
For an 80's semi horror movie, I loved it. Kept my attention thru all 3 stories. I found it on the EPIX free movie database.
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A Mixed Bag of An Anthology
mamaeileencrawford26 March 2019
Screamtime, like most horror anthologies, tends to have more lousy stories than good ones. In this case, it only really has one that's any good. In fact, this story is so wonderful that it just makes the other stories look even worse by comparison (and they weren't looking so hot to begin with).

If you're going to check out this movie, it's probably a good idea to fast forward to the 2nd story and then turn it off once it ends. The 2nd story deals with a young couple who have just moved into a new house and the wife is haunted by strange, disturbing visions of murder and mayhem. Could their house be haunted? Is she going insane? Or is it something else entirely?

This is a well shot, well acted, and incredibly well paced little chiller and reason enough to check this movie out.
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*1/2 out of 4.
brandonsites19816 June 2003
Mildly entertaining thriller about some kids who steal video tapes and end up watching three tales of terror. The stories have some good ideas, but the low budget and not so great production values stop it from being what it could have been. Still there is some entertainment value to this film. Rated R.
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That's the way to do it!
BA_Harrison15 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Two light-fingered movie fans pilfer some horror videocassettes from a Times Square video store and take them to a female friend's apartment to watch. After the films have finished, they fall prey to one of the movie's deadly characters that has mysteriously come to life.

I suspect that the New York wraparound story to this British horror anthology was added as an afterthought to make the movie more marketable in the States. A shame, because it's the only weak part of an otherwise very enjoyable compendium from Michael Armstrong, director of the infamous nasty 'Mark of the Devil', and Stanley Long, the man responsible for the saucy 'Adventures of…' series.

Tale one of three, 'That's The Way To Do It', stars Robin Bailey as ageing Punch and Judy man Jack, whose puppets take priority over his exasperated wife and angry teenage stepson Damien (Jonathon Morris). After Damien sets fire to Jack's puppet booth, a very upset Mr. Punch goes on a killing spree armed with his trusty piece of 2x4. An excellent way to start things going, this story benefits from solid performances and a very creepy puppet that repeatedly screams its nasal catchphrase while it bashes its victims to death.

Story number two is 'Dreamhouse', an excellent little supernatural chiller which creates a genuinely tense atmosphere and delivers an ingenious twist at the end. Yvonne Nicholson plays Susan, who moves into a new home with her husband Tony (Ian Saynor), where she experiences a series of bloody visions that make her believe that the house is haunted. The truth, however, is far more horrifying.

Last up is 'Do You Believe In Fairies?', which sees hard-up motorcyclist Gavin take a part-time job as handyman at a house owned by two apparently senile old women who believe that there are fairies living at the end of their garden. Gavin pays little attention to their silly stories, being more interested in where the old dears stash their money. With a little help from a pair of unscrupulous pals, Gavin breaks into the house at night, only to discover that the owners' fanciful tales are actually true, and that the little people aren't happy about their uninvited guests.

Ignoring the obviously tacked on bookend segments, this mostly forgotten UK horror obscurity is a consistently entertaining effort, one that really deserves a wider audience (a proper release on DVD might help—someone needs to get on to this ASAP!).
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A Compilation... From West Germany?
gavin69425 October 2012
Compilation of three short horror films: "That's The Way To Do It", "Dreamhouse" and "Do You Believe In Fairies?" plus some linking material...

Part one features a puppeteer who simply is not appreciated by his family -- they think his love of Punch and Judy is just silly. Well, that sort of attitude is not going to stand, and they begin being killed. But who is the killer? The puppeteer or the scorned puppets themselves? This section is pretty much your standard fare. Not necessarily great, but 1980s slasher fans should enjoy it enough.

Part two features a couple who have moved into their "dream home", but it is not quite finished yet. The wife begins seeing blood in the bath tub, hears rats in the attic, and other strange things. Is she crazy, or is the house really haunted (or worse)? This section more or less revolves around jump scares (technically called "bus" scares), so if you like sudden images mixed with a loud noise, this is for you. It actually gets grislier as it progresses if you like that...

Part three features a dirt bike rider who needs some extra money, so takes up work in a group of old women's garden. They warn him to respect the fairies and garden gnomes... and he does not take them quite as seriously as he should. This one has all the makings of a "Tales From the Crypt" episode, and I am kind of surprised they did not rip off the idea (or maybe they did).
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Not bad, not great but not bad.
poolandrews27 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Screamtime starts in New York as two friends Ed (Vincent Russo) & Bruce (Michael Gordon) steal some videotapes from a shop, heading back to an apartment to watch them the tapes turn out to be horror films...

First up is 'That's the Way to do it' in which an ageing puppeteer named Jack (Robin Bailey) gets grief from all sides of his family & when his wife & stepson want him ti burn his cherished Punch & Judy puppets people start turning up dead...

Then it's 'Dreamhouse' in which young married couple Tony (Ian Saynor) & Susan (Yvonne Nicholson) move into a new house, immediately Susan starts to see violent visions & hear strange noises but Tony thinks she is having a nervous breakdown...

Finally it's 'Garden of Blood' sees a broke teenager named Gavin (David Van Day) decide to rob the house of a pair of rich elderly sisters but hadn't counted on their stories of Fairies being true...

This English production was apparently directed by Stanley A.Long & Michael Armstrong under the pseudonym Al Beresford with Long credited as a producer too & Armstrong credited with the screenplay & casting, the British horror anthology had been very popular with the likes of Dead of Night (1945), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), The Vault of Horror (1974), From Beyond the Grave (1974) & The Monster Club (1981) to name but a few & one has to say that Screamtime tries to recreate that golden era with mixed success. The linking wraparound story looks to have been filmed by someone totally different & is at odds with the rest of the film in tone & style & I assume is there to add a bit of American-ness to it. The three stories are fairly solid but the low budget & obvious lack of resources don't help. From killer puppets to terrifying visions to killer Garden Gnomes one has to say that the makers tried & the stories could have been better with more money spent on them, they all take place largely in the same location with minimal special effects. At just under 90 minutes each story runs about 25 minutes long & I would probably say that the second story Dreamhouse is the best with a neat twist ending & was considered good enough for a full length feature film remake Psychosis (2010) which is also quite good. These anthology horror films can be great but rely on striking twist endings which is where Screamtime falls down a bit, while Dreamhouse is impressive, unexpected & memorable the other two are a little tame & predictable.

The production values are alright if cheap looking, the special effects vary with the living Garden Gnome surely one of the silliest things I've seen in a while. A little rough around the edges technically how can that kid set the Punch & Judy show on fire with an unlit electric lamp?! Some of the acting & death scenes are also poor with the Garden Gnome strangling a guy coming across as really camp & the shots earlier where row's of Garden Gnomes scare the geezer is hard to take seriously. There's a bit of gore, there's some blood splatter in the first story, some gory stabbings including a cool slit throat in the second & not much of anything during the third story. The stories do have a certain grimy low budget atmosphere that I liked, a sort of sleazy vibe to them that appealed.

Filmed here in the UK & in New York. The acting varies, some of it is quite good while at other times it's awful. Jonathon Morris who played Damien is probably best know for played Adrian in the sitcom Bread (1986-1991), Kim Thompson who plays Lady Anne has since found fame in the UK appearing in over 200 episodes of Emmerdale while David Van Day was one half of 80's pop group Dollar.

Screamtime is fairly enjoyable for what it is, the three stories vary in quality but they are all decent enough & they all have their own moments whether it's creepiness or silliness or gore. I can't say Screamtime is brilliant but it's a worthwhile watch especially if your a fan of horror anthologies.
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