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Primal Scream (1987)

In the future, a private detective tries to stop a large corporation from mining an element whose side effects include igniting human flesh and destroying internal body parts.


William J. Murray


William J. Murray, Dan Smeddy (original screenplay)


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Credited cast:
Kenneth McGregor Kenneth McGregor ... Corby McHale
Sharon Mason Sharon Mason ... Samantha Keller
Julie Miller Julie Miller ... Caitlin Foster
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jenny Albert Jenny Albert ... Vice President Clarke
Stephen Caldwell Stephen Caldwell ... Olan Robert Foster
Stephen Emhe Stephen Emhe ... Barman
Edward N. Fallon Edward N. Fallon ... Dr. Charles Kesselman
Susan Farrell Susan Farrell ... Santhany
Ann Horne Foulkrod Ann Horne Foulkrod ... Paramedic
Peter Harp Peter Harp ... Traffic Controller
Ryn Hodes Ryn Hodes ... Lisa
Morton Hodge Morton Hodge ... Anton Kirar
Lon Hoffman Lon Hoffman ... Truck Driver
Gary Hollrah Gary Hollrah ... Bartender
Herb James Herb James ... Traffic Controller


In the future, a private detective tries to stop a large corporation from mining an element whose side effects include igniting human flesh and destroying internal body parts.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sci-Fi | Thriller


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Release Date:

29 September 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hellfire See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Mickey Shaughnessy's final film. He died prior to the film's release. See more »


Referenced in Best of the Worst: Our VHS Collection (2019) See more »

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User Reviews

In the line of doooteee!
29 August 2018 | by torrascotiaSee all my reviews

What an "unusual" movie.

This is probably not even a B movie but a C movie.

Its plot seems to be something about a policeman investigating an alien substance which can turn people into charcoal in seconds. It seems to be set in the future and is an odd mix of sci-fi, horror and detective story. Sound good but its not. It would probably have made a great graphic novel. That is as much as I could understand as the plot is very confusing. As is the acting.

The acting is some of the worst I have ever seen, almost every actor involved seems to experience episodic brain freeze as they forget their lines mid sentence and......then remember but not without it being obvious its a fluffed take. There seems to be quite a few cuts which made the movie where actors make mistakes but somehow they made the edit. There are also scenes where actors seem to jump position, maybe because they have stopped and started filming but didn't manage to reset correctly.

Surprisingly some of the special effects look quite good, the death scenes of the alien substance are actually not bad, but the spaceships and other gore scenes are quite poor in comparison. The fight scenes are terrible though with some pretty strange fight noises going on. It seems to haven been an ambitious production, very ambitious based on the tiny budget spent.

The soundtrack is basically one man or woman? and their Casio keyboard apart from the one actual song about the line of doooteee at the end credits. If you make it this far you are a man my son.

The dialogue is hard to follow and even care about as are many of the characters. You may struggle to know who is who, what they are or do they even matter.

The main character Corby is played as if he is a private detective, complete with monologues and haunting saxophone while he moans about his life. Even though women seem to be throwing themselves at him everywhere he goes.

I could only recommend this kind of movie if you enjoy bad movies when you are drunk to enjoy picking holes in them. The poster is by far the best thing about this.

Watching this is not a constructive use of your time on this planet.

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