Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Scream and Scream Again on Sky Classics

12.10am, Thursday, 2 July, Sky Classics (Sky 308, Virgin 408)

Over the years this sci-fi/horror/thriller mish-mash has aged surprisingly well. Seemingly unconnected plots, as though three films have been tacked together, actually make it look avant-garde in today's MTV cut-and-paste generation.

Basically, the plot goes like this… An Eastern European country has kidnapped a British airman. They want to return him on condition that an investigation into the so-called Vampire Murders is closed. What transpires is that a group of scientists have created composite people, and are planning to put them into positions of authority. Unfortunately one runs amok, putting the whole plan at risk.

Vincent gets top billing as the mysterious Dr Browning, but is really quite ineffectual – only popping up at the end for the grisly acid bath scene. Cushing has a tiny role as a General complaining about torture, only to get the death grip. And Lee has the choice role of a top British government officer who has to clear up the mess.

But this really is Alfred Marks’ film. As the crotchety Detective Inspector in charge of the murder investigation, Marks is brilliant. What's more, he improvised alot of his lines. "Smells like cheese, looks like ham... I was close – it's chicken. This chicken wasn't killed – it died of old age." Hilarious!

Scream and Scream Again is a visually stunning film. On the big screen, the car chase scene literally puts you in the driver’s seat, while the quarry chase scene would give Health and Safety officials a heart-attack. Luckily, the Amen Corner's eponymous theme tune is restored, making this British classic one to watch – again and again...