Scream – and Die! – UK, 1973 – reviews

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Scream – and Die! – promoted as Scream and Die – is a 1973 British horror thriller feature film directed by Spanish filmmaker José Ramón Larraz [as Joseph Larraz] (SymptomsVampyres; Deadly Manor) from a screenplay by Derek Ford (Corruption; Don’t Open Till ChristmasThe Urge to Kill). The movie stars Andrea Allan, Karl Lanchbury, Maggie Walker and Peter Forbes-Robertson.

Blackwater Film Productions specialised in sex comedies and this was their only offering in the horror genre.

In 1977, the film was reissued in the UK by Variety Distributors as Psycho Sex Fiend.

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The BBFC cut the UK release for an ‘X’ certificate on  30th August 1973, although their website provides no details of the censorship.

In the United States, Hallmark Releasing distributed the film theatrically as The House That Vanished, and Please! Don’t Go in the Bedroom.

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Plot:

A model named Valerie and her petty thief boyfriend Terry witness a brutal murder in a backwoods manor. Terry then goes missing and when Valerie later attempts to find the house again it seems to have completely vanished.

Meanwhile, a sinister black-clad stranger moves into the flat below Valerie’s London home…

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Reviews:

“The film is filled with many telling visual motifs, including countless shots of people peering through windows and cameras that bring to mind Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). As a model, Valerie is constantly the subject of voyeurism from the photographer who takes her photos, the audience who watches her primp and pose and finally the director himself.” Kimberly Lindbergs, Cinebeats

” … a strange entry into the world of British horror, more of an Italian Giallo-style movie than a typically British horror film. It’s livened up by a few shocks and some very sexy scenes but is an ultimately flat and uninvolving experience. As a lead actress, Allan is highly decorative, but sleepwalks through the whole film, seemingly unimpressed at the carnage going on all around her.” British Horror Films

“The film is sharp. The mystery builds at a slow pace that will please the viewer depending on their taste. Regardless, it’s hard to beat a film that has a naked girl with a monkey! It’s a little strange and slightly erotic in intent.” Horror Domain

“If it wasn’t for the displaced script, apathetic performances, and pummeling runtime, the somewhat-creepy House might’ve held my attention for more than 10 minutes. Or not. I know — it’s nuts. A mock-slasher with rampant sexuality presents itself to me and I repay the favor by shutting my eyes? Frequently?!” Joseph A. Ziemba, Bleeding Skull!

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“This is one of those illogical thrillers where you want to throttle the characters because of their stupidity. There is so much gratuitous nudity that eventually you may find yourself saying, “oh, no, here comes those boring boobs again.” Then again, you might not.” Gary A. Smith, Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956 – 1976

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Buy: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

“Whereas in his better films, Larraz uses the ‘old dark house’ cliche and does something new with it, here it’s simply a location. Similarly, in those films, he draws unsettling parallels between sexual and violent urges, and between love and obsession, here he merely uses sex and violence as titillation.” Cooler King, Cinema Delirium

“A dreary and unconvincing dud that is as absurd in its use of red herrings and tawdry sexploitation footage, as it is in the predictability of its final outcome.” John Elliot, Elliot’s Films on Video

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“The setup and glacial pace put one in mind of the first hour (i.e., the bad part) of The Haunted House of Horror, released a few years previous, but unlike that one, this never even attempts to break any rules, preferring to go the classic-thriller route. Problem is, there are few thrills here. Some decent acting, and the atmosphere, but little else.” Robert Beveridge, Amazon.com

“There are really only two or three significant events in the film; the rest is backstory and padding…” Horror Express

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“If both the languid and the lurid were not so creative and effective, perhaps The House That Vanished would be, overall, more effective for viewers. If one were played down, the other could dominate, and most viewers could easily categorize and subsequently digest the film. Visually, Larraz is without equal in his unique images.” Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs, Immoral Tales: European Sex and Horror Movies, 1956-1984

“The absurdist of red herrings is provided by a neighbour who wears a black coat and gloves even indoors. The only truly effective scenes are those with a collection of birds kept in the basement, their fluttering wings nightmarishly intruding upon the heroine’s dreams.” The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

The House That Vanished

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Choice dialogue:

“They were in the shadows the whole time.”

“She was knocked about, raped, and then strangled with a belt. Which all goes to prove the murderer had plenty of time to identify her.”

“A lot of people dislike old country houses.”

Main cast:

  • Andrea Allan … Valerie / fashion model – Dead of Night [TV series]; Vampira   
  • Karl Lanchbury … Paul / mask maker –Whirlpool; Deviation; Vampyres
  • Maggie Walker … Susanna / Paul’s Aunt
  • Peter Forbes-Robertson … Mr. Hornby / Valerie’s neighbour – Island of Terror; Night, After Night, After Night; Doctor Who
  • Judy Matheson … Lorna / Valerie’s friend
  • Annabella Wood … Stella
  • Alex Leppard … Terry / Valerie’s boyfriend
  • Lawrence Keane … Mike
  • Edmund Pegge … Kent / Photographer
  • Daphne Lea … Mrs. Dabney / Landlady
  • Richard Aylen … Matheson / Inspector
  • Barbara Meale … Victim #1
  • Joshua Leppard … Peter
  • Raymond Young … Car driver

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Filming locations:

19 Blomfield Road, Little Venice, London, England
Essex, England, UK
Terminal 2, Heathrow Airport, London, England

Image credits: Cinema DeliriumTemple of Schlock

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