DEATH SCREAMS aka HOUSE OF DEATH (1982) Reviews and now free to watch online

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‘He wants your body. In pieces.’
Death Screams is a 1982 American slasher horror film about teenagers being stalked and killed by a maniac at a town fair and nearby.

Directed by actor David Nelson from a screenplay written by Paul C. Elliott. Also titled House of Death and Night Screams 

Filmmaker Worth Keeter III (director of Wolfman and Rottweiler: Dogs of Hell) provided the special effects.


The movie stars Susan Kiger, Larry Sprinkle, Andria Savio, David Lenthall, Martin Tucker, William T. Hicks (Tales of the Third Dimension), John Kohler, Jennifer Chase, Kurt Rector, Josh Gamble and Hanns Manship.

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Two teenagers are murdered by a mysterious killer. They are reported missing but their bodies are not found. Two weeks later, locals are celebrating the last night of carnival but the machete-wielding maniac is lurking nearby and when a group of youngsters decide to camp overnight by the river, they soon become victims…

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“There’s no style, not a whit of spookiness and precious little wit, so it’s hardly a good or great movie! But the slasher completest, particularly the regional slasher completest, will, I believe, not be disappointed!” Ha ha, It’s Burl!

“Featuring quite bloody deaths, full-frontal female and even (gasp) male nudity, Death Screams is bloody good fun.” Horror Asylum

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“The film itself is pretty well shot; it’s obviously aping Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and has some nicely evocative shots. It’s a shame, though, that apart from the exciting finale the director doesn’t seem capable of (or even particularly bothered about) conjuring up and sustaining suspense…” Hysteria Lives

“Poor lighting, poor quality sound, low levels of logic from key characters, a weak script, a nonsensical reason for the killing spree, underused locations (such as the fair and graveyard) and more House of Death holds multiple examples of how not to do a horror film.” The Robotic Patriot

“Standard slasher flick … Cinematographer Darrell Cathcart also worked on Final Exam (1981) and a bunch of Earl Owensby films. Susan Kiger was a Playboy ‘Playmate’… Monica Boston, who plays one of the teenagers in this film, represented North Carolina in the Miss World-America pageant in 1980. Hicks was in A Day of Judgement (1981).” Brian Albright, Regional Horror Films, 1958 – 1990


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“David Nelson delivers a spooky atmosphere at times and shows some innovative flourishes with his direction. The scenes in the forest, which were beautifully captured with skilful cinematography from Darrell Cathcart (who also worked on Final Exam), were superb and helped to set an ominous tone. Most of the energy is unleashed during the final ten minutes in the ‘horror house’ and a frantic score, a few chaotic slaughters and some genuine tension combine surprisingly well.” A Slash Above…

“The film does not exactly break any new ground or do anything different from any other picture of its ilk, but it manages to do so in a very competent manner […] One of the only real negatives to be found is the choice of score, the music being too overly bombastic at times and not suiting the mood of setting or actions whatsoever.” The Telltale Mind

“A spunky cast of non-actors can’t save this wayward splatter hopeful; its momentum barrels along haphazardly until the hilariously overwrought body count climax. An unfortunate misfire though […] But the oh-so-loose script, manic change of locales, and often lackluster kills don’t help. Still, Death can be giggly fun in the right mood.” The Terror Trap

“So it’s under-lit, badly chopped, and the slasher part of it only lasts a few minutes, but House of Death is similar in tone to Final Exam or The Slumber Party Massacre: it’s just pure stalk n’ slash silliness. Had the mystery element been amped up and the editor been a little harsher in the early scenes, it could be a minor cult classic.” Vegan Voorhees

“With the exception of the opening murder and mid-film asphyxiation, all the horror bits are crammed into one 15 minute segment at the end of the film. Deaths come fast and furious (including one hilariously awful bifurcation), and as a result, all the suspense and tension is sucked right out of it.” You Have Died of Dysentery

Blu-ray release:

Death Screams was released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on September 14, 2021.

The film was newly restored in 2K from the only known existing 35mm print with original uncompressed mono audio.

Special features:
Audio commentary by producer Charles Ison and special effects artist Worth Keeter, moderated by filmmaker Phil Smoot (new)
Audio commentary by The Hysteria Continues podcast (new)
All the Fun of the Scare: The Making of Death Screams – Interviews with writer Paul Elliott, producer Charles Ison, special effects artist Worth Keeter, and actors Hanns Manship, Curt Rector, Sharon Alley and Robert Melton (new)
House of Death alternate VHS opening titles
Booklet featuring new writing by film historian Brian Albright
Limited edition slipcase
New cover artwork by Marc Schoenbach with the original poster on the reverse side

death screams 1982 vipco VHS sleeve




Cast and characters:
Susan Kiger … Lily Carpenter
Martin Tucker … Coach Neil Marshall
William T. Hicks … Sheriff Avery
Jennifer Chase … Ramona
Jody Kay … Sandy
John Kohler … Diddle
Andria Savio … Kathy
Curt Rector … Bob
Josh Gamble … Tom
Hanns Manship … Casey
Helene Tryon … Edna Sharpe
Mary Fran Lyman … Agnes Bottomly
Monica Boston … Sheila
Mike Brown … Walker
Sharon Alley … Sara
Larry Sprinkle … Ted
Penny Miller … Angie
Bill Ison … Arch Johnson
David Lenthall … Jackson
Debbie Ison … Girl at Kissing Booth
Gene Poole … Hippie at Kissing Booth
Jimmy Bouskos … Boy in Store
R.C. Nanney … R.C.
Barbara McClarty … Sara’s Mother
Robert Melton … Carnival Barker
Gail Minton … Brenda

Technical details:
1 hour 28 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Shot in Lake Lure and Shelby, North Carolina, in April 1981.

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Some images: Grindhouse Cinema DatabaseCritical Condition

Trailer [1080p HD]:

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