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And Now the Screaming Starts

UK 1973
produced by
Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky, Gustave M. Berne for Amicus
directed by Roy Ward Baker
starring Stephanie Beacham, Ian Ogilvy, Peter Cushing, Geoffrey Whitehead, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee, Guy Rolfe, Rosalie Crutchley, Gillian Lind, Sally Harrison, Janet Key, John Sharp, Norman mitchell, Lloyd Lamble
screenplay by Roger Marshall, based nt he novel Fengriffen by David Case, music by Douglas Gamley

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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England 1795: Catherine (Stephanie Beacham) has just married Charles Fengriffen (Ian Ogilvy) and moved into his mansion, when she starts being scared shitless - by the portrait of Charles' grandfather Henry (Herbert Lom), a severed hand and a ghost with his eyes poked out, his hand chopped off and a red mark on his cheek. And eventually the ghost and the hand even attack her ... or so she thinks, s when Charles charges to her rescue, there is no ghost or other kind of attacker to be seen. Still, she keeps seeing the ghost and the hand, and at one point she also slices up the portrait, and before long Charles starts to believe she might be losing her mind.

Then though, Catherine stumbles upon a woodcutter, Silas (Geoffrey Whitehead), who looks exactly like the ghost she keeps seeing (with the difference that Silas has both eyes and both hands incact), and she begins to realize that there's more to the whole affair than just her imagination - in fact she soon realizes it has to do with a family curse, but everybody who tries to tell her about the curse (or help her in any other way) is killed by mysterious circumstances ... plus she has to realize she is pregnant.

Eventually, Charles has some sort of specialist, Doctor Pope (Peter Cushing), come from London to cure his wife, and he soon blames everything on Catherine's subconscious (rather a feat for a doctor from the 18th century), especially after he finds out her favourite literature is the Witches' Hammer and the Fengriffen's are actually doomed by a family curse, which goes back some 50 years, when Charles' grandfather Henry raped Silas' father's (also Geoffrey Whitehead) newly-wed wife (Sally Harrison), then had Silas' father's hand chopped off ... and since that time the first virginal bride of a Fengriffen (who is in fact Catherine since Charles' mother was a widow before marrying into the family) will be ravaged by the ghost of Silas' father in the wedding night and will bear his child ...

Upon learning that, Catherine tries to kill her child by stabbing herself in the stomach, but (in a rather ridiculous scene) the severed hand prevents her from doing so.

Eventually, the child is born, but Charles, upon seeing the boy, goes completely mad, first shoots Silas through the eyes (just like the ghost Catherine has been keeping seeing, then savagely desecraes his grandfather's grave ...

The child, you see, has on his cheek the exact same mark that both Silas and his father had, and it's missing its right hand - so the curse was real after all, was it ?

 

Considering And now the Screaming Starts was made in 1973, the film, including its gothic approach and old fashioned direction seems a little out of date, films like this had their heyday some 10 to 15 years earlier. But taken out of time and seen what it is the film - an old-fashioned shocker (but old-fashioned in a good way) relying strongly on atmosphere and featuring great actors and convincing sets, is just wonderful, a traditional British horror film just as they are supposed to be and you expect them to be.

Marvelous.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD