Saturday, October 2, 2010

From a Whisper to a Scream

A reporter interviews an old librarian (played by the incomparable Vincent Price) about the recent execution of his niece, a serial killer. Price proceeds to tell the reporter four tales of the macabre, to illustrate the inherent evil of the town in which they live. The tales: a lonely old man harbors homicidal desires, culminating in some necrophilia with unintended consequences; an asshole on the run from thugs discovers a man in the backwoods that may have the secret to eternal life; a glass eater at freak show pisses off his voodoo-powered boss and suffers the consequences; and a group of lost Civil War soldiers stumble into in Children of the Corn-esque situation.

The obvious influence here is George Romero & Stephen King's classic Creepshow; this shares that film's stylized, grotesque, comic book vibe. I am always a sucker for a good horror anthology, and From a Whisper to a Scream sports some entertaining performances from Price and Clu Gulager, but the tales herein lack the wit and elegance of a good horror short story. They all build to fun, if typical, twist endings, but the getting-there can be a bit of a slog. The stories have a tendency to drag in the middle as the audience waits for the other shoe to drop. More tightening at the script stage could have seriously helped this one out.

The director, Jeff Burr, went on to direct Stepfather 2 and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3. Both are probably better than they had any right to be, but are still basically pointless retreads. The same holds true for From a Whisper to a Scream.

Grade: C+

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