Friday, May 27, 2011

A Vincent-a-Day: ‘From a Whisper to a Scream’

Leading up to the 100th anniversary of Vincent Price’s birth today, I’ve been checking out one of the maestro’s lesser known films all week.

From a Whisper to a Scream (1987- dir. Jeff Burr)

A Vincent a Day week reaches its dastardly conclusion with one of the man’s final films. Price supposedly regretted taking this role, and it’s not too hard to suss why. From a Whisper to a Scream is the kind of cheapo scuzz yesterday’s Madhouse prognosticated. This portmanteau offers torture, incest, necrophilia, human vivisecting, child murder, a cheesy monster baby, a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-torso, and gobs of fairly convincing gore. The dialogue is witless (“She’s got legs all the way up to where the hair grows!”) and the acting is idiotic. These are also the qualities that make this junk fairly entertaining junk. Price appears in the wraparound in which he explains the sordid history of Oldfield, Tennessee, to an uncharacteristically restrained Susan Tyrrell. The great Lawrence Tierney is wasted in a part that barely even qualifies as a cameo, but each of the movie’s episodes isn’t much worse than your average Tale from the Crypt. And though the production values are cheaper than those in Creepshow, the stories are better. From a Whisper to a Scream is the worst thing I’ve watched this week, but I’m pleased that even this crap is pretty good. That’s quite a track record, Vincent! Happy 100th.
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