Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Silent Scream, Pretty Coed in much Peril

Rebecca Balding ("The Boogens") is that pretty coed, the perky Scotty.  Peril? Oh yes. When this film came out, just after "Halloween" began the cavalcade of slasher films, both Siskel and Ebert were incensed at Scotty's plight, as another woman was shown stalked, helpless, and at the mercy of some psycho.  Wearing nothing but a loose bathrobe, fresh from some passionate pre-marital sex, gagged, bloodied, and all four limbs spread tied-up, she is at the mercy of psycho Barbara Steele.  Even worse, unless a brainless hunk can save her, poor Scotty will assume room temperature.  Let us take a look at 1979's "The Silent Scream."
Desperate for housing as the college year begins, Scotty finds a room in an old house by the sea.  Three other students have already moved in; Doris (Juli Andelman), the very rich Peter (John Widelock), and the hunk Jack (Steve Doubet).  Oh yes, the rooming house is run by the very creepy Mrs. Engels (Yvonne De Carlo) and her weird teenager son, Mason (Brad Rearden).  The Engels are prudes, which is bad news for the always provocative behaving Scotty.  Uh oh...someone else is in the house...locked in a secret attic room.  After Scotty moves into the room once occupied by Victoria (Steele), whoever is in that room goes nuts (...yeah...it's Victoria).  This begs the question, why has Victoria been locked away?  Victoria busts out of her attic cell and is now able to move around hidden crawlspaces and spy on all four roomies.
Victoria isn't just a peeping-Jane... she is also a knife wielding maniac. She begins butchering the tenants as Scotty and hunk Jack fall in love and engage in pre-marital sex.  Scotty's moaning even provides great cover for one of Victoria's killings. Whoever Victoria is, and whatever her past held, Mrs. Engels and Mason are her guardians, and will do anything to keep her presence secret.  This is more bad news for Scotty, as the mad Victoria abducts her and tosses her around like a toddler's toy.  Now Scotty is at her mercy.  Will hunk Jack step up and save the helpless damsel?  Oh yes, we have two cops in this plot, played by Cameron Mitchell and Avery Schreiber)....but we'll skip their roles in this film.
Will Scotty's pre-marital sex with the hunk spell her doom?  Who exactly is Victoria?  Does our helpless damsel have what it takes to grab the bull...or psycho...by the horns and help herself escape a perilous predicament?  Violent, exploitative, and horrific, "The Silent Scream" was heavily criticized for demeaning women, and making a buck off putting them in much peril.  No matter, it is a terrific slasher film, and very hard to find.  Currently this film is on YouTube, but in poor quality.

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