Scream Baby Scream – USA, 1969

‘We dare you not to scream’

Scream Baby Scream – also known as Nightmare House and House of Mutant Women – is a 1969 American horror feature film produced, directed and edited by Joseph Adler. The story and screenplay was written by Larry Cohen [as Laurence Robert Cohen], who went on to direct well-known genre fare such as It’s Alive, Q – The Winged Serpent, and write the Maniac Cop series.

The film was picked up by Troma Entertainment for a VHS re-release and is currently available on Troma DVD.

The movie stars Ross Harris (also a newscaster and zombie in (Night of the Living Dead and in Romero’s The Crazies), Eugenie Wingate, Chris Martell (Flesh FeastThe Gruesome Twosome), Suzanne Stuart, Larry Swanson and Brad F. Grinter (also in Death Curse of Tartu and Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things, and writer/director of Flesh Feast and Blood Freak).

Charles Butler, “Master of the Macabre”, is a world renowned artist. However, behind his grotesque imagery lies a more fiendish truth. Alongside the insane Dr.Garrison and their mutant lackeys, he is kidnapping beautiful models and artists so he can take his art to the next stage, and turn living humans into living paintings.

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Jason, a young art student, realises what is going on a little bit too late, as his beloved girlfriend Janet has been kidnapped by Butler and Garrison…

Reviews:

“Joseph Adler is barely competent, but his leaden touch with actors, primitive staging of action, clumsy attempts to court the counter-culture (acid trips, a nearly wall-to-wall jazz score, Scotty’s psychedelic rock band), and lack of cohesion when it comes to editing between sudden tonal shifts actually helps Scream Baby Scream work better than it possibly should.” Obsessive Movie Nerd

“The film is along the lines of the ultimate in killing for their art movie, Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Color Me Blood Red. I’d recommend that movie over this one, but this does boast lines like, “Yesterday’s nightmare is today’s dream and tomorrow’s reality.” Huh?” Chris Jart, Haunted Monkey Paw Island

“The videocassette package shows an insane bearded guy killing a woman with an axe. No such scene appears in the film. The package also dares me not to scream. If it had dared me not to snooze, it might have won the bet. Do you know what an LSD drug trip is like? According to this movie, it allows you to see film in double exposure and then you imagine you take the place of the animals in the zoo.” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“The dialogue feels forced and unnatural, nothing like the Cohen of the 1970s and 80s … Flashes of nudity keep us interested in the first half. Over-the-top gore in the She Freak tradition comes at the conclusion. While no individual element is successful, the film is somehow enjoyable as a whole. Surprisingly imaginative camerawork is a help, as is a near-continuous spooky jazz score.” David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

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“This hippie-era horror movie has a great chaotic structure – you know, flashbacks inside of flashbacks. You can tell it was barely finished by the mismatched stock.” Michael J. Weldon, The Psychotronic Video Guide

“Weasel at the easel. Beware, viewer, beware.” John Stanley, Creature Features

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Larry-Cohen-Radical-Allegories

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Filming locations:

Miami, Florida, USA

Offline reading:

Regional Horror Films, 1958 – 1983: A State-by-State Guide with Interviews by Brian Albright

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