SILENT SCREAM (1980) Perky Scotty is late for college sign-up and desperately needs a place to live.

silentscream_poster01Theme Song: None.

Interesting Dated References: People being friendly, going to college unprepared, falling in love, Olympia Beer.

Best Line: Asked by woman — “How about a small orgy?” Asked by man in retort — “How about a little sleep?”

Social Context: Not really anything here. Other than the fact that someone made a movie with 1960s aesthetics in 1980, well after gore and boobs had become standard in all films.

Summary: The beginning of Silent Scream starts off like the end of Taxi Driver, with slow-motion footage of cops walking into a murder scene accompanied by bad orchestral jazz. One of the detective/cops is Cameron Mitchell, a long time B-actor who always turns in a good performance. That footage ends, and then we’re at some type of college registration.

We learn the delightfully perky Scotty is late for sign-up and desperately needs a place to live. Housing is filled up, so she is given a list of potential places where she can board. She settles on the large creepy old house with the awkward and creepy son who does all the work for his mother who never comes out of her room. But it’s on the beach and affordable.

Her roommates are the chubby, flirtatious-yet-frumpy, Doris, the rich-guy student, Peter, and some guy named Jack who hasn’t shown up yet.

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Look at this dork who’s supposed to be a high school kid. This is the son of the lady who owns the place. Remember, she never comes out of her room. So, Scotty picks a room the nerdy kid says was his sister’s. As she’s lying on the bed, someone watches her from a heating vent. After that, she puts her suitcase in the attic and sees the old lady who was possibly also the one spying on her.

Later, everyone goes to dinner. Peter and Doris start pairing up. Scotty and the suave, good-looking, Jack, start getting close and wind up kissing. All these people look like they are at least 30. On the walk back from dinner, Peter tries to grope Doris and wanders off alone and drunk. Then he gets stabbed.

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At least I think that’s what happened, the movies so dark I can’t make heads or tails of it. He is found in the morning and then we meet our detectives Cameron Mitchell and Super Mario.

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They proceed to investigate. A few more allusions are made to the sister of the dork kid whose name I just realized was Mason. After the cops leave, Mason gets yelled at by his mom.

The cops try to get leads in the case, and dead Peter’s powerful businessman dad flies in from Europe where he was attending “business meetings.” Scotty and Jack start to get really romantic. I mean like really annoyingly romantic.

Super romantic.

As things roll along, Scotty has to do some studying, so she goes and gets a beer (Olympia) out of the refrigerator.

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But instead of doing homework she has sex with Jack. It’s really kind of gross because even though Jack is handsome, he’s clearly a big time mouth breather. While these two are having sex, Doris gets stabbed right in her frump several times in the laundry room.

In the next scene, Barbara Steele plays with her hair in the mirror and dresses up Doris’s corpse. I’m not sure if she’s supposed to be the landlady or the missing sister. I think she’s supposed to be the sister, because then she spies through the wall at the old mom. Then Scotty finds some secret passageway that leads her to the psycho sister.

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Turns out all three family members are involved in these shenanigans. The mom then reveals crazy sister is actually crazy brother’s mom. They don’t really specify who the baby daddy is. Then a bunch of shit gets thrown around and people shout. Jack doesn’t hear any of this because he has headphones on. When he finally gets up, he is knocked out by Mason who is now wearing some army uniform. Mason kills the mom, Scotty pushes the crazy sister onto her own knife, Jack wakes up and rushes to Scotty’s side, and then the cops show up.

Silent Scream is an okay movie. It’s not terrible, but considering the year it was made (1980), it certainly was pretty tame. The whole slasher genre was just getting steam around this time and Silent Scream can’t compete with gore and boobs. The movie should have been made in the late 60s, and then it might be well-regarded.

Poster and Box Art: Even the poster for Silent Scream seems like it belongs in the late 60s. It’s good, but again, where’s the blood? Where are the scantily-clad chicks? There’s no way this could compete with other posters on the video store wall back in ’82.

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The French™ apparently felt that same way and updated the movie poster for when it was released in their country. They said, “Hey let’s throw a big fucking knife in here and some red.” Somehow it works.

Availability: Buy the DVD from Amazon. Oh, and be sure to not buy the other VHS tape called The Silent Scream, which is a totally insane Christian propaganda tape that shows an unborn fetus being aborted. Actually, maybe you should buy that one too.

2 comments

  • Great movie… I have a very distant memory of this being one of the first horror movies that I ever rented back in ’88 from Bishop’s Video Stop, a tiny little shack of a video rental shop that was located a mile out of the small town of Churubusco, Indiana. Scared the piss out of me as a child, you’ve brought back fond memories Billy, now bring back the music…;)Keep up the good work.

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