You take one look at the poster for “Scream and Scream Again” and think, “Wait, someone made a movie that features Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and it involves a vat of boiling acid?” Reader, prepare to be disappointed.
Price and Lee’s roles are not quite as substantial as the advertising would lead you to believe, and Cushing’s part is so inconsequential that, by the end, I forgot he was even in the thing. Instead, “Scream and Scream Again” hands the majority of its running time over to a number of unfamiliar Brits, who do their best to help make the oft-incomprehensible plot elements coerce into a flick that makes a lick of sense.
Fail. From a narrative standpoint, “Scream and Scream Again” is so all over the map that I began to wonder if audiences might start to think a better title for this hodgepodge might be “Squirm and Squirm Some More.”
In any event, this overstuffed pic involves: a thrill-killer on the loose, a conspiracy, a shadowy, Nazi-like political organization (complete with a power-mad general who murders half the cast via Vulcan nerve pinch), a kooky scientist who is vying to create a race of superhumans and, yes, the aforementioned vat of boiling acid plays a key role, to boot.
If that seems like enough outlandish substance to fill an entire drive-in triple-bill, then you’ve latched onto exactly what’s wrong with “Scream and Scream Again,” and you haven’t even seen the thing.
Admittedly, the movie’s grand culmination makes up for an awful lot of squirm-inducing watch-checking in the initial hour and change (including an interminable chase sequence that easily eats up a third of the picture), wherein the mysterious mad doctor (played by Price) lays out his diabolical doings to the audience and the knotted plot gradually begins to come unknotted.
Alas, getting to that point is about as much fun as being dipped in a vat of boiling acid.
“SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN”
Rated: GP for bloody violence and flashes of nudity
Director: Gordon Hessler
Starring: Christopher Matthews, Marshall Jones
★½ (out of ★★★★)