Scream and Scream Again (1970)

Scream and Scream Again (1970)

“When you feel nothing, not even pain, the body and spirit are capable of limitless things.”

In the near-future, a jogger collapses and finds himself gradually losing limbs in a hospital while a nurse attends to him; a London detective (Alfred Marks) searches for a “vampire killer” (Michael Gothard) who is terrorizing beautiful young women; an Eastern European official (Marshall Jones) silently kills anyone who questions his “brutal tactics” when interrogating political prisoners; and a limb-transplant surgeon (Vincent Price) lurks menacingly in the background.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Androids and Clones
  • Christopher Lee Films
  • Dystopia
  • Horror Films
  • Mad Doctors and Scientists
  • Murder Mystery
  • Peter Cushing Films
  • Science Fiction
  • Vincent Price Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “fascinating British horror film which Fritz Lang admired because of its political subtext” remains “still undiscovered by repertory-theater owners”. He argues that the “direction by Gordon Hessler is clever”, and notes how interesting it is that “this picture, earlier than Alien or Android, advances the spooky notion that egocentric scientists will someday create ‘synthetic’ scientists”. Unfortunately, it takes far too long for the confusing (albeit effectively filmed) storylines to mesh together in a comprehensible way; a little more coherence would have gone a long way. And, as Peary notes, Vincent Price “gets a bit hammy in the unfortunately hokey finale”, while Christopher Lee’s role (as the head of an intelligence agency) is minimal, and Peter Cushing only shows up in cameo. This one will primarily be of interest to hardcore fans of futuristic sci-fi, and/or British horror flicks.

Note: The title theme song, sung in a club visited by the “vampire killer”, will stick in your head for a long, long time after viewing; be forewarned.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Some effectively shocking, well-filmed sequences

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a one-time look for its (minimal) cult status.


2 thoughts on “Scream and Scream Again (1970)

  1. This one is actually 1969.

    Fabulous scifi horror film with splendid direction by Gordon Hessler and a great cast having a ball. Kudos to the late Michael Gothard as a psychotic “synthetic” who tears his own hand off to escape the police. Alfred Marks is a wonderfully droll police detective.

  2. First viewing. A must-see for its narrative structure – and of particular interest to horror / sci-fi fans for its rare blending with the conspiracy thriller genre.

    I read the response review above when it was first posted three years ago but had forgotten it by the time I was able to catch up with the film myself. So, in a sense, I went into the viewing without knowing anything about it (the best way to see a film like this).

    Fortunately, neither the synopsis given nor the following assessment act as genuine spoilers. But the synopsis does lay out the general complexity of the script.

    While watching, I didn’t find the storyline incomprehensible. It did seem layered and I was intrigued enough to follow my sense that the story’s few angles would converge at some point. In the last 15 minutes, they do. I appreciate this kind of storytelling structure and wish there were more films that had it; the kind of brain-tease that keeps the audience on its toes (esp. if it’s done well – which I think it is, in this case).

    The script is also notable for what it leaves out almost completely – not only throughout but in the film’s conclusion as well. It seems to leave the audience just enough to fill in for themselves.

    Of course, the title is misleading – and perhaps that was done on purpose, to help in throwing off audience expectation. (~though it may have also frustrated those who were anticipating something more horrific).

    I don’t feel that Price’s performance here is hammy at any time; in fact, I found him to be rather subdued (appropriately). In their small supporting roles, Cushing and Lee are also effective.

    However, viewers may or may not think much about the participation of Gothard – whose strange, somewhat-sad life, as described at IMDb, appears to be a kind of reflection of his acting career – or vice-versa. (A year after this film, Gothard was cast in perhaps his most memorable role as the decidedly bizarre Father Barre in Ken Russell’s ‘The Devils’. He took his own life in 1992.)

    ‘SASA’ seems to have been misunderstood by some and under-recognized by many. It’s certainly worthy of more attention.

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