The Silent Scream (1979)

directed by denny harris
denny harris inc. of california

Set in a boarding house, this film is a pretty decent example of the derive-the-killer’s-identity plotline, the basic premise of which was repeated a few years later by Unhinged, to name at least one imitator. Whereas many such films may cause one to roll his or her eyes at the revelation of the killer and how he or she relates to whomever else, the backstory eventually provided herein – though convoluted, to be sure – is at the least internally consistent. With only a few actual scares and not much onscreen killing to be had – plus some fairly obviously fake blood – this flick makes do largely with the strengths (or weaknesses) of its characters. Not enough time is given for the development of a certain psychosis that shows at the conclusion, but overall it’s an estimable effort … which apparently was a miracle of extensive post-production, as the original was deemed unreleasable. Perhaps that’s why the director remains an unknown, with no other credits to his name.

why did i watch this movie?

The lead actress played “Carol David” on Soap, one of the greatest shows in the entire history of television, and I noticed her name in the cast list.

should you watch this movie?

I feel as though I’ve said this sort of thing before, but if you’re in the mood for a throwback horror experience, it’ll ably fit the bill. It also seems to be pretty obscure, if that interests you.

highlight and low point

Some of the characters are either broadly drawn or transparently disposable, and a few minor impossibilities may nag at you. The climax is admirably suspenseful and relatively novel.

rating from outer space: B+

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