Monday, February 7, 2011

Meep Pic Of The Week: Scream For Help (1984)



Scream For Help
A Lorimar release
Original Theatrical Release Date July/1984

Excuse me while I try to get the theme song for Scream For Help Out of my head... Nah, that's probably never going to happen.

The wonderfully insane Scream For Help was directed by Michael Winner (The Sentinel), released in July of 1984 with no real push by lackluster studio Lorimar (hence their demise a few short years later) and then onto video cassette where most of us saw it back in good ole 1986. For those who haven't checked it out, well, you're in for a treat.

Equal parts lurid and cheesy, Scream For Help spins the tale of Fifteen year old Christie Cromwell (Rachael Kelly), a Nancy Drew type who uncovers a plot that involves her stepfather and his cronies trying to off her mom and then herself. Because she's a brain with a nose for mystery, she sleuths in typical horror movie fashion and tries to thwart their evil plot. Sometimes with the help of big haired slutty friend Brenda, and other times with Josh, the boy next door type who she falls into bed with... and quite hilariously I might add.


HELP is a haphazard mix of Teen Film antics and Slasher Movie menace, which were both popular at the time. And that's exactly why the movie works for me. It takes a couple of sub-genres I really adore, shakes 'em up and spins out some priceless cheese... The Brenda/Car scene alone...

Director Michael Winner of this period had a very peculiar way of shooting his films. The framing, dialogue and style of these pictures were off-kilter to say the least (um, Death Wish 3 anyone?) and for this one, his mad methods lend the film a pretty unique vibe. The film was shot in white-bread, picket fence land New Rochelle New York and that disjointed, occasionally lurid vibe Winner creates makes for a deliciously weird counterbalance.


Speaking of out of whack... The hilariously misplaced soundtrack to the film was composed by none other than John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin with the help of Jimmy Page, John Renhourn and Jon Anderson of Yes. You would have never guessed in a million years that the gently sung theme song "Christie" had such dudes behind it.

Shame the film never really caught on and still hasn't been released on DVD. But that's okay, like the way the song from the movie got stuck in my head after giving it listen on my itunes, the film itself will never fail to do the same. This isn't just 80's movie cheese... This is movie magic!

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