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Death Screams
House of Death

USA 1982
produced by
Ernest Bouskos, Charles Ison for ABA Productions
directed by David Nelson
starring Susan Kiger, Martin Tucker, William T. Hicks, Jennifer Chase, Jody Kay, John Kohler, Andria Savio, Curt Rector, Josh Gamble, Hanns Manship, Helene Tryon, Mary Fran Lyman, Monica Boston, Mike Brown, Sharon Alley, Larry Sprinkle, Penny Miller, Bill Ison, David Lenthall, Debbie Ison, Gene Poole, Jimmy Bouskos, R.C. Nanney, Barbara McClarty, Robert Melton, Gail Minton
written by Paul C. Elliott, music by Dee Barton

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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One of these rural US-American small towns that's just a bit too idyllic for not something to be wrong - something like a young couple (Larry Sprinkle, Penny Miller) being killed by a person unknown while making out by the river. But that's not very likely to spoil the next day's town fair in the slightest, especially since their bodies aren't found. At the fair, a bunch of teens (Susan Kiger, Jennifer Chase, Jody Kay, John Kohler, Andria Savio, Curt Rector, Josh Gamble) make plans on how to bid a fitting farewell to summer before they all have to go their separate ways in fall, and finally decide to have a bonfire by the river, followed by telling scary stories at the cemetary. One of our youngsters (Jody Kay) goes skinny dipping, and freaks out when she (literally) bumps into the corpses of the couple avove, but then her throat is slit before she can alert the others - who aren't really all that bothered by her absence as they proceed to the cemetary, and when rain catches them they move on to a long abandoned house nearby. But the killer has caught up with them and now picks and kills them one by one ...

 

Now truth to be told, this film doesn't score very highly on the originality scale - nor has it set out to as it clearly tried to jump the then current slasher bandwagon launched by films like Halloween and Friday the 13th - but that's not to say the film isn't fun to watch still, not only as a time capsule, but also because it really tries to not blindly follow the slasher formula but add a little more substance to the bone by showing an already crumbling facade of small town Americana as an interesting backdrop for its massacre - but that said, once the action starts it hits hard, as the film doesn't exactly hold back when it comes to violence, there are jump scares aplenty, some nice macabre details, and the finale's fittingly tense for sure, making for good vintage genre entertainment.

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
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directed by
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written by
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