This blog is a place for Me to review classic British films (in particular horror films) by Hammer, Amicus and the like. But I will occasionally branch out and review international films as these are the international counterpart to the British films, some of which will include works by American International Pictures, Mario Bava et al. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

And Now The Screaming Starts!


England 1795. Catherine has just married Charles Fengriffen and moved into his castle. Unbeknown to her there is a dark secret surrounding the castle and the Fengriffin family, but no one dares to tell her the truth as they fear the ghost with the severed hand will kill them. Terrorized by the ghost she goes in search for answers only to discover the horrifying truth about Charles' grandfather.

And Now The Screaming Starts! is a 1973 Amicus production. It stars Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom and Patrick Magee. It was directed by Roy Ward Baker. It is based on the novel Fengriffen by David Case.

This is from Amicus, the production company most famous for it's portmanteau films, this is one of the company's few full length horror stories. Others include The Skull (1965), I, Monster (1971) and The Beast Must Die (1974).

If you liked the short story in Dr Terror's House of Horrors where a severed hand hunts and attacks Christopher Lee, then this is the film for you.

There's a great jump scare pretty early on in the film, I'm saying nothing more as I don't want to completely spoil it but yeah it caught me off guard. Enjoy.

I love the make up used on the ghost. It's very well done to appear like he has no eyes and a severed hand. Accompanied with a blood dripping stump it looks great and rather scary.

I was disappointed to find that although Peter Cushing is top billed in this film he doesn't actually appear until over half way through. As it is, his presence is great as ever.

There are some brilliant and beautifully creepy shots that feature in this film. This is one of my favourites.

Although And Now The Screaming Starts! is very appropriate for this film as all Catherine does is scream, I still can't help but feel it's a bit of a lazy title, surely Amicus could have come up with something better. But I have to hand it to them with a title like And Now The Screaming Starts! it's pretty hard not to be sold on that alone, and it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Medicine “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH” (Well for the medicine it was more of a horrified look then a hysterical laugh)

A moment of awesomeness is when the ghost comes to Catherine and tries to open the window, but when she locks it shut. He then smashes it by punching it with his stump. This ghost is awesome!

The big reveal of the family secret is horrible, Charles' grandfather, Henry, rapes Silas' wife on their wedding night and cuts off Silas' hand for fighting back and trying to stop him. So in return Silas puts a curse on the Fengriffen family promising that the next virgin bride to enter the household shall be violated just as Henry had violated his wife. Now this explains why the ghost haunting Catherine has a missing right hand, but it doesn't explain why he has no eyes. But then by the end of the film the woodsman who bares a remarkable resemblance to Silas even down to the birthmark on his face gets shot in the eyes, so his face looks like the ghost but he has both hands. So what confuses me is why the ghost has a severed hand and missing eyes, he has features of both Silas and the woodsman; whom I believe to be Silas' son. But if he isn't his son then somehow without ageing the woodsman is Silas then that wouldn't explain the ghost unless it was a future ghost. So either this film doesn't make a lot of sense or I've missed a very big plot point, I think this is one of those films that requires a second viewing, just in case you've missed an important plot point as I obviously have.

Overall, it's far from being a bad film but it equally doesn't stand out amongst the greats, I'd say it's an average Amicus production and although a decent film with an interesting plot, I still believe it'll be forgettable. The visuals in it were great, the violent bits were just right, again the make up for the ghost of Silas was great and really creepy, and it was at times just beautifully shot. The atmosphere was really good, it was dark and eerie. The ending was good but rather predictable. Even though it had so many good points it was still missing something, and for that it was just an average Amicus horror story.

And Now The Screaming Starts! 3/5

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