And Now the Screaming Starts (1973)

Article 2234 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-28-2007
Posting Date: 9-24-2007
Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Featuring Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee

A man brings his bride to his ancestral home without telling him about the curse on the family. She finds herself terrorized by the ghost of a woodsman with missing eyes and a missing hand, which crawls around and attacks people as a separate entity.

Don’t let that lineup of well-known horror actors listed above deceive you; Cushing doesn’t appear until half the movie is over, Herbert Lom appears as a cameo in a flashback sequence, and Magee has a secondary role. The main roles belong to Ian Ogilvy and Stephanie Beacham as the cursed couple, and Geoffrey Whitehead as the woodsman. Amicus Productions took a break from their horror anthologies to make this one-story movie. The acting is certainly acceptable throughout, with Cushing giving the movie a real boost when he finally shows up, but at heart, his character doesn’t really have much to do other than to weed out the background legend that drives the story, largely for the benefit of himself, the bride, and us, the audience; everyone else in the story seems to know the legend already, and to my mind, the movie tries to mine a little too much suspense from people not telling what they know. In fact, that’s the central problem with the movie; it overplays its hand in trying to up the horror quotient, and the action becomes a little too repetitive, a little too grotesque (especially when Ogilvy’s character goes wild near the end of the movie) and even inadvertently comic (in the scene where Beacham tries to destroy her unborn child). It’s the weaknesses of the script that drag this one down, though that does not apply to the original novella (if that is the correct word) by David Case, which I have read and found quite effective and much more restrained.



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