Scream Bloody Murder (1972)
Article 5984 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Marc B. Ray
Featuring Fred Holbert, Leigh Mitchell, Robert Knox
What it is: Psycho Killer on the loose
A young boy with an Oedipal complex is sent to an institution after killing his father but losing his hand in a farming incident. When he returns home to find his mother has remarried, he becomes even more homicidal, seeing every woman as his mother and all her loves as evil fathers…
So why haven’t I covered this movie earlier? After all, it’s easy to find and is listed in most of the movie guides I used to cull my review list. It’s the result of a technicality. There were two movies from this era that had the same title, and the various guides would conflate them, giving the plot of this movie but listing the credits of the other movie (which is better known now by its other title, MY BROTHER HAS BAD DREAMS). When this sort of thing happened, I made the rule that I would follow the credits first, and this movie was constantly overlooked. So much for the explanation.
As for the movie itself, I’ll start out by saying that I’ve never been much of a believer in the Oedipal complex, and so this movie’s harping on it just made me take it less and less seriously. However, only the first third of the movie emphasizes this aspect. The middle third of the movie however turns to one of my less favorite horror situations, in which a woman is held prisoner and tormented by the psycho, so naturally we have the obligatory long sequence where she desperately tries to escape but you’ll know she’ll fail because that’s how these movies work. For me, the movie only starts to come to life when the woman begins turning the psycho’s stunted sexuality against him, and even if things don’t quite come out as she expected, it’s the only time the movie surprises me. The ending follows logically from this and is perhaps too arty for its own good. Nevertheless, the movie ends up better than I expected it would be, especially after seeing the first two thirds of the movie.