Movie Name: Screamtime
Studio: Manson International
Release Date(s): 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Two men (Vincent Russo and Michael Gordon) steal horror tapes to watch with a girlfriend (Marie Scinto)…and unlock horror. A henpecked Punch & Judy puppeteer named Jack (Robin Bailey) deals with his wife (Ann Lynn) and his abusive stepson (Jonathan Morris). A young couple (Ian Saynor and Yvonne Nicholson) moves into a home, but the young wife begins to see visions of murder and death…is she going mad? A motorcycle rider named Gavin (David Van Day) and his brother Tim (Matthew Peters) are trying to get money for a big race, but a garden job leads to a robbery with unexpected consequences.
Directed by Michael Armstrong and Stanley A. Long (under the pseudonym Al Beresford), Screamtime is a horror anthology film. The movie was originally released in 1983 from Manson International but got a wider release in 1986.
Like most anthology films, Screamtime has highs and lows. You can like one segment and not like the next. For the most part, Screamtime is average to “ok”, but I do have to say it had one decent segment which may make it worth seeking out.
The first segment “That’s the Way to Do It” is a story about a puppeteer with a Punch & Judy show. It has quite a predictable ending (he goes crazy) and it ends up with a weak chase of a girl who can’t outrun an old guy. Punch & Judy was always a weird story and I do like the creepy “Punch” voice of Jack as he’s out to kill…but that is about all the thrill and feels like a Trilogy of Terror voodoo doll rip-off.
The third story “Do You Believe in Fairies” also lacks any thrills. The story involves teen breaking into the home of old women. It is muddled by gnomes and fairies that protect the woman…plus, a ghost story involving a ghost killer. There is just too much going on in this story to be enjoyable.
The best story is “Dreamhouse” which is actually pretty good. It has a woman haunted by visions of death in her new home. The murders grow increasingly violent and she goes crazy despite no history of death in the home. It is revealed in the last frames (in classic horror style) that it wasn’t visions of the past but visions of the future as the next family (plus her husband) are murdered by a madman.
I’d recommend checking out the second story in this movie. It is a relatively short movie so it can be pounded out quickly, but if you are pinched for time, only “Dreamhouse” is worth watching for some classic horror. The movie is framed by a weak storyline involving stolen tapes…it is like The Ring (but not scary).
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