Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 8th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: UK, 1973
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Writer: Roger Marshall
Cast: Stephanie Beacham, Ian Ogilvy, Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee
DVD released: July 25th, 2006
Approximate running time: 90 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Charles Fengriffen and his bride Catherine (Stephanie Beacham ) return to his family estate after getting married. On the bight of their wedding Catherine is raped a ghost who haunts the Fengriffen estate. Each new day brings about more visions that haunt Catherine and only further push her to the edge of sanity. When all else fails Doctor Pope (Peter Cushing) is called into help Catherine overcome her nervous breakdown. Doctor Pope soon faces new challenges in the form of supernatural entitles while trying to uncover some of the families past. Has Catherine lost her mind or is someone from the past to blame?
And Now the Screaming Starts is a departure from Amicus’s previous horror films as it is set in the past instead of present day. Many of the films location used were also used in many Hammer films. The costumes like the sets are equally impressive and give this low budget affair a more polished look. And Now the Screaming Starts is also one of the few times Amicus made a feature length story verse their typical anthology releases.
The film is directed by Roy Ward Baker who keeps things interesting despite the films slow moving plot. The scares in this film are more creepy then frightening. This films greatest strength is its acting which includes very good performance from Stephanie Beacham as Catherine and a delirious performance form the ever so enjoyable Herbert Lom as Henry Fengriffen. Other solid performances include supporting roles from Peter Cushing and Peter Cushing. The one role that just falls flat and did nothing of me was Ian Ogilvy as Charles Fengriffen.
The reliable Douglas Gamley provides yet another wonderful score that is full of atmosphere. The plot is not without its flaws like how Catherine recovers from being raped on her wedding night only to jump into bed with her husband right away. The films best moments involve the scenes with Herbert Lom who just steals every moment he is in with his maniacal flair. Peter Cushing is underused despite being top billing as he arrives almost half way through the film. His arrival does give the film which had dragged up to that point a more interesting direction.
Overall And Now the Screaming Starts is an entertaining and underrated film that should be held in the same regard as Hammers classic gothic horror films.
And Now the Screaming Starts is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Colors look vivid and nicely saturated throughout. Black levels remain solid and details are sharp through out. Outside of some minor instances of grain this transfer is in excellent shape.
This release comes with one audio option the films original English language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. There are no problems with hiss, distortion or any other sounds defects. Dialog is crisp and the music and effects sound evenly balanced as they never overpower the rest of the mix. Removable subtitles have also been included.
Extras include trailers for And Now the Screaming Starts, The Beast Must Die and Asylum, a still gallery, text bios for cast and crew members. The main extras for this release are two audio commentaries. The first audio commentary is with Roy Ward Baker (director), Stephanie Beacham (actress) and this track is moderated by Marcus Hearn. The second commentary is with Ian Ogilvy (actor) and this track is moderated by Darren Gross. The first audio commentary is the livelier of the two while the second one with Ian Ogilvy tends to drag as he tends to not remembered much about this film. This release also comes with a DVD insert that includes liner notes about And Now the Screaming Starts written by Chris Gullo.
And Now the Screaming Starts had been previous released in the region 1 via Image Entertainment and in the UK as part of Anchor Bay’s Amicus collection. Dark Sky Films release carries over all the extras included from the Image and UK releases. Dark Sky Films gives And Now the Screaming Starts its long overdue special edition DVD in region 1, highly recommended.
For more information about And Now the Screaming Starts and other Amicus titles released by Dark Sky Films visit their website.