And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973)

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Released 15-Feb-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Roy Ward Baker (Director) And Stephanie Beacham (Actress)
Audio Commentary-Ian Ogilvy (Actor)
Trailer-The Amicus Collection
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 90:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Roy Ward Baker
Studio
Distributor
Harbor Productions
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Peter Cushing
Herbert Lom
Patrick Magee
Stephanie Beacham
Ian Ogilvy
Geoffrey Whitehead
Guy Rolfe
Rosalie Crutchley
Gillian Lind
Sally Harrison
Janet Key
John Sharp
Norman Mitchell
Case PUSH-1 (Opaque)
RPI $24.95 Music Douglas Gamley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    And Now The Screaming Starts is a Gothic supernatural story set in England in 1795. Something is wrong in the house of Fengriffen. The lord of the manor, Sir Charles (Ian Ogilvy), brings his virgin bride, Catherine (Stephanie Beacham), back to the manor and a seemingly idyllic country life. But almost immediately strange things occur. A bloodied hand thrusts itself out from a painting of Charles' grandfather Henry. She also sees a vision of a man with a bloodied stump instead of a hand, with both his eyes missing. Anyone who tries to tell Catherine about the history of the house or to take her away dies mysteriously. A woodsman who lives on the grounds seems to be hiding some secret. When the modern-thinking Dr Pope (Peter Cushing) arrives, he tries to work out what is happening, from a rational point of view of course. But something irrational is happening.

    Based on a Gothic story by David Case, the film was originally to be called The Bride of Fengriffen, until moneyman Max Rosenberg intervened with his commercially-minded title. There certainly is a lot of screaming, but the new name seems to have been unpopular with cast and crew. Whatever the name, this is not the best film Amicus produced. In fact, it is quite dull and ponderous, especially in the first half. This is, however, one case where the extras help one's appreciation of the result. After listening to both commentaries I had a number of insights into what the filmmakers were trying to achieve, even if the film remains one I would not watch again in a hurry.

    Not that the movie lacks compensations. Stephanie Beacham is extremely easy on the eye, and gives a full-blooded performance. There's no winking at the audience here: you believe that she really believes in the character and gives it her all. Ian Ogilvy is slightly bland as Charles, though he is really just a supporting character. Peter Cushing is as usual worth seeing, and the film improves once he comes on the scene. There are also some fine actors in support, such as Patrick Magee, Guy Rolfe and Rosalie Crutchley. Herbert Lom appears in a brief flashback as the wicked Henry.

    Roy Ward Baker's direction is a little pedestrian, and some of the acting in minor parts could have been better. The production design is good, but seems to me to be a little flat. Perhaps the lighting illuminates too much of the set. I would have preferred a lot of dark shadows to give the inside of the house more character. In the end it looks not unlike a television production, like one of those lush but shallow period dramas the BBC turns out from time to time. Amicus's animated hand technology has also moved on considerably since Dr Terror's House of Horrors.

    While the film is really just a bland and only occasionally compelling horror film, it is worthwhile listening to one or both of the audio commentaries, which are very good. The film comes as part of the Amicus Collection box set, and is not available separately at the time of writing.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a good transfer with sufficient detail to make viewing easy. It is very much on a par with other releases in this series. Detail level in daylight scenes is much better than in the darker sequences. The latter are often murky and some low level noise is visible. Contrast is good for the most part. Colour is more variable. Some sequences are just as one would expect in the cinema, but in others the colour seems skewed to the red part of the spectrum. Flesh tones suffer most, with the actors sometimes looking as if they had just come back from a holiday in Majorca, rather than looking like typical Eighteenth Century gentry.

    There are no serious compression artefacts. There is a lot of telecine wobble throughout the film. Most of the time this is not noticeable unless you are looking for it. There are a lot of film artefacts, mainly white flecks indicating print damage. There are occasional faint scratches and some dirt is evident.

    No subtitles are provided. The film is squeezed onto a single-layer disc, so there is no layer change to report.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The sole audio track is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The soundtrack is typical for this series. The audio is slightly thin in the upper frequencies, possible a result of the original mono recording, though I suspect that the digital transfer has also affected it. The dialogue often sounds more sibilant than it should be. Otherwise the audio is workmanlike, and the frequent screams of the female star are well rendered.

    Douglas Gamley contributed the music score. This is quite an effective score, with a lush TV-style opening theme suggesting the film might just be a historical romance, which it turns out not to be. There are some effective eerie moments, though it all sounds derivative.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    The main menu features some of the soundtrack music.

Audio Commentary-Roy Ward Baker (Director) and Stephanie Beacham (Actress)

    Marcus Hearn moderates this interview with the director of the film and its star. This is a fine and interesting commentary, with Baker's measured observations and recollections complemented by Beacham's enthusiasm for the film. There are a lot of illuminating comments about the lighting, costumes and sets. Like the Asylum disc, the menu has the director's surname as Barker.

Audio Commentary-Ian Ogilvy (Actor)

    Film historian Darren Gross hosts this commentary. I had some misgivings about this commentary, not expecting Ogilvy to be such a good choice as a commentator. Unlike most of the commentaries in the Amicus Collection, there are almost no dead spots. Ogilvy not only remembers this film and his career with enthusiasm (how many other actors worked with Cushing, Boris Karloff and Vincent Price?), but does so without any ego getting in the way. He seems quite chuffed that the house used for the exterior shots was also used for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a favourite film of his step-children. While he hadn't seen the film in almost thirty years, he still has memories of the people and the era which make this commentary highly enjoyable. I wish all commentaries were to this standard.

Trailer-The Amicus Collection (3:28)

    Trailers for The City of the Dead, The Beast Must Die and And Now The Screaming Starts. The first two are letterboxed and look quite poor, especially the second, while the last is 16x9 enhanced and looks a lot better in comparison. These same trailers seem to be on every one of the discs in this set.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 is nearly identical to the UK Region 2 release, which likewise is available as part of a set called The Amicus Collection but not separately. The Region 2 set has only the five films omitting The City of the Dead.

    The major difference is in the audio section, with the Region 2 having two surround mixes, in DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1, as well as the authentic monaural soundtrack. The Region 2 also has some additional extras, being a TV spot, a phot gallery, some production notes and cast biographies.

    The US Region 1 release from Image is in 1.85:1 but is not 16x9 enhanced. It has a photo gallery and a trailer as extras.

    There appears to be no substantial difference between the Region 2 and Region 4 editions of this film, but as neither are available separately you would need to purchase the box set, and the Region 4 has the edge as it contains an extra film.

Summary

    A slightly dull but well made Gothic thriller.

    The video quality and audio quality are very good.

    Two excellent commentaries for extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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