Something to Scream About
by Barry Meyer
Spend an hour with the beautiful sirens of B-movie cinema!
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Something To Scream About is a fairly lackluster, but enamored look at the girls we have come to know as the “scream queens.” It focuses on 9 rather popular actresses from the B-movie scene, as they talk about the ups and downs of being a queen of the Bs. Some of the women have been working since the heyday of exploitation flicks in the 70s and 80s, while others are generally newcomers, entering the scene in the 90s. This doc gives all their fans an adoring look at who the real women are behind all the screaming.
The stories, and the girls, are interesting enough, but I think that director Jason Paul Collum is a bit too enamored with his idols that he misses an opportunity to move beyond the generic fanboy look at their work, and really explore the more genuine emotions and thoughts that these women must harbor. There is certainly plenty of ripe opportunity with the boisterous Amazon-esque Julie Strain, who talks quite openly about her body overhaul and her views on growing old in a youth-marketed world of movies. There is also the self-reflective, almost penitent Debbie Rochon who obviously has the emotional bearing and desire to tackle real acting roles.
This DVD is put out by the crazy folks over at Tempe Entertainment, who have a reputation for producing packages that give the fans plenty of bang for their buck. They don’t disappoint here! Included bonus features are a short introduction to Julie Strain’s younger half-sister (if I’m not mistaken) Lizzy Strain – who seems pretty clueless about why she even wants to be in this biz; and there are also some excerpts of student films that Debbie Rochon made (or was featured in, it wasn’t made clear) in 1986.
But the main extra seems to be a short psycho-thriller Julia Wept, made by the documentary’s director. I was puzzled as to why this piece was included (other than it stars STCA’s hostess, Brinke Stevens). The film’s intro details Collum’s desire to prove his worth as a filmmaker, but to watch it would make you scratch your head, wondering what the big deal is. Julia Wept is an overwrought short, filled with long looks down hallways and staircases, and deep stares into closets and doorways, all of it culminating in a predictable ending. Nothing very impressive here, down to the horrible audio, which was clearly captured from the mic mounted in the camera. Collum would have been better off leaving this piece off, or at least erasing the self-congratulating introduction. With that said, the JW segment is redeemed with the inclusion of an interview with Brooke Stevens and the co-star who plays her son. The interview begins with the revelation that Brooke is actually romantically involved with the boy, and has been since she met him, when he was only 16, at a horror convention. This little bit of info should give fanboys all across America some real hope!
As a documentary, Something To Scream About falls a bit short. But as fan appreciation it is definitely worth its weight.
Barry Meyer is a scriptwriter living in Jersey… Not that that means anything.
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