Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Vincent Price
FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM (aka The Offspring/1987). Director: Jeff Burr.

After Beth Chandler (Susan Tyrrell) witnesses the execution of murderess Katherine White (Martine Beswick of Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde), she visits White's father, Julian (Vincent Price), who tells her that his daughter was affected by the evil influence of the town of Oldfield. To illustrate his point, he relates several stories from varying time periods. Stanley Burnside (Clu Gulager) has a weird relationship with the sister (Miriam Byrd-Nethery) he lives with, but is developing a passion for a co-worker that leads to disaster. Jesse Hardwick (Terry Kiser), on the run from gangsters, runs into a very old man named Felder Evans (Harry Caesar), who has a life-sustaining potion that Jesse tries to kill for him, but Evans gets terrible revenge upon him. Steven Arden (Ron Brooks) is afraid to love Amarrillis (Didi Lanier) because he's scared of the "Snakewoman" (Rosalind Cash) who runs the carnival where he is employed as a glass eater. This voodoo priestess has terrible powers that keep everyone in thrall to her. Finally, during the very final days of the Civil War, Sgt. Gallen (Cameron Mitchell) and his fellow soldiers come afoul of a group of children who answer to a creepy "magistrate" who does not have the soldiers' best interests at heart. From this situation emerges the new and creepy Oldfield. From a Whisper to a Scream has EC Comics-style plots and features some good performances, especially from Price, Cameron [Pier 5 Havana], and Gulager in a well-done character turn.

Verdict: Absorbing if imperfect horror anthology with a more subdued Price in good form. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

That Susan Tyrell was favorite performance of hers is in the little-known Andy Warhol's Bad. She was actually nominated for a supporting actress Oscar for the movie Fat City, believe it or not. Is she over-the-top in this one? She tends to chew the scenery, but very entertainingly.

William said...

No, like Price, she's fairly subdued, but effective. I have got to see "Fat City" again one of these days -- if I recall, it was quite depressing -- and she did a horror flick called
"Butcher, Baker Nightmare Maker" where she goes maniacally over the edge; Jimmy McNichol (?) is her brother. That's on my list, too; I've never seen it but I read the paperback novelization years ago.