Great Idea? It was indeed. Collum pulled off a beautifully personal interview with each of the dynamic personalities without attempting to make it controversial, disturbing, or sensationalized. By allowing the actresses (whose personalities we hardly ever see on the screen since they are usually playing a victim, a killer, or a sexual entity) to really be themselves, the viewer gets to see what these women are really like.
Who was interviewed? With so many women acting in horror films these days, and in pervious years, its must have been difficult for Collum to decide on only ten of them. Hosted by the striking Brinke Stevens (SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE) who has been a horror icon for years, SOMETHING TO SCREAM ABOUT gets personal with the likes of Ariauna Albright (WITCHHOUSE 2: BLOOD COVEN), Brandi Burkett (SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE 3), Debra DeLiso (SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE), Denise Duff (SUBSPECIES 2), Judith O'Dea (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), Debbie Rochon (TROMEO AND JULIET), Felissa Rose (SLEEPAWAY CAMP), Lilith Stabs (SEVERE INJURIES), and Julie Strain (HEAVY METAL 2000). Each woman has a distinct persona and film history, and this film not only contrasts, but also compares, their experiences as actresses in the horror genre. Judith O'Dea's classy and refined attitude towards acting, Debbie Rochon's truthful sincerity, Julie Strain's flamboyant personality, and Lilith Stab's sexy demeanor stand out considerably of all the actresses in this documentary. Brinke Stevens is well versed in the ways of low budget horror, and introduces each topic with confidence.
When it comes to the motivation that these women feel to act in these films, they all cite the same things; they find it refreshing and intimate to do horror and low budget films. They find that the relationships they develop with their fellow filmmakers while working on a film strongly outweigh the experience of working on a higher budget film. They're not there for the cash; they're there for the joy. The fans are a large part of what makes it rewarding for them. They discuss their feelings about their fans, and the negative aspect of their fan base: stalkers.
Giving the opinion that they are able to do what so many people wish they could be a part of, these women enjoy their jobs and are grateful for the chance to act.
They try to analyze what makes them stand out among other actresses, and why they are remembered for the films they have done. Debbie Rochon says there are three things an actress must do in order to be remembered: give a good performance, do a great or interesting thing in the film, or wear prosthesis of some kind. Debbie knows what she's talking about. She has been in many Troma films where she has done one, or all, of the above.
Topics like nudity, ageing, violence in horror and against women, their early performances, and the term 'Scream Queen' are debated at length.
Judith O'Dea makes the interesting observation that though they are termed 'Scream Queens', she never seemed to do much screaming in her role as Barbara in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. On the same note, Julie Strain observes that it is usually she who causes the screaming in her films. Nevertheless, the name stuck and is applied to all attractive women who act in low budget horror films.
There are extra features on this DVD including a fun introduction of Julie Strain's sister Lizzy Strain, poorly shot and filmed at a convention of some kind, but interesting nonetheless, five minutes of poorly shot and terribly amateur Debbie Rochon footage from 1986 when she was a student, and a short film by the director Collum called JULIA WEPT.
Written and Directed by: Jason Paul Collum
2000 - 30-minutes/Full screen
JULIA WEPT is a story about guilt and regret. A woman named Julia (Julie King) is distraught over the death of her sister. She feels responsible for this tragedy because as her sister lay ill in the hospital, it was Julia who made the decision to turn off the life support machines and let her sister die peacefully. However, though it has been 8 months, Julia cannot seem to get on with her life. Trapped in an unsympathetic marriage, Julia goes about her day unhappy and forlorn. At the same time, a woman (Brinke Stevens) and her son are running late. The woman has to go to work, and her son is going to be late for school again. In a momentary lapse of concentration, Julia's car hits the car of this mother and son while they are both rushing to where they need to go.
The next thing you see is Julia waking up in her own house. Though she recognizes where she is, everything seems distorted. She does not seem to remember anything about the accident. As she attempt to piece together her day, she begins to suffer from memories, hallucinations, and ghostly visitations. Unable to comprehend what is happening to her, Julia wander aimlessly through the rest of the movie dealing with her unresolved guilt and fear, in a directionless and confused way.
JULIA WEPT is filmed poorly but acted well. Julie King and Brinke Stevens hold the film together nicely, often acting in scenes that make little or no sense and are not relevant to the plot. Amateur camera work and lighting give this film a very low budget feel. A confusing script that focuses mostly on ghostly apparitions and cheap scares, JULIA WEPT attempts to deal with intense guilt and sorrow in vain. Instead of the artistic and poetic statement about purgatory, heaven, hell, and the sins that stay with us even after death, JULIA WEPT gives us a GOTHIKA style mini-thriller full of dripping blood and warped sound effects. JULIA WEPT is an enjoyable film, if taken in that context. Compared to SOMETHING TO SCREAM ABOUT, JULIA WEPT was inferior and seems to have taught Collum about direction, which is superb in SOMETHING TO SCREAM ABOUT.