“Scream Queens” are kidnapped by a deranged fan and his devoted mother who then film their deaths for a performance art pieces before mounting their noggins on the mantle in this love letter to horror actresses of the eighties.
The movie starts with an establishing shot of film nerd Max’s basement living space. The style is an impressive den and dungeon motif but it’s safe to say this pad won’t be featured on one of those reality TV makeover shows. The sole occupant is Max and his extensive collection of B-movie memorabilia. Mom stops down to collect the laundry put pretty much stays upstairs in the home proper.
Max decides to change his situation but not in the traditional way. No getting a job or going back to college for this fan-boy. He opts to stop pining over his favorite horror stars and instead kidnap them. His reasoning is that he can give them all a good send off by having them recreate a scene from one of their films which he will then tape.
Twisted ,especially the kidnapping part, but that’s not all he’s come up with. He also plans to kill the starlets on screen and thus preserve their memory forever on celluloid. Turns out this is the kind of super plan one comes up with after a history of sponging off mom, enjoying unemployment, and rocking a steady line of frayed sweat pants while going to town on pudding snacks.
Finding the stars proves simple enough despite the fact that many of them have moved on from the business. He kidnaps them with mom’s aid as well as that of a creepy van and a handy stun gun. Then he stuffs them in his basement cages before filming their farewell flicks.
That’s pretty much the plot but what helps is that the film manages to gather up the original trio who coined the ‘Scream Queen ” label. They include Michelle Bauer, Linnea Quigley and Brinke Stevens. They all look great and still prove to be endurable performers who can whip off one liners while screaming, running, jumping, or just baking under hot lights in skimpy costumes. Each pokes fun at their own image with Quigley having the best time as a born again version of herself who regrets all of the films she made.
The movie also gets a boost from having complete access to the colorfully titled low budget films these gals starred in such as ‘Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers,” “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama” and “Creepazoids.” That’s because they are all owned by Full Mon Features which also handled this flick. It’s a smart marketing ploy for director Charles Band who also happens to own the company. That said he did produce many of the films that launched these stars so it all feels like old home week for the performers and fans who remember these movies.
Fun stuff that winks unashamedly at the audience and invites them along for one more ride.
Best Line: “You just committed murder and are now talking to a disembodied head.”
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.