From A Whisper To A Scream 1987 horror DVD
From A Whisper To A Scream
1987's FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM (a.k.a. THE OFFSPRING) is a horror anthology that offers four fear vignettes tied together by a weak, though well-acted, wraparound featuring genre great Vincent Price. Price portrays the town librarian of Oldfield, Tennessee, whose niece has been executed for a series of brutal killings. When a reporter (Susan Tyrell) comes snooping around for the "story behind the story," Price explains that it is the town and its history that drove his niece to become a serial killer, and he illustrates his point by telling four supposedly true stories from the town's historical archives.
Yarn #1 is about a sexually repressed milquetoast who kills and then rapes women to relieve his urges, but one of his victims returns from the grave seeking revenge...or at least child-support payments. This story is the lamest of the four. Segment #2 is about a small-time thug who stumbles across the secret to eternal life. Only problem is, the secret rests with an old hermit who practices voodoo, and the hermit isn't keen on giving up his knowledge. Story #3 also involves voodoo, only this time it's a voodoo priestess who uses her powers to create freaks and geeks for her travelling sideshow. When one performer decides he can no longer stomach a life in show biz, he suffers more than a mere case of indigestion. The final segment is about a troupe of Union Soldiers who stumble into the hands of a band of Confederate orphans. Their minds tainted by the horrors they've seen, the children have formed their own theist government and plan to dish out some justice to the hapless Yanks. It's not hard to see the influence of William Golding's novel LORD OF THE FLIES on this yarn, and though one might also compare it to the screen adaptation of Stephen King's CHILDREN OF THE CORN (1984), this one is actually more chilling.
The wraparound ends the flick with a bit of a surprise ending, but it still just not as interesting as the individual segments. Though Price and Tyrell do an outstanding job with what they are given, each of the vignettes also feature stellar performers--performers such as Clu Gulager, Rosalind Cash, and Cameron Mitchell, to name but a few--and since they are working with better scripts, it makes the wraparound come off as a bit disappointing. Indeed, each of the individual segments, with the possible exception of #1, could certainly stand alone as a strong episode of TALES FROM THE CRYPT or NIGHT GALLERY.
Overall, then, most genre fans will really enjoy FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM, and the DVD from MGM will make a fine edition to any fan's collection. It's relatively no frills, offering only the theatrical trailer as bonus material, but the double-sided disc does offer the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) on one side and the full-screen butchery on the other. Well worth the very reasonable price of admission.
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