Well, I go from a box set I like to a box set that I am disappointed with. Such is the way of life. Well, today’s movie is from the Chilling Classics box set and I am already preparing for the worst with this movie. Now I have never heard of this movie, so I obviously don’t know anything about it but seeing as how this is a low budget horror movie from the 70’s, it’s probably going to be a train wreck. Let’s see just how bad of a wreck today’s movie is as I watch Scream Bloody Murder (1973).
The plot: Matthew’s father is driving a tractor in the field one day and stops to do some work on it. Matthew, who was playing in the field, gets in the tractor and uses it to run over his father. When he can’t get control of the tractor, he tries to jump clear of it but ends up having his left hand run over by the tractor. Matthew is sent to a psychiatric hospital to stay and has his damaged hand replaced with a hook. As Matthew gets older, he receives letters from his mother Daisy, who is unable to visit him, and she constantly mentions a neighbor called Mack Parsons in them, causing Matthew to get resentful of Parsons. When he turns 18, Matthew is released from the hospital and he goes home but when he finds nobody at the house, he sits on the porch swing to wait. A short time later, a car pulls up and Daisy and Parsons get out, having just been married, and say goodbye to their friends that dropped them off. The newlywed couple are surprised to see Matthew there and try to talk to him but he is upset about Daisy remarrying and yells at them. Parsons tries to get Matthew to be at ease with him, telling him he doesn’t have to call him dad, but Matthew’s mood doesn’t appear changed. That night, Parsons and Daisy go out to the barn to fool around and discuss Matthew, unaware that he had followed them with an axe. Daisy leaves to head back to the house and Parsons follows a short while later but stops when he hears Matthew following him. Parsons starts to get frightened and yells out at the person following him only to turn and see Matthew, who kills him with the axe. Daisy had gone to Matthews room with some milk and pie but when she sees he is not there, she goes looking for him. She finds him standing over Parsons’ body and is horrified at what he had done. Matthew says that she didn’t need him touching her and that he will take care of her but she argues that she loved Parsons. Matthew gets mad and accidentally kills her when she falls and hits her head on a rock. Matthew decides to leave town and on his way out, talks to the owner of the gas station, convincing him not to go up to the house for a few days. When a couple, Brenda and Lex, pull up to get some gas, they offer to give Matthew a ride out of town and he accepts. As they are driving, Brenda tells Matthew that they just eloped and Matthew offers them congratulations. When they stop to cool off at a stream, Brenda and Lex go play in the stream and tell Matthew to join them but Matthew ends up seeing Daisy and Parson’s face and starts yelling at Lex to not touch her. He starts throwing rocks at Lex before racing towards him and killing him by repeatedly hitting him in the head with a rock. Brenda yells at him to stop and Matthew says he did it for her so he wouldn’t touch her anymore. Continuing to mistake Brenda for his mom, Matthew ends up choking her before dropping her face first into the stream, killing her for rejecting him. Matthew starts to drive off in their car but as he continues to see visions of Daisy and Parsons so he pulls over and tries to run from them. Eventually, Matthew hitches a ride in the back of a truck and ends up at a beach town. As he wanders around, he sees a woman painting outside her house and she asks him if he likes her painting. Matthew says he does and she introduces herself as Vera and the two start talking when they are interrupted by a sailor, who pays Vera for sex before he sails out the next day. Matthew tries to tell Vera not to go but when she tells him she does what she wants, he apologizes and she closes the door. As Vera and the sailor have sex, Matthew watches from a window and sees Daisy and Parsons instead. When the sailor leaves, Matthew approaches him and attacks him before slitting his throat with a knife. Matthew goes back to Vera’s house and talks with her some more, telling her she doesn’t have to do this anymore and that his family is rich and he can take care of her. Vera tells him she has heard similar lies before and they can still be friends so long as he is honest with her and Matthew agrees and leaves for the night. The next day, Matthew heads to a mansion and when the maid, Bridey-Lee, answers the door, he tells her his car broke down and convinces her to let him in to use the phone. As he pretends to call a repair shop, Bridey-Lee gets distracted when the mansion’s owner, Helen Anatole, calls out for her help. Matthew grabs a meat cleaver and kills Bridey-Lee, then heads upstairs to kill Helen, who tries and fails to fend him off with her cane. After killing the dog, Matthew changes clothes and heads over to see Vera, convincing her to go for a drive in his car and see his mansion. Once there, Matthew tries to convince Vera to stay there with him but when she refuses and says she has to go back to her place, they argue and during the struggle, Vera ends up falling down the stairs. Matthew apologizes for hurting her and takes Vera upstairs and ties her to a bed so she can’t escape. Matthew goes out and robs some people in order to buy some food and items to try and get Vera to like him but she refuses to do so. One day, Matthew leaves her bound and gagged, as well as tied to a chair, while he leaves the house but she manages to get free from the chair. Making her way downstairs, she tries to answer the door when a boy shows up trying to sell candy but she is unable to do so. She makes her way to the kitchen and after knocking the phone off the hook, manages to get the gag out of her mouth but before she can tell the operator what is going on, Matthew shows up and hangs up the phone. Matthew tries to get Vera to paint but she refuses as she says she feels like a dog on a leash due to Matthew keeping her tied up. When someone knocks on the door, Vera tries to scream for help but Matthew ties her up and gags her, then puts her in the closet where Bridey-Lee and Helen’s bodies are. Matthew opens the door to see Helen’s doctor, Dr. Epstein, at the door to check on Helen. Matthew tries to pass himself off as Helen’s nephew who is house sitting while she is out of town but Epstein gets suspicious and forces his way in to check for himself. When Vera manages to make enough noise to attract his attention, Epstein opens the closet and sees Vera and the bodies but Matthew uses a bust to kill him. Vera decides to try and do what Matthew wants and convinces him to let her take a bath. As Matthew tells her to take off her clothes, Vera notices he is uncomfortable about sex and decides to use that to her advantage. When she is finished with her bath, she takes the coat hook off the door and hides it in her towel. Approaching Matthew, she teases him and tries to get him to have sex with her, but then stabs him with the hook. Vera runs downstairs and tries to escape but when she opens the door, Matthew is standing there and he rips her throat out with his hook. Staring at her body, Matthew is taunted by the image of Vera laughing at him and he tries to run from it. Making his way through the city, constantly hearing the taunting laughter, Matthew enters a church and, haunted by the images of all the people he killed, he uses his own hook to kill himself.
Oh yeh. This was exactly the train wreck I thought I would be watching today. This movie was a mess. The acting was incredibly stiff, except for Leigh Mitchell, who did double duty as both Daisy and Vera, but showed a lot more emotion as Vera. Freed Holbert just acted awkward, and I don’t think it was all part of the character. The story was a little twisted and while they laid out the idea that Matthew had some sort of an Oedipal complex towards his mother, they never really came out and said it. Some of the scenes were just incredibly bad like when Matthew killed Bridey-Lee, which consisted of the camera focusing on Matthew wildly slashing with the knife, then cutting to Bridey thrashing about, combining to form a completely discombobulated mess. There is not a whole lot of redeeming qualities to this movie so watch at your own risk.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5