Scream Factory really seems to be on top of the Vincent Price horror film genre, having already given Blu-ray treatments to 13 Vincent Price movies in two different collector sets. As a big Vincent Price fan I couldn’t be happier. For the most part, the releases have been of Price’s earlier, more well-known releases up until now with the release of a lesser-known 1987 Price film From a Whisper to a Scream (it was actually made in 1985 but not released until 1987).
Aside from a brief appearance in Edward Scissorhands this is actually Vincent Price’s final starring role in a horror film. In the 1980’s horror films had moved towards the slasher genre with various teenagers being murdered by Freddy, Jason, or what-have-you. From a Whisper to a Scream was an attempt to bring back an older genre of horror film: the anthology, in which we are treated to a series of smaller stories rather than one long story.
The film starts with an execution and possibly one of the most intense moments of the whole movie. It really starts right off. From there, we go to a small town in Tennessee called Oldfield where the city historian, and uncle to the executed, Julian White (Vincent Price) has been visited by a reporter. During the interview, White takes the opportunity to tell the reporter four (loosely) connected stories of Oldfield’s troubled past. The first segment is in modern day and is about a grocery clerk that wants to date his beautiful boss. Perhaps one of the most disturbing segments, it indirectly touches on the taboos of both incest and necrophilia. The next story goes back in time to 1950’s where a man on the run from gangsters runs in a mystery man that is apparently unrelated to his own events but as they talk something is up. The man on the run determines to know what secret the mysterious stranger is keeping. The third story goes back even further to the 30’s at a carnival where a carnival patron falls in love with one of the performers. The performer’s boss at the carnival is displeased and it leads to a lot of mayhem at the carnival. The final story takes a huge leap back to the Civil War. Some Union soldiers come across an old farmhouse where there are only children. No adults can be found and they are assumed to be orphans but we quickly learn that the children are not what they seem.
It’s not a bad film as far as anthologies go and it’s always hard to find anthologies where you really like every segment. Personally, I found that two of the four segments were really good and the other two were OK. Vincent Price really ties it all together between the segments with his usually persona and the idea that he is leading up to something we are not meant to know until just at the very end. Price is somewhat understated in the performance as most of his scenes are only in one or two rooms but something about his delivery makes everything seem as if it’s one piece. There is plenty of gore (more than I’m used to seeing in a Vincent Price movie), some nudity (though not in relation to any sexual activity), and solid special effects. The cinematography is good and the mood for all the segments is well-done. The acting is also pretty good all around, so it’s a little surprising it got shelved as long as it did unless it was just considered too tame for slasher fans or a little too gory for Vincent Price fans. Either way, it’s a good thing it finally did get released.
From a Whisper to a Scream is present in 1080p resolution with a 1.85:1 ratio. The imaging is probably cleaned up as much as was possible from a lower quality original print so the super-fine detail is not present but overall the image is very clear and clean. Some of the details are a little weak but on the other hand, some of the close-ups are extremely details. Mostly, it is pretty smooth and has a better than average overall video quality. The audio comes in an English 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo with English subtitles. The sound isn’t amazing but serves for the type of movie it is (low end noises are not necessary as there is not a lot of shooting or exploding going on); it’s mostly clear with very little distorted sound and the dialog is all very nice and clean and easily heard.
- Return To Oldfield – A Comprehensive Feature-Length Documentary About The Making Of From A Whisper To A Scream, Featuring Director Jeff Burr, Producer Darin Scott, Co-Screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner, Actor Clu Gulagar And More!
- A Decade Under The Innocence – A Feature-Length Documentary About Teenage Adventures In ‘Super 8’ Filmmaking During The 1970’s In Georgia, Featuring Director Jeff Burr And More!
- New Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Jeff Burr
- Audio Commentary With Writer/Producer Darin Scott And Writer C. Courtney Joyner
- Still Gallery With Commentary By Writer/Director Jeff Burr
- Theatrical Trailer
- “The Offspring” TV Spots
Overall, From a Whisper to a Scream is a solid entry into the horror and anthology catalog. It is well made and at least one of the segments will appeal to most views while Vincent Price’s narration will satisfy the majority of Price and horror fans. Being Vincent Price’s last film I think that the film does a good job or portraying him as most people want to see him and is a solid film on which to wrap up a decades-long career.
From a Whisper to a Scream is available from Scream Factory on Tuesday, April 28th
Fun Fact: Jeff Burr was a young, new filmmaker when he boldly approached Vincent Price and asked him to star in his film. Price was so impressed with Burr’s confidence that he readily agreed to take the role. Second choice would have been Max von Sydow.
Photo Credit: Scream Factory