Scream for Help (1984) — The doofiest ’80s horror movie ever

“Fine, don’t believe me. Just wait until he kills you!”

Heather’s rating: It’s great to make friends. It’s greater to make friends who find joy in unleashing their B-horror movies on your unsuspecting soul.

Heather’s review: Actually this movie is more like a D-horror movie. It’s the kind of movie where you have to take a shower afterward to get all of that thick, residual layer of stupid off. Also, I believe that I can now thank my friend for my most esoteric review to date. And I watched Santa’s Slay, for Pete’s sake.

I picked my friend up for a simple, innocent trip to the local winery. Little did I know that afterward she would spring upon me one of the funniest abominations on mankind to have been created. We riffed on this piece of dung from beginning to end. This movie. Oh, this movie. It has the kind of laugh-out-loud acting, plot, and scenes that make for the best of riffing, and is home to a slew of atrocious music.

Of course, atrocious music is not unexpected in a B-horror movie. When one has a score that is even remotely preferable to digging around in one’s ear with a rusty spoon is when such a movie’s music is notable. It’s the odd fascination I’m noticing with the movie’s soundtrack, rather than the movie itself, on the internet that I can’t wrap my brain around.

Christie Cromwell suspects her stepfather Paul of trying to murder her and her wealthy mother. She narrates this to us in the opening scene with the same concern as one might point out a piece of lint on one’s shoulder. Key the dramatic screeching noise from our beloved soundtrack! Those first few guffaw-inducing seconds set the tone for a movie full of over-the-top dialogue delivered with the kind of charisma and sincerity that smacks of a cast stuffed with a steady supply of sedatives.

To be honest, if I were Christie and her mother I wouldn’t show any worry over the stepfather/husband Paul, either. That guy has to be the world’s most ineffective murderer on the planet; bumbling through ill-conceived attempt after ill-conceived attempt on his family’s lives and openly “cavorting” with his lover/accomplice, not bothering to shut the blinds or even the windows of his very visible meeting places.

Which brings us to the cover of the soundtrack. Christine was supposedly attempting to gather incriminating evidence against her stepfather. Instead she spent so many scenes staring through blinds at her stepfather and his other woman in the act that I began to question whether my friend and I were watching a horror movie or a recording of a fetishist voyeur.

I can’t end this review without mention of the ridiculous character of Josh Daley, boyfriend of Christine’s best friend and, immediately upon said friend’s death, Christine’s boyfriend. This dude has some seriously unique ideas of how to “help” a friend with her grief. Josh Daley, with his cable-knit opaque sweaters and ridiculous overacting had me laughing so hard that I thought I couldn’t catch my breath. That is, until dude freaking tackled himself at full gallop through a glass door, without breaking stride, to save the whiney Christine. Man, I think my friend and I probably rewound that part so many times we wore out the already struggling VHS copy.

If you consider yourself even a slight fan of bad horror you owe it to yourself to buy this from Amazon. You don’t own a VCR? Don’t care. Buy a VHS…they’re only about five dollars now so just do it. The furrowed brows of your local Best Buy dealer will be worth it in the end, I promise you.

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