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Title: From a Whisper to a Scream

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :3.5stars:
Extras: :4.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:74

It takes a lot to creep me out with a horror film. I’ve seen them all, and most modern horror films are less “creepy” and more “gory in nature. Horror is something of a lost art in modern times, and while there are some great pioneers in the field still, much of it is just schlocky fun. Travel back 28 years to 1987 when heave film grain and the macabre were still in high form. Welcome to Oldfield Tennessee, a town that is saturated in evil. So much so that we are here to bear witness the execution of a murderess. A reporter at the scene of the execution decides to visit the town historian, who also happens to be the uncle of said murderess to pick his brain on what may have created such a monster. There our old narrator, Julian (Vincent Price), narrates 4 tales of terror that set the stage for just why this old town is home to so many monstrosities. Each tale is separate and seemingly unrelated at first, but it soon becomes clear that a common thread ties all of these tales of the macabre together.

Our first tale of terror is about a dweebish little man named Stanley (Clu Gulager) who’s in love with his coworker, Grace (Megan McFarland). Living alone with his sister in Oldfield, he dreams of a life with the lovely Grace, and even goes so far as to ask her out on a date. Shunned and humiliated Clu decides that you don’t have to lose out on love, even if they don’t love you back. Next we have a tale of greed gone awry. Set up by his ex-girlfriend, Con man Jesse Hardwick (Terry Kiser), gets gunned down in the outback of Oldfield only to be nursed back to health by a backwoods hermit. Learning that this old man is actually hundreds of years old, Jesse gets a little too greedy for his own good and tries to take the secret from the old man, including his life. As you may have guessed, things don’t exactly turn out so well for poor Jesse. Moving on, we have a tale of a carnival freak who star who falls in love with a young girl outside of the carnival. For anyone else this would be a thing of normalcy, but when you have a voodoo practicing boss who refuses to let you go, then things start to get a bit “icky”. Last, but not least, Julian tells a tale of where it all started, how Oldfield begot the curse that haunts it to this day. Back in the Civil War the town was a normal town, but the razing of its populace created a breeding ground for resentment and a twisted hatred of the natural order among the surviving children. These children have now captured a rag tag group of soldiers coming back from the battle, and soon perpetuate even more evil than what came before.

Horror anthologies are a weird thing. I love them and I hate them at the same time. They usually follow the same pattern as all other horror anthologies before them. Due to the limited timeframe of each story, we get a tale that starts out creepy and movies to intensely disturbing as fast as possible in an effort to shock and terrify the audience. The thing is, it usually works! Even though I have a love of solidly drawn out tales with plot and a resolution, these little vignettes of terror do end up actually leaving the audience with a sense of dread and terror from the horrific endings. Most horror movies end up with someone winning at the end. Usually the cute or nerdy girl while everyone else dies in a bloodbath. In “From a Whisper to a Scream” NO ONE ends up happy. It follows the classic rule of horror. Be horrifying. As I mentioned in the first line of the review, I’m not creeped out very often, but this one actually left me with chills down my spine. I for one am definitely take a glass of wine tonight to help the sleep come (hopefully). The stories aren’t perfect by any means, and some of them are cliché ridden, but the gut wrenching tales end with such bloody enthusiasm that you can’t help but love the sense of horror and dread they bring with them.

Vincent Price is one of my favorite horror icons. The man has been involved in the genre for literally DECADES during his acting career, both in pictures as well as in those old fashioned radio dramas playing in such shows as “Suspense” or “Johnny Dollar” (of which I was a rabid fan of listening to those old dramas as a child). Seeing the old man and hearing that distinctly soft and unique voice just sends delightful chills down my spine, remembering those creepy tales from the past. He sets the tone perfectly, as that ancient old man with incredible knowledge of the evil that has happened in Oldfield and his narration is one of the highlights of the show. The ending can be seen from a mile away if you’re any fan of classic horror, but the journey is 90% of the fun and the 4 tales contained within the greater narrative is wickedly twisted enough to have me give it two thumbs up.


Rated R by the MPAA

Video :3.5stars:
There’s a lot of great things to be said about this remastered edition of “From a Whisper to a Scream”. The image looks better than it ever has before with vibrant colors and a nice authentic layer of film grain to match. The film is actually REALLY grainy, which isn’t a fault of the encode or the restoration, but rather a sign of the times it was created in. that being said, there is an incredible amount of detail shown in this restoration, many times rivaling films of a more modern times. The black levels are deep and inky and show no signs of crush or greyish blacks. The only problem comes from a bit of compression artifacts that show up now and again. There’s some persistent macroblocking at certain areas and I noticed dithering during some sky shots that looked a bit odd. It’s not that the image is bad or even disappointing, but the artifacting makes the image look a tad more digital than it should be at times.

Audio :3.5stars:
I noticed on the back that it lists a DTS-HD MA 2.0 track as the main audio experience, but if you look closely it’s actually a 2.0 uncompressed track. While that delivers the same experience as DTS-HD MA, I was just surprised to see an uncompressed track this long after the format had been completed. Filling up over 6 gigs of space, the audio track alone takes up a good chunk of the available space on the disc. However, the track is quite pleasant, with solid vocals and nice use of the front sound stage. There is some hissing and sharpness to the track, which is indicative of the recording devices used back in the late 80s, giving the effect that the movie is actually much older than it actually is. A good track, and one that fits the grainy picture quite well, it gives the feeling of an ancient movie that hearkens back to a decade of terror long since expired.

Extras :4.5stars:

• A Decade Under the Innocence
• Return to Oldfield: The Making of From a Whisper to a Scream
• Audio Commentaries
• Still Gallery
• Trailer and TV Spots

Overall: :4stars:

“Inherent Vice” is very much a movie that isn’t going to resonate with everyone the same way. It’s one of those films that you will either “get it” or you don’t. A love it or hate it type of situation with very little room for any in between feelings. It’s psychedelic, it’s wildly cheeky and a strange trippy film that fans of PT Anderson may find refreshing. I would honestly recommend it as a rental first, not because I didn’t find it a great movie, but because it’s style is so very unique and post modernistic that I don’t believe it’s safe blind buy material. The audio and video are excellent, and despite the horrific lack of extras, the package itself is fantastic and even includes an all new Menu style by WB as well as a reversible cover that accentuates the bizarre nature of the film quite nicely. Rent before you buy and see if the movie resonates with you as well as it did with me.

Additional Information:

Starring: Vincent Price, Clu Galager, Terry Kiser, Harry Caesar
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: PCM 2.0
Studio: SCREAM FActory
Rated: R
Runtime: 99 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 28th 2015

Buy From a Whisper to a Scream On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Deliciously Creepy

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