Tuesday, October 12, 2010

From a Whisper to a Scream (aka The Offspring)


(1987) **1/2

From a Whisper to a Scream contains four short stories about the fictional town of Oldfield, Tennessee. In the wraparound segment of the film, librarian Vincent Price explains to reporter Susan Tyrrell that the town is a breeding ground for sin and murder.

In the first segment a doddering old fart cares for his ailing, pathetic sister while harboring fantasies for a bitchy younger woman who works with him. Despite an obvious contempt for the man she eventually agrees to go out to dinner with him. Throughout dinner she is rude and when he finally reveals his true feelings she essentially laughs in his face. After accidentally murdering her in his car it is suggested that he has sex with the corpse. Nine months later nothing has changed. He’s still caring for his sister, who seems to have incestuous ideas and he’s still miserable. His mundane existence is disrupted when he is attacked by this,


Apparently you should wear a condom when having sex with a corpse

In the second segment a greedy thug seeks refuge in a swamp with a plan to remain there until the heat gets off his back. While trolling through the marsh he stumbles across an elderly black man who appears to possess a life-prolonging elixir. The temptation for mortality proves to be too much and the hood schemes to take it from the (how old is he?) man.

The final two (inferior) segments involve a carnival glass eater and a tale about evil Union soldiers stuck in a town run by Confederate orphans. Both segments take forever to reach their predictable conclusions and are not worthy of my time to describe them any further.

Near the end of the film after hearing Price’s tales of mayhem Susan exclaims, "It's like something written by Poe or Lovecraft!” Ha, you wish Susan. From a Whisper to a Scream has little in common with the two literary icons in terms of theme or quality. I’m always puzzled as to why anthology films are always such a mixed bag. How difficult can it be to find 3-4 good short stories? I can’t recall a single anthology movie where every segment worked. I’m giving this an extra half star only because I enjoyed seeing Vincent Price in one of his last roles. Speaking of Price,

From Wikipedia, “Vincent Price disliked the movie. In a letter to German actor and puppeteer Gerd J. Pohl, Price wrote: You're right about "From a Whisper to a Scream" - terrible! My agent misrepresented it and I was trapped in it. However, before filming, Vincent Price agreed to star in it because he had confidence in the director, who was just a young filmmaker at the time.”

8 comments:

Landshark said...

Sounds like a challenge: anthology films where all the stories worked.

I can't think of one.

DCD said...

I love the Vincent Price tid bit. Creep Show was a decent anthology, no?

Whirlygirl said...

That corpse baby is foul!

JPX said...

True, the original Creepshow is pretty solid...

Johnny Sweatpants said...

That picture of Vincent Price overemoting is hilarious!

Catfreeek said...

I'm going to try to incorporate doddering old fart into a conversation daily. Anthologies are a funny thing for me. For example, I'll sit through those 2 snore fests in Trilogy of Terror again & again just to get to the Zuni warrior.

50PageMcGee said...

"confidence in the director"

who went on to make such classics as Pumpkinhead 2 and Puppet Master 4 and 5.

Octopunk said...

The original Creepshow is fairly even but sort of generally disappointing. Especially if, like me, you read the tie-in comic in the bookstore and couldn't help notice how the art was way better than the film's versions of the same images.

Corpse baby bad!