Horror anthologies have long been part of the genre yet not many have actually got it right. And anthologies have seemed to have been reinvigorated in the past few years as well thanks for films like The ABCs of Death, V/H/S and Trick r’ Treat. And along with the most well-known examples like Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt, there are some lesser known films that have become cult favorites out there as well, one of which hit’s Blu-ray for the first time this month, From a Whisper to a Scream.
In the small town on Oldfield, Tennessee, a reporter (Susan Tyrrell) finds her way to historian Julian White (Vincent Price), whose niece has just been executed for a series of brutal killings. Julian enlightens the reporter with four stories of Oldfield’s dark past. The first story involves a timid grocery clerk who attempts to date his glamourous boss, but things don’t quite work out as planned. The second story, set in the 1950s, revolves around a wounded man on the run from gangsters who encounters a mysterious man with a powerful secret. The third story, set in the 1930s, concerns a woman who falls in love with a glass eating sideshow performer much to the dismay of the Snakewoman who already loves him. And the fourth story, set during the Civil War, finds a group of soldiers searching an isolated farmhouse who find a group of children living without adults, but may be something much more.
From a Whisper to a Scream, or The Offspring as it was known for many years on home video, is a real mixed bag. The Vincent Price wraparound story is really only interesting thanks to the presence of Price. He isn’t really given much to do here but it still a joy to watch as usual. And this was his last foray into horror, so it is of interest for that. Of the other 4 stories, all of them are okay, but almost more of a television calibre than that of a feature film. The second story about the gangsters was probably my favorite, nice pacing and a good ending, but the others are fairly typical and fairly predictable. Still, there is some nice production design, and some nice performances, especially by Clu Gulager in the first story. For fans of horror anthologies this one probably won’t rate all that high on the list, but it is still an entertaining flick for a Sunday afternoon, and the Blu-ray is actually still worth picking up for the bevy of special features. Shout Factory has seen fit to include TWO feature length documentaries here. A new doc on the making of the movie featuring tons of the original folks who made it, and a great doc called A Decade Under the Innocence about ‘Super 8’ filmmaking in the 1970s. These two documentaries alone are worth your purchase price and are essential viewing for any film fan. For me, the film is the bonus on top of the special features.