Death Screams (David Nelson, 1982)

posted in: Duane, Jocelyn, Joint Review, Review | 0
A group of 30 yr old “teenagers” get stalked and killed. There are some sluts. It’s poorly acted and chock full of sleazy puns. There’s also a carnival, a retard, and an overweight sheriff.
Nom DePlume: 1982. Ronald Reagan was president. Ozzy bit the head off of a bat. The Commodore 64 was released. Everyone was panicked over the Tylenol/Cyanide murders. Not nearly as interesting as any of those things…David Nelson released Death Screams to the world.
Razor88: That about sums it up. I’m pretty sure one of the 30 year old teenagers is at least mid-forties. Essentially we have a group of hedonistic imbeciles stomping through a small town carnival pretty much ensuring you as the viewer want to see them die in the most painful way imaginable. A plethora of pointless carnival action as well as some really shitty 80s era sitcom humor made me hate this right away. Not to mention plenty of false alarms and red herrings proves to be an annoyance. I thought the 600 pound sheriff was hilarious though. He looked like Buddy Bacon from Slaughterhouse (if you’ve seen it you know exactly the scene). It’s not that Death Screams doesn’t try… it just really falls flat. It has a faint amount of gore, some full frontal nudity and inexplicably a fucking shower scene featuring a dude…. I did not appreciate that one bit. The gore that’s there (In particular that end money shot… more about that later) is not atrocious. I have a hard time faulting films from before the lazy ass days of shitty CGI for actually trying to make shit work. (Even though this movie is pretty much garbage) Also: I’m not sure what he was trying to go for… lighthearted horror comedy or straight up slasher film.
Nom: Ha! The low-grade humor was truly gag-inducing. I kept waiting for a laugh track every time Lily(Playboy Playmate Susan Kiger) was talking to her Grandma. WE GET IT ALREADY! YOU’RE A CANTANKEROUS OLD COOT! STOP! What was with that intro scene though? It’s a couple banging away on a motorcycle on a train bridge and somehow he’s assuring her that it’s going to be the orgasm of a lifetime. So we’re flirting with some morbid sexuality here and frankly I’m thinking that a movie starting off this sleazy seemed pretty promising….until inexplicably they’re hanged (?) and proceed to fall into a river in slow motion. A fucking eternity goes by before anything else happens.
R88: That beginning… I dunno. Like you said it did seem to have promise. That magic wire/rope/whatever that they get hung up on seems to be train activated so I was unclear as to whether it was an accident (which would be weird) or some super elaborate kill scene engineered by a psychotic genius (retarded). Either way the painful slow motion sinking scene to facilitate what seems to be the entire fucking cast and crew credits is excruciating coupled with that wretched music… not a good sign at all. Then we’re treated with all manner of small town banality… softball, drinking, umm softball, the carnival… a recipe for suicide for any self respecting individual to be sure. Not a fuck of a lot happens until they decide to shoot a whole new movie in which the 30 something teens decide to go camping by the river… so we can chuck out everything else that happened prior to that. Now we have the standard group of “teens” taking refuge from a downpour in an old abandoned house after an evening of drunken debauchery (after leaving a couple of lost friends behind… wtf) and that stupid graveyard scene. Speaking of which… that assclown of the group – the obligatory prankster/joker type – really got on my nerves. Also of note is the overabundance of off screen kills. I fucking HATE that. All eventually culminating to that scene I mentioned with Buddy Bacon
 Speaking of Lily… she was kinda hot; I guess it makes sense that she was a former Playmate. Lily and the whore of the group should have had a nice hot shower scene or something.  The grandma had some pretty good lines, I got the feeling she wasn’t really acting all that much.


Small town banality? You weren’t struck by the purity of the blossoming love between the (other) blonde chippy and the thick-headed but fun-loving college guy? There *was* a little too much softball in this movie, but you gotta love the kids going out for a 2 dollar pitcher of beer with their coach. Most of the people involved in this (thankfully) never worked in their field again. I imagine it was simply a lame attempt at cashing in on the direct to video horror market. One delightful moment in this film is the scene where Ramona (the Whore with a capital W waitress) sneaks into (no doors locked, gotta love small town USA in the 80’s) Coach’s house while he’s showering (from a female perspective, it was nice to see a guy without his clothes for once…although he was terribly unattractive and didn’t give up the meat anyway) and tries to seduce him by dropping her dress but she’s stiffly denied and given the boot. A glorious moment indeed.  Lily wasn’t too bad, although I’m not a fan of cleft chins. Interestingly enough she has the dubious honor of being the only Playmate who was in porn PRIOR to being in the mag. (explicit bj in Hot Nasties…another movie where virtually no one ever worked again) As you said, the red herrings were annoying, I think they spent more time trying to (unsuccessfully) write witty dialogue. I had to pay way-too-close attention to realize that the tard was the sheriff’s son and that’s the reason our deliciously rotund copper had such a hate on for Ramona. Anywhere this movie tried to be scary/funny/interesting it failed miserably. Better films would have at least tried to satiate the perverts and the gorehounds, but lesser films…well. They become as this –  mired deep in the quag of less-than-mediocrity.
R88: The tard was the Sheriff’s son? Hahahaa I totally missed that. Talk about convoluted. The coach is obviously gay… Ramona was pretty hot, I think most guys would have banged the fuck out of her at that moment… talk about door to door service. Then Ramona proceeds to strike out when they’re camping too…  there are definitely a lot of closeted gay dudes in that town. I agree with your assessment; Death Screams tries to be a lot of things: scary/funny/interesting and achieves failure in all of these departments. It has its moments, sure, and I’m not upset I spent time with it.
R88/Nom: Ultimately, Death Screams is really only an outing that need be explored by 80s slasher apologists. It’s not a great example of the era/genre nor is it a particularly good film. It is mildly amusing in a so bad it’s good kind of way at times, at others a test of the viewer’s patience. Proceed with caution.
Official COSDS Nunspank rating:
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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