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Another solid entry in Dark Sky Film’s Amicus Collection, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! ($15) is a tough horror film to pigeonhole. Part gothic melodrama, part ghost story and part Grand Guignol horror, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! tells a tale of madness, murder and revenge from beyond the grave. Set in eighteenth century England, the premise of AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! follows Catherine (Stephanie Beacham), the young, virginal bride of Charles Fengriffen (Ian Ogilvy), who is sexually assaulted on her wedding night by an eyeless apparition with a bloody stump, where his its hand used to be. Of course, the lack of evidence leaves Catherine’s new husband questioning her sanity for nearly the film’s first hour, that is, until Dr. Pope (Peter Cushing) is brought in on the case. Dr. Pope digs into to the Fengriffen family closet to unearth a rather large skeleton, not to mention a genuine phantom and its relationship to the estate’s malevolent woodsman Silas (Geoffrey Whitehead). The cast of AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! also features Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee, Guy Rolfe, Rosalie Crutchley and Gillian Lind.

Dark Sky Films has made AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The image is rather sharp and fairly well defined. Sure, some mild softness creeps in, in a few places, but it is nothing beyond what once should expect from a film of this vintage. Colors offer good saturation and fairly appealing flesh tones. Blacks are solid, as are the whites. Contrast is good, and the level of shadow detail is more than respectable. The film elements used for the transfer displays some blemishes. Film grain is noticeable, but fairly minimal. Digital compression artifacts are never bothersome.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack sounds very good for its age, indicating that that it has been digitally cleaned to remove excessive background hiss and surface noise. Of course, there are the expected limitations in fidelity, but the music and sound effects are more than serviceable. As for the dialogue, it is pretty crisp and always completely understandable. No other language tracks are offered, but English subtitles are present.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Two separate running audio commentaries are featured, the first includes director Roy Ward Baker, actress Stephanie Beacham and moderator Marcus Hearn, while the second is with actor Ian Ogilvy and moderator Darren Gross. Still Gallery, Biographies/Filmographies, plus a Theatrical Trailer for AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS!, as well as other Amicus titles ASYLUM and THE BEAST MUST DIE close out the extras.

With its trappings of gothic melodrama, AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS! is an enjoyable Amicus outing that stands apart form their usual horror offerings. Dark Sky Films’ presentation is first rate and the disc features two worthwhile audio commentaries for fans. Recommended.



And Now the Screaming Starts! (1973)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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