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Screaming Dead (2003)

DVD Cover (Shock-O-Rama Cinema)
Director:
Brett Piper Brett Piper
Starring:
Rob Monkiewicz Rob Monkiewicz
Rachael Robbins Rachael Robbins
Erin Brown Erin Brown
Joseph Farrell Joseph Farrell
Heidi Kristoffer Heidi Kristoffer

4.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Haunted House Film, Horror, Supernatural Horror
Into an abandoned insane asylum pass six individuals who are about to discover its terrifying secrets and come face to face with its blackest horrors. Sleaze photographer Roger Neale and three beautiful models take up residence in a reportedly haunted old building - an ideal location for Neale's photographic "study in terror." But their project is abandoned when he discovers a secret passageway, leading to a blood-splattered dungeon ... and into a supernatural world where pain and evil await. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: August 30, 2006
A few years ago, E.I. Cinema was known mainly for their softcore parodies such as SpiderBabe and Lord of the G-Strings: The Femaleship of the String that were released under the Seduction Cinema label. Some quality titles, they were, and they also made Misty Mundae into the damned-near household name that she is today. This is around the point when the guys running the studio now known as POPcinema decided to venture into the world of horror, and the debut offering from this new branch of the company known as Shock-O-Rama was tonight's film: Screaming Dead. So, what's it about and how was it?

Roger Neale (Joseph Farrell) is one of the top "artists" in the world today. His work consists of fetish photography, but as all artists tend to do, he applies some inane meanings to the photographs so that they appear to be more than just naked women in awkward positions. This leads us into his next project, which just so happens to consist of photographing three young ladies - Bridget (Erin Brown, aka the former Misty Mundae), Lauren (Heidi Kristoffer), and Jennifer (C.J. DiMarsico) - at an abandoned mental institution that is rumored to be haunted by a fellow who took great delight in torturing people in this very building hundreds of years ago. Roger is a complete asshole to these women, treating them like shit and telling them that he owns them and that he will dictate when they can do things as trivial as eating or taking a piss. The women put up with it because being involved in a photo shoot with this guy is a guaranteed ticket to bigger things, but a kink is thrown in his plan when an insurance agent is sent to supervise what's taking place on the company's property. This fellow, Sam Rogan (Rob Monkiewicz), quickly shows that he isn't very fond of the way that Roger treats these ladies, and the two butt heads for the duration of their time together... and it certainly doesn't help Roger's case when his secretary Maura (Rachael Robbins) starts getting the hots for his new arch-nemesis. Bigger problems arise, however, when the six people in this building discover that those rumors about the place being haunted are just a bit more than rumors, and it's off we go.

Now, the above takes about an hour to play out in the movie, and the supernatural stuff doesn't really kick in until this point in the movie. Some other reviewers have griped about this in their pieces on the film, but personally, it didn't bother me in the least. In my opinion, this allowed the film time to show off this former asylum, build up the characters a bit, and bring the storyline to a slow boil. Why does this all work so well? Well, this asylum isn't just an old house or some studio backlot - it's a legit former mental institution, and the scenery is just as creepy as one would expect from such. Piper used this to his full advantage, and there are some great shots of this building to be found throughout the running time.

Of course, some good scenery can only do so much for a movie, and that's where the cast comes in. While it's true that these ladies are best known for their work in softcore titles that don't require much in the way of actual acting, they showed in this one that they're more that just a couple of pretty faces and nice racks. Misty Mundae, as always, steals every scene that she's in, and Rachael Robbins is no slouch when it comes to good performances either. However, the real star of the movie is Joseph Farrell. The man plays the asshole character to perfection, and this is a character that the audience truly wants to see get what he has coming to him... and it just so happens that he "gets it" in the grisliest possible way. I won't completely ruin it for you readers, but let's just say that it involves a ghost who can walk through doors and a human who can't.

My only true complaint about the movie is the ending. It seems as though Piper didn't know how to wrap things up in an efficient manner, so what we get is a scene that will more than likely pull a huge "that's it?" reaction from anyone watching it. That was the reaction I got, anyway, and I think a little something more here would have made the ending of this film a lot less disappointing.

Overall though, it's definitely worth checking out for fans of independent horror films: there's some damned neat gore sequences (some of which are much better than you'd expect from a low budget film), there's plenty of skin (much less than you'd expect from something associated with the former E.I. Cinema, which is a good thing in any "serious" horror film), and there's an interesting storyline holding it all together. You really can't ask for much more from a film such as this, so I'm going with a 7/10.
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