Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Scream... and Scream Again!

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
The "Scream and Scream Again" poster
(Click on images to enlarge)

"Billy! I've told you a hundred times not to leave the lid up on the acid pit!"

In 1969 when this film was in the theaters, I was a wee (yet really cute) tyke of ten tender years and could only gaze in wonder at this awesome poster. I was living in Belpre, Ohio at the time, and there was a drive-in theater near our apartment that I walked past each day on the way to and from school. This movie was on a double-bill with "The Oblong Box" and seeing both posters ignited a passion to see the movies that would go unrequited for 35 years. Fortunately, they were released recently on a Midnight Movies disc together, recreating the double-feature experience.

In my bedroom in the apartment about two blocks from the drive-in, it was possible to see a small part of the top of the screen if I climbed on top of my dresser and peeked out of the top of the blinds. Needless to say I couldn't see enough to tell anything, but such was my mania that I woke up the next morning with a crick in my neck from craning to view what I could for nearly a half hour. The images of the posters, that of corpses buried underground and upside down in a pit of acid, bounced around in my monster-addled brain while at school, inspiring me to draw copies from memory. These sadly got confiscated and unceremoniously trashed by a teacher who had no love for art.

"But they told me urine was good for the skin!"

The art for both was striking, but the "Scream" poster was especially memorable, with the poor woman trapped in the acid dissolving alive as her skull and bones were exposed. Strong stuff for a 10 year old who had yet to see even a Famous Monsters magazine. Little wonder it stuck in my memory all those years. It's a testament to my innocence at the time that I never noticed the state of the thinly-veiled and about-to-be-revealed bosom.

"Aaaaiiiieee! It's fading my lovely new pink dress!!!!"

Totally unrelated to the movie, but connected in my memory with the drive-in, was the day I took a shortcut through the woods behind it along the wooden fence surrounding it. I was walking with a three or four other kids, and took the dare to join in a whizzing contest to see who could project the furthest. It was with no little pride that I won. (Nowadays the whole posse would have been rounded up by the PC Police amidst a swarm of reporters and carted away for rehabilatative therapy.) That was about the extent of my naughtiness at that age. I was a good kid who only wanted to see those forbidden and tantalising movies that the posters told about.

Another later move took us to Georgia (we moved a lot) where we lived behind a drive-in that had no fence around it, only protected from prying eyes by virtue of being located over a 10 foot tall dirt bank which you had to climb in order to see the screen. Which would have been great, but we lived there during the winter when it was closed! Talk about your good news and bad news.

"Sure, I'm being dissolved away, but for some reason I find it strangely arousing!"

You know what I'd like to do? Make movies based on some of the awesome posters like this and write them so that what was on the poster actually happened in the film! Imagine how good some of them could be! Never mind what the original was about... just make a movie based on the impression given and on what the poster portrayed. Now that would be worth seeing.

Poster from "The Cauldron of Death" with a similar theme, thrown in because it features flesh melting from a skeleton in a vat of acid. I don't know if the movie is any good, but I like the poster art. Who in their right mind wouldn't?


Karswell said...

These are two great AIP classics for sure... I remember catching Scream and Scream Again on the late show one night when I was a kid and the scene with the severed hand still hadcuffed to the fender of the car stuck with me forever.

>so that what was on the poster actually happened in the film!

You could say this about nearly every horror paperback that ever came out too, as well as some comics!

Fred said...


So true, it makes one wish sometimes that the poster would be made first and then the movie. Kind of like "Glen or Glenda."

Maybe that wasn't the best example...

Patrick said...

I love the art on both of these posters- There is nothing as cool as a great vintage horror movie poster. I totally relate to your stories about seeing these images and letting your imagination take over, creating a movie in your own head that was bound to be way better than the actual movie itself!

Anonymous said...

Well, I happen to think that your facination for these particularly gruesome images is an indication of your own misogynistic desire to see a woman or perhaps, ALL women burned within a vat of acid!


Of course I'm just kidding my friend. I just felt compelled to after reading your comments about the PC police & you're SO right about that. I mean, can you imagine a studio trying to put SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN's one sheet in theaters now? LOL
Forget about it.
And it was for a PG rated movie!

Anyhow, I love the site & it's awesome to be entertained so by a likeminded individual my own age for a change. You've only got two years on me. My "big 5-0" will be in October of 2011.
But, you know what they say these days, right? That 50 is "the new 30", so we're cool. LOL

- Jim