DVD Review: Screaming In High Heels

STUDIO: Breaking Glass | DIRECTOR: Joseph Paul Collum
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 8/28/2012 | PRICE: DVD $19.99
BONUSES: bonus interview footage, Flashback Weekend of Horror – Q&A session
SPECS: NR | 63 min. | Documentary | 1.33:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall


Screaming In High Heels: The Rise and Fall of the Scream Queen Era, an entertaining and breezily presented documentary on the “Scream Queen” era in home video, centers on three actresses who made a name for themselves in low budget shockers and sexploitation films in the 1980s and beyond: Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer. All recall the rituals of being a scream queen–the low budget movies shot on tight schedules, the sometimes creepy fan adulation, the geeky conventions—with equal degrees of glee and nostalgia.

Screaming in High Heels movie scene

Linnea Quigley gets to work in Screaming in High Heels.

Writer-director Joseph Paul Collum, himself a veteran of the direct-to-video “schlocksploitation” field, crams his 2011 documentary with film clips, archival footage and interviews with the three principal actresses along with directors, writers and actors from the era (including filmmaker Fred Olen Ray, whose resume includes more than 100 titles). Collum also adds a nice historical overview, tracing the beginning of scream queen-mania to the death of drive-ins and the burgeoning video industry in the early 1980s.

There are few apologies to be found among the leads, as Quigley (Return of the Living Dead), Stevens (Bad Girls from Mars) and Bauer (Evil Toons) fondly remember their days in the cinematic sun, bleeding, stripping and screaming for fun and some profit. They discuss how they innocently landed in show business and quickly became hot commodities for magazines and direct-to-video movies and pinup idols of lonely horror fans around the world. (Conspicuously absent is any mention of Bauer’s adult career, wherein she performed in XXX films such as Bad Girls and Café Flesh under the name Pia Snow.)

Bonus material includes additional interview segments with the “Terrifying Trio,” as well as footage from a Q&A session conducted at Chicago’s annual Flashback Weekend of Horror convention.

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.