Stiggy’s Film of the Day Screaming in High Heels: The Rise and Fall of the Scream Queen Era (2011).

Something a little bit different today, not a movie but a documentary, Screaming in High Heels provides an interesting and in depth view into the rise and consequent decline of the Scream Queen era during the height of the 80’s direct to video horror market. The movie brings together the three major players from this period, Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, and Michelle Bauer in the present day who give some lengthy interviews covering their careers and experiences. Starting off at the point when the Grindhouse theatres and drive-ins were replaced by the home video market Jason Paul Collum’s film tracks the rise of home rental and examines how low budget horror directors like Fred Olen Ray (who also appears in this) managed to take advantage of this then new opportunity. In making films made strictly for the video market directors and producers managed to cut theatres out of the equation and in the process kept overheads low, which allowed for a certain freedom in the films they made. For anyone with an interest in retro low budget film making, or indeed 80’s video horror,  this film is a must as it looks into the way in which these features were shot, produced and marketed, and also highlights the resulting fandom which surrounds this period in horror history. Screaming in High Heels manages to capture the spirit of this long forgotten age, all of the women involved are candid in their recollections, and show a definite love for the genre and time. Intersected with the commentary are some amazing clips from the films involved which adds flavour, as Linnea, Brinke and Michelle recall their experiences making them, some of which is quite eye opening. Working at break neck speed for over  a decade these three women racked up an insane amount of titles between them, shooting movies sometimes in as little as 4-5 days, and working in some shocking conditions it becomes glaringly apparent why they earned their stripes as reigning horror queens. It also must be said each of them possesses an energy and enthusiasm which clearly shines out. While many actors and actresses would shun horror as being a lesser kind of acting the Scream Queens actually embraced it and in the process made themselves some die hard fans which still adore them today.


Categories: 80's horror, 90's horror, Reviews

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