Scream Park (2012) (DVD review).

May 26, 2014 | By | Reply More

How many years has it been since the heyday of drive-in movies where, especially in America, you could park your car at an open-air cinema, watch a movie of a certain type and have Coca-Cola and burgers served by girls on roller skates? ‘Scream Park’ just fits the bill! You can imagine people watching this at a drive-in movie some 30 years ago because in many ways it’s got just that style. Yes, apart from the mobile phones and the camera surveillance that appear in the movie, this could be from the early 1980s or maybe earlier.


There are no drive-in movies in Scotland where I live. You can just visualise the wind, rain, sleet and snow and unfortunate people shivering to death. I’m told that in American drive-in movies, a speaker was available from a post beside the vehicle. This was detached and placed inside the window via a wire but many a time people forgot about the speaker when they drove away with obvious calamitous results. The question is would this movie have ripped the speakers out?

The main actor, ‘Hellraiser’ star Doug Bradley, is ostensibly the leading star but he is only in the movie for a couple of minutes. Not even a cameo and I would say this is a bit of a con though on reflection it seems to be standard practice in the movie industry. While the other actors are okay, they are a little bit amateurish apart from Nicolle Beattie who plays the lead lady, Missi, and the guys who play the maniac murderers. However, let’s not forget the fact that the movie was made for $40,000 which is a miniscule amount by today’s standard and you’re not going to get Nicole Kidman and Brad Pitt for that, are you?

Fright Land, that’s the name of the theme park, has the usual fairground attractions, rollercoaster and ghost train. The young manager lacks authority despite trying to stamp it onto the young staff, a disparate group of college students and drop-outs. He has been told that the park will be closed, so they all gather round for a farewell party, something that the sole security guard is not very pleased about. Unknown to them, the owner has hired a couple of mad hillbillies to cause murderous mayhem with the effect that people will then rush to the park just to see where it had all happened. There was big money to be made from them thar ghouls!

The movie is a little bit slow to get started and I think too much time was wasted showing the credits at the beginning. The music is effective and dramatic and the overall photography is reasonable, except for a couple of scenes which looked as though they had been shot using a mobile phone, such as the ride on the rollercoaster. Special effects were just what you would expect from an 80s horror movie, bloody and full of tomato sauce and mushy peas with a few frankfurters thrown in. As I said, what would you expect for $40,000?

Once it gets going it becomes quite scary with a succession of bloody murders taking place in a variety of ingenious ways. One murderer looks like an exceptionally crazed Jack Nicholson and his sidekick, silent and menacing, is a huge brute with sackcloth over his face. They have no pity and no mercy! One guy gets tied up on a rollercoaster carriage only to be gutted and his girlfriend, the one with the large boobs (there’s always got to be one of them) has her head pushed into a vat of boiling fat, the type normally used for French fries and fish with maybe a hamburger on the side. Neither are pretty sights! At least, the unfortunate couple had one last copulative fling in the staff toilets before their demise.

Okay, we’ve seen lots of slasher-type movies before with a progression of victims being dispatched in a variety of methods and this one is no exception but, it is actually quite scary. Its intended audience is not the horror movie aficionado expert who has seen every slasher movie ever made, but it’s the casual viewer looking for a bit of entertainment on a Friday night. I know it’s got limitations of budget and there are some scenes, such as the cutting of a girl’s throat, which are not realistic (the throat appears to be cut before the knife properly reaches it) but overall I thought it was very well done.

Who was going to escape? That would be telling, wouldn’t it?? So you’ll just have to watch the movie. It has all the usual agitating acts, such as the girl setting her gun aside to wander about when she knows that one of the stalkers is close by. Also, you have to feel sorry for the first victim, the unfortunate security guard, who was strung up and stabbed all for a minimum wage. It’s also very doubtful whether or not the intestines looked anatomically correct but then again, how many anatomists will be watching?

If truth be told, I was expecting something of detestable quality fit for the bucket but this was far removed from that and if this is what the first time director, Cary Hill, makes of a low-budget, I would like to see what he can produce with much more money. He should be given a chance! Yes, I liked ‘Scream Park’ and I would recommend it for others to watch.

Rod MacDonald

May 2014

Region 1 DVD: pub: MVD Group. 85 minute DVD. Price: £ 6.16 (UK), $14.95 (US). ASIN: B00HHYGGBE)

cast: Wendy Wygant, Steve Rudsinski, Nivek Ogre, Alicia Marie Marcucci and Nicolle Beattie

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Category: Films, Horror

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