I had to watch Death Screams’ opening twice to grasp what happened. The inane logic and under-lit photography left me confused. For those that discover this review after searching “Death Screams opening”, allow me to proffer an explanation.
Two college-age kids parked on a motorcycle under a train trestle at night begin having sex. On the motorcycle. The dark photography hides the logistics. As the train passes overhead, an unseen assailant garrotes them. Not as individuals, but together. Again, the darkness obscures the improbable physics involved. The assailant throws the bodies and motorcycle into the river.
Then the film switches to another group of college kids. The two murdered prior are presumed to have skipped town together. The film proffers a lot of southern, small-town atmosphere as the town enjoys a big end-of-summer fair. I liked the location photography and William Hicks’ convincing turn as the local sheriff.
For over an hour, we hang out with these kids as they goof-off. The off-beat score enhances the feeling we’re watching a teen sex comedy instead of a horror. Nothing much happens, save when a girl exits her fair booth for a cigarette break. An unseen assailant shoots her with an arrow. She flees to another(?) fair site and takes refuge on a dilapidated merry-go-round. This leads to the film’s most memorable shot, an image right out of Black Christmas.
But it’s not enough. Seventy minutes into the eighty-eight minute film, the kids sit around a campfire bored. There’s a shot of them gazing into the camera that mirrored my reaction on my couch.
Then, with ten minutes remaining, the killer turns up and tears through the kids. Said rampage culminates with an exploding head. Are these final ten minutes worth the wait? No, but they’re laugh-out-loud bonkers.