Oct 012021

Death Screams is a film that some may find charming as a “regional” independent film, having been shot in North Carolina. For me, I thought a fair portion was rather dull with characters that failed to resonate.



Death Screams

Genre(s): Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Arrow Video| R – 89 min. – $39.95 | September 14, 2021

Date Published: 10/01/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: David Nelson
Writer(s): Paul C. Elliott (screenplay)
Cast: Susan Kiger, Martin Tucker, William T. Hicks, Jennifer Chase, Jody Kay, John Kohler, Andria Savio, Curt Rector

Features: Commentaries, Featurettes, TV & Radio Spots, Galleries
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (PCM 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 27.99 GB
Total Bitrate: 42.11 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

Arrow Films provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


Plot Synopsis: Late one night, a young couple are brutally murdered at a make-out spot by an unseen assailant, their bodies tossed into the nearby river. As the lifeless lovers drift slowly downstream, the residents of the town excitedly prepare themselves for their annual carnival, unaware that a machete-wielding maniac with a twisted grudge is lurking in their midst. When a group of teen revelers plan a late-night after party down in the local cemetery, they unwittingly set the stage for a bloodbath.

Quick Hit Review: Death Screams, also known as House of Death, is a slasher that sprung up from the 80s with the success of Friday the 13th and Halloween. I’ve come across a few of these indie flicks and for the most part more than anything I’ve found them pretty dull. This one is no exception. I’d wager 50-60% is full-on filler with a bulk taking place at a carnival in a “shoot the rodeo” scenario to borrow the phrase from Red Letter Media, filming during some small-town carnival. The sequence doesn’t offer a whole lot, no development for characters that were interchangeable. On that front, the acting isn’t half bad considering what little they had to work with.

Now, if there is anything to praise is at the very least the final 10-15 minutes did offer some cheesy fun, missing from the other 75-minutes, even if the killer’s reveal was a bit laughable with only a brief flashback to their motives. However, I will say some of the gore effects, for the budget anyway, weren’t too bad.

The film was directed by the late David Nelson who previously directed a few other independent films including Last Plane Out which reads like a Rambo rip-off. The script was written by Paul Elliott in his only feature film (he also worked on a series called Dolly from 1976, starring Dolly Parton).

In the end, Death Screams is hardly the worst slasher I’ve come across but there’s really not enough here to make it at all memorable as the middle portion was dreadfully flow and frankly pointless. I’m not even sure if slasher fans will get much outside of maybe the finale.



This release comes with a great slip cover with a cut-out and the inner cover is an old-school VHS-inspired artwork. The sleeve itself is reversible with the film’s original poster artwork.

Audio Commentaries:

  • Producer Charles Ison and Special Effects Artist Worth Keeter, moderated by filmmaker Phil Smoot
  • The Hysteria Continues

These two tracks offer different perspectives with the first providing some behind-the-scenes stories while the second is purely from a film studies standpoint and I generally enjoy the fellas with “The Hysteria Continues” crew.

All the Fun of the Scare: The Making of Death Screams (32:53) — Newly-produced featurette includes interviews with Ison, Keeter, Writer Paul Elliott, Actors Hanns Manship and Curt Rector, Actor/Producer’s Assistant Supervising Editor Sharon Alley and Actor/Talent Wrangler Robert “Billy Bob” Melton. This collection of newly filmed interviews gives a good overview on how this movie got made. Even though I didn’t care for the movie very much, I can appreciate hearing about the inner workings on the production.

This release also includes TV & Radio Spots, Image Galleries, House of Death Alternate VHS Opening Title (5:55) and via BD-ROM, Two Versions of the Screenplay.


VIDEO – 3½/5

Death Screams makes its debut, from what I can tell, in disc form on Blu-ray, presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and has been given a 1080p high-definition transfer. As the included booklet notes, the restoration was taken from a “badly faded 35mm release print” (due to no pre-prints being available), which was then scanned in 2K with color grading and digital restoration. With this in mind, although indeed this movie does not look great in high-definition, one could excuse some of the shortcomings and would have to imagine is heads and tails better than this movie ever looked on VHS. Detail isn’t great but still adequate and there is some instances of film damage, however is on the acceptable spectrum (as noted, because of the “poor state of the materials available”).

AUDIO – 3¼/5

The disc includes an uncompressed PCM Mono track, which was sourced from the 35mm optical track and was also restored. As it is, this isn’t anything incredible yet serviceable enough, outputting clear enough dialogue with very minor depth even by mono track standards. As with the picture, I can only imagine how faulty the audio was on VHS so I assume this a very solid upgrade.


OVERALL – 2¾/5

Death Screams is a film that some may find charming as a “regional” independent film, having been shot in North Carolina. For me, I thought a fair portion was rather dull with characters that failed to resonate. The film does pick up in the last 10 minutes at least.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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