Scream of the Demon Lover (1970)

Rating: C+

Dir: Jorge Luis Merino
Star: Erna Schürer, Carlos Quiney, Christina Pathé, Agostina Belli

Scream [given this title by Roger Corman – it’s also known, albeit less memorably, as Ivanna and Blood Castle] is a 1970 Gothic film, starring Schurrer as a chemist hired to help Baron Dalmar (Quiney) revive the corpse of his horribly-burned brother. When she discovers her new boss is the chief suspect in six brutal murders, she doesn’t pack and rapidly leave but, like a typically plucky gothic heroine, opts to “investigate”. Quotes used advisedly there, given her main detective method is to waft around the castle in a flimsy nightgown. The housekeeper and a servant wench also have eyes for the Baron, so don’t take kindly to the new arrival – and everyone’s tops have a terrible tendency to fall off…

It loses its way terribly in a second half, despite lobbing in lycanthropy as a red herring of such startling obviousness I feel no shame in revealing it here. This is the kind of film where every character has a Dark Secret, to the point that the plot can’t quite do them all justice, and you’ll likely guess the big revelation inside fifteen minutes. And while this is often fun to laugh at, occasionally it is still capable of doing something to make you go, “Ah!”, in an impressed way. As an aside, you know DVD has completely taken over, when you see them in dollar stores, alongside knockoff foodstuffs and Taiwanese cookware. Two films (this + Hatchet for the Honeymoon), and a 1932 radio adaptation of Frankenstein, for 99 cents. How can you go wrong?