Scream of the Banshee

I could call Scream of the Banshee awful -- it is, after all -- but I won’t. That would be too easy. It’s an “After Dark Original” movie and it was co-produced by the Syfy channel, so really, calling it crap would be like picking on a cripple. And who wants to do that? So, what IS good about it then? Well, it made me laugh. That’s good for something, right? Scream of the Banshee is like Troll 2. It abandons all logic, throws in some dumbass-looking costumes, and it’s infinitely more enjoyable when you watch it with like-minded friends who LIKE movies that are so bad, they’re good. And Scream of the Banshee is definitely that. It’s soooo bad…that it’s awesome.

The story itself makes no sense at all. A strange-looking shield that turns into a box is thrown at a banshee and it captures her head -- question mark, exclamation point, question mark. Centuries later, in modern day times, said box appears for no apparent reason at all, is opened, and the banshee escapes. Horror and shitty costumes ensue. But here’s the thing. Yes, the special effects for this movie probably cost about three dollars more than just putting it into Photoshop. And yes, the lines are performed so poorly that you’d probably see better at your son or daughter’s grammar school play. But that’s the whole allure with these kinds of pictures, especially when you know that the director’s heart was in the right place. There are many close shots of chomping teeth and bleeding ears, and also, quite possibly, the worst-looking fake video game ever put to film. But you can still see that the director cared and wanted this to be a good movie. He just didn’t have the money.

If you’re looking for an Ed Wood train wreck where EVERYTHING went wrong, you won’t find it here. The script for Scream of the Banshee was brain dead from the start, but a lot of scripts these days are like that (um, have you SEEN Transformers 3 yet?). That’s not the problem with this film. The problem with it is that special effects are ASS. If the director had the money, he would have used it to make at least a passable picture. But instead, the studio probably gave him a bag of potato chips and a pat on the ass and said, “Go make film now.” I mean, why ELSE would we get a shot of a giant hand coming out of a cloud of smoke and trying to grab a scared man as he leaps away from it? Sure, that’s dumb as hell, but if the special effects were better, it probably would have gotten a theatrical release. Instead, this movie went straight to DVD after having, like, a one-night run on the Syfy channel. Still, if you like crap with horrendous dialogue and laughable special effects, then you’ll love this. And if you don’t, then you won’t. I don’t know what else to tell you. But I myself definitely dug it. Check it out for yourself if you’re into garbage caught on film. There’s only one special feature on here, and it’s commentary. Imagine my discomfort. I knew the movie sucked, and the director surely knew it sucked, but I get a smarmy feeling whenever I listen to one of these commentaries and the director pretends like he doesn’t know what kind of trash he made. This commentary almost turns into that until the middle of the movie, when the director and the composer start bad-mouthing the movie themselves, talking about how shitty the special effects are and how badly it was edited in post-production. It’s hilarious. At one point, I laughed out loud when he told the listeners to please close their eyes at the scene where the giant hand comes out of the smoke. It takes a REAL man to admit when they’re down, and I applaud director Steven Miller for not wimping out. For the most part, that is. For the rest of the film, he compliments the composer to no end. And it gets a little boring hearing just how well the score turned out when the banshee pops out and starts shaking her hands.

There’s also “Widescreen Presentation,” if that’s even considered a special feature anymore and not just an industry standard, as well as English and Spanish subtitles. And that’s it. Pretty skimpy with the special features, but what were you expecting here? This isn’t a Criterion Collection DVD. You get what you pay for, and what you get isn’t all that much.

Rich Knight
Content Producer

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.