The Video Nasties #116 – Frozen Scream (1981, Frank Roach)

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‘Immortality? Why would anyone wanna live

in a world like this?’

Not me! Jesus Christ, Frozen Scream. This is a tough one, because the film is just a big muddled nonsense. The dialogue is frequently indecipherable, and the story slips in and out of dream sequences and flashbacks that are indistinguishable from the rest of the movie.

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It’s mostly about two doctors who are trying to create a form of immortality by freezing people with a serum and turning them into zombies – at least I think that’s what they’re trying to do. Unfortunately, most of the expository dialogue is delivered by our star and producer Renee Harmon, who has a Teutonic accent so thick she may as well be speaking Klingon. To make matters worse, oftentimes during dialogue scenes a voiceover narrator will also start talking, while the other scene plays out! Both soundtracks are audible, so the confusion is tenfold. As a final slap in the face, the voiceover adds nothing to the story. I can only assume that the initial cut was so stupefyingly boring, the producers felt they had to jazz it up somehow. As the film already only ran 75 minutes (watch ‘em crawl by!) they couldn’t cut anything out, and so just hired some jackass to yak on about the similarities of life and love (they both end, apparently.) It does add one great laugh though – just after one of Harmon’s impenetrable monologues, the voiceover intones, ‘A pretty bad acting job, I’d say.’ Hey man, we can at least agree on that!

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Another chuckle can be found during the rock ’n’ roll dance party the cast attends (I’m unsure if it’s a flashback or present day or dream sequence). The band plays Rock Around the Clock, but to avoid a potential lawsuit they change the lyrics to being about potatoes instead, which is a solution more creative than anything presented in this film.

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The thing is, I don’t care about bad acting, bad special effects, no story, whatever. None of that is necessarily a barrier to my enjoyment of a movie. But my issue with the acting here is that everyone just seems so utterly, utterly bored, and their boredom is contagious. I’ve read positive reviews of this film that praise the ‘drugged out’ acting quality, and it’s true. However, their drug of choice appears to be ketamine, and 75 minutes of people reading their lines in a flat monotone quickly takes it’s toll on a viewer.

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This is truly one of the odd ducks on the Nasties list. It’s quite mind-boggling how anyone could think this film, with it’s occasional splashes of blood and blink and you’ll miss it nudity, would be liable to deprave and corrupt.

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But I’d like to end on something positive, and give props to the amusing hooded skeleton dream near the start, which led me to believe I might be watching a better movie. Alas, ’twas not to be, so I’ll leave you with this immortal exchange of dialogue, one of the few where I could make out every word –

‘I’m not gonna let your little guilt trip spoil this project!’

‘I’m not going to guilt…I’m going to Hell!’

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