The Daily Horror Grindhouse: Zero in and Scream (dir by Lee Frost)


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I have to admit that there’s one very simple reason why I decided to watch and review the 1970 thriller/horror/softcore/sniper mayhem film, Zero In And Scream.  And that reason was that the movie is only 63 minutes long.  Seriously, when you’re writing for 7 different sites while working during the day and living during the night, there are times when you simply have to say, “That 4-hour epic from the Ukraine looks like it’s a great movie but I’ve only got time for an hour-long, low-budget excursion into cinematic obscurity.”

Zero In and Scream (and that’s great title, by the way) is about Mike (Michael Stearns).  Mike has really impressive hair and a deep tan.  (Perhaps the scariest part of this film comes when Mike undresses and we are confronted with his pasty white tan lines.)  I was going to comment on the fact that Mike also spends a good deal of the film wearing a really ugly and really wide tie but then again, this movie was made in 1970, so I guess that’s to be expected.

Mike has some issues that go beyond questionable fashion choices. He simply cannot get a girlfriend.  Maybe it’s because he’s an extremely moralistic jerk who says things like, “When a man climbs on top of a woman, she becomes ugly!”  Or maybe it’s because he spends almost all of his spare time holding and stroking a very phallic rifle.  Whenever Mike spots a couple making love, he shoots the man and allows the woman to remain pure.

Mike spends his spare time at the local strip club where, for reasons that aren’t quite clear, one of the dancers (Dawna Rae) decides that she likes this weirdo and she invites him to come to a party at her place.  The party is tres decadent in a 1970 softcore sort of way so, as you can imagine, Mike freaks out.

Will Mike be able to control his homicidal urges?  Will he listen to the radio reporter who, at one point, begs the killer to turn himself in because, “It’s obvious that you’re not in control of yourself!”  Or will he just continue to just wander around with his rifle while having flashbacks?

For the most part, Mike’s issues are just an excuse to get as many naked bodies on screen as possible, with a good deal of the film’s 63 minutes being taken up by a surprisingly well-shot underwater orgy scene.  Zero In and Scream doesn’t really work as horror film or as a thriller but I’m still recommend it for all of my fellow history fanatics.  Like many a worthy grindhouse film, Zero In and Scream is a time capsule of the era in which it was made.  Until we get our hands on a time machine, films like this are as close as we will ever come to personally experiencing the 70s.

Add to that, Zero In and Scream is worth watching for its abrupt but clever final shot.  It may not be a particularly good film but it has a great ending!

(In case you hadn’t already guessed, Zero In And Scream is available from Something Weird Video.)

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