Screaming in High Heels
August 28, 2012
Jason Paul Collum
Jason Paul Collum
Linnea Quigley as Linnea
Brinke Stevens as Brinke
Michelle Bauer as Michelle
Fred Olen Ray as Fred
David DeCoteau as David
Screaming in High Heels is an extended conversation with three women who inspired the concept of ‘Scream Queen’ and helped stock the Mom and Pop video stores with edgy horror exploitation.
The 1980s were a boom time for horror fans – Mom and Pop video stores appeared in every neighborhood in every town and technology had progressed to the point where films could be created quickly and cheaply direct to video. So many of the films that inspired the classics, and the horror freaks who love them, came from this no holds barred era known for goofy lines, lots of blood and pair upon pair of bare breasts. It is this era that the concept of “scream queen” came to be, and there are three particular women who rose to the top of the heap: Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead), Brinke Stevens (The Slumber Party Massacre) and Michelle Bauer (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers).
Screaming in High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era digs into the straight to video boom from the 1980s, and speaks directly with the notable queens, known as “The Terrifying Trio”, that brought magic to it all. Each began in modeling, and “happened upon” film roles, primarily because they were willing to do nude scenes. These women became huge stars in their circles when they showed that beyond the skin they actually had a bit of acting talent, and built empires via the convention circuit, comic books, trading cards and personal appearances. Then, as the big video chains began getting more access to first-run films and putting the Mom and Pops out of business, the ability to turn a profit with exploitation direct to video came to an abrupt end. The girls talk about every phase of it, sharing their triumphs and tragedies.
This documentary is really fantastic for those who either remember the era fondly, or want to increase their background knowledge of the movie genre we all love. Filmmaker Jason Paul Collum does a fantastic job spending enough time with these women to convey what this era was all about, and how three actresses who “accidentally” became cult icons handled the highs and lows. The way the film is organized and paced there are not any dragging points, and it actually would have been good if the run time were considerably longer. The whole period is fascinating and this documentary captures it beautifully.
Screaming in High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era premiered on television in May 2012, but this was cut for TV censors. The DVD release in August is the uncut version and is chock full of the scenes that propelled these lovely ladies to cult stardom, including one of my personal favorites of Linnea Quigley being hung on the deer antlers from Silent Night, Deadly Night. Some fun!
Screaming in High Heels is required viewing for horror freaks, as the era and these Scream Queens had an impact on almost every modern horror film in existence. Whether you smile in remembrance, or learn for the first time about the foundation of 80s low budget horror, this one will be counted as a favorite horror pleasure.