Scream Queen (1998/2002) [Video Vengeance Re-Release] 

Following the death of a scream queen leaving her film unfinished, cast and crew meets up in a house to discuss and finish the film. Once there, they start dying one by one.  

Written and directed by Brad Sykes (and finished by producers), the film was started in 1998, put on the shelf for a while, and finished in 2002. It seemed to mostly disappear until it’s 2023 re-release by Video Vengeance. The story here is predictable as can be and not particularly well written or well directed. It has some charm to it, a sort of morbid curiosity brings most people to it, but it has a few good bits and some solid ideas here and there. Is it a good film? Absolutely not. Is it entertaining? Of course! It’s one of those films that would be perfect for Jeremy Knox’s Bad Movie Monday column here. It’s bad, it’s good, it’s a mess, it’s, dare I say, enjoyable? It’s the kind of movie that appeals to very few people, explaining why it took this long for it go get a proper blu release. It seemed to be doomed to convention floor bootleg for the rest of time until Video Vengeance saw what “so bad it’s good” film fans saw and decided to release it.  

Here is where I’d normally go over the cast, but honestly, outside of Linnea Quigley, the cast is not that interesting. Yes, they all do their best or what they think is their best, but a few hours after finishing the movie, there aren’t many memorable performances here. Thankfully, Miss Quigley offers some fun and she’s who this is all about, so watch it for her presence as a fan or this may be of minimal interest.  

In terms of the technical side of the film, it was clearly shot on video and with very little to no budget and it shows. This is not normally an issue if everything else is on point as image quality isn’t everything when a story is fascinating. Unfortunately, this is not exactly the case here, so the film’s look is something that works against it. The sound is pretty much the same and so are the special effects. This is one of those films that could have used a bit more time, a lot more money, and a whole bunch more passion for it. Something, well lots of things, is missing here and what could have been interesting becomes a bit of a train wreck you can’t take your eyes away from. 

In terms of being a good film, this is not it. However, it is an interesting film with something fascinating that keeps you from looking away. As for this re-release, well, it’s more than the film deserves. Here the transfer is as good as it can be given the source material with sound that is also as good as it can be. The special features here are plenty with the new behind-the-scenes feature called One Upon a Time in Horrorwood being the main attraction here along with the new Linnea Quigley interview. This release is very much for fans of Quigley. A fun thing about Video Vengeance releases are the little bits and bobs they add in the box. In this one, these include a video store membership card and genre stickers like old school video stores used to have.