A Tribute to Vincent Price: From a Whisper to a Scream
We’ve all been in the same situation: a movie night, perusing through Netflix not wanting to see the same thing that you’ve seen a hundred times already. Sometimes all you have to go on is cover art and you wonder if it’s safe to play that film with the interesting cover art. “Play At Your Own Risk: A Netflix Advisory” is the column that will tell you whether or not it’s worth the risk on the most interesting cover art in the horror genre of the Instant Netflix library.
by J.C. De Leon
This special edition of Play At Your Own Risk pays tribute to one of the most iconic figures in the entire horror genre. The incomparable Vincent Price. Today, May 27, 2011 Mr. Price would have been 100 years old. What better way to honor the legendary Vincent Price than to watch a Netflix film starring him that I’d never seen? Following the same principles I guide this column on, I looked for an interesting cover. I believe I found the perfect poster for an article like this. It features a dark hooded figure holding a severed head, and upon closer inspection that head is none other than the head of Vincent Price himself! From a Whisper to a Scream sounded like an interesting enough title, but I discovered that once again I’ve stumbled onto a film on Netflix that has a different title on IMDB. The official title, simply called ‘The Offspring,’ isn’t nearly a compelling enough name, so we’ll just pretend the official name is the more superior and fear inducing From a Whisper to a Scream. Read on to find out more about this Netflix find (and I promise, no spoilers).
On the night of the execution of a female prisoner — a serial killer from the town of Oldfield named Katherine White — a reporter named Beth Chandler (Susan Tyrell, Night Warning) tracks down the uncle of the executed prisoner, a librarian named Julian White (Vincent Price). In speaking with the reporter, Julian tries to convince Beth that evil has always lurked in Oldfield, and he tries to convince her of that fact by recounting four particularly gruesome tales based on people from Oldfield.
The first story is about Stanley Burnside (Clu Galager, Return of the Living Dead) a loner who lives with an ailing sister. He asks his boss out on a date and while she accepts, it doesn’t become much more than that, and Stanley doesn’t like that. He really doesn’t like that.
Our second story, starring Terry Kiser (Weekend at Bernies), is about a man named Jesse Hardwicke. Jesse isn’t having the best week, and the same week his wife leaves him, he gets shot by two mobsters and is left for dead. He is discovered and cared for by an African-American man in the swamp, but did he survive his brush with death after all?
The third story is the shortest and most simple, featuring a traveling circus act that eats glass with seemingly no consequence. When the carny who swallows glass wants to quit the business because of the woman he loves, his boss, played by Rosalind Cash (Tales from the Hood), isn’t too keen on that idea and puts a spell on him. It may not be hard to figure out exactly how he’s stopped, but suffice to say this was the goriest of the four stories.
The fourth story provides a little bit more of a back story to Oldfield by bringing a story from back in the Civil War, when a band of soldiers encounters a village run by children who seem to be victims of war. There are some very brutal things happening in this segment of the film, and they made for some of the more entertaining moments as well.
While the film overall features way too little Vincent Price and Susan Tyrell (seriously, find and watch Night Warning if you don’t think I’m serious about Susan Tyrell), it made for an awesome horror anthology. If you’re searching for something to watch on Netflix this weekend, in general horror anthologies aren’t a bad way to go. This weekend however, if you would like to pay tribute to Vincent Price, there is absolutely no risk involved with this Instant Netflix pick.