Die Screaming, Marianne (1971)
Well, what can I say? I might have died laughing at this 1971 first outing clunker from Pete Walker – that cultish British director notorious for his gore and sexploitation movies – but certainly not from screaming. Unless, of course, it was screaming at the outrageously bad script this film unfortunately has.
The plot of this pretentious pulp basically revolves around the heroine, a young attractive go-go dancer (although you rarely get to see her extol her dubious dancing talents except for the opening credits. It appears from this brief snapshot that her dance moves include looking like she can extinguish cigarettes at a distance with her feet while simultaneously turning doorknobs). Anyway – I digress; back to the movie. Marianne (played by Susan George of soon to be Straw Dogs fame) is targeted for death by ruthless assassins who are bent on her never reaching her 21st birthday. At this magical age she inherits a large wedge of cash pie from her crooked Judge father who doesn’t want her to inherit anything or get her hands on evidence left by her late mother of his criminal doings. Add an equally murderous and slutty psychopathic half-sister into the equation with undertones of incest, an isolated villa in Portugal and you have a convoluted muddy mix of a plot guaranteed to leave even the most ardent Walker fan scratching their head in puzzlement about what the hell is going on.
The storyline kind of got away from me within the first 20 or so minutes and the third flash of Susan George’s panties which, as far as I could see, she didn’t actually change for the entire movie. After 40 minutes I was left wondering if anyone was going to actually murder her. After an hour and ten minutes I was willing to actually kill her myself along with the script writer and director who all richly deserved death in my opinion by that point in the proceedings.
It was nice to see 70’s comedy stalwart Barry Evans (Here we go round the Mulberry Bush, Confessions of a Taxi Driver) in a supporting role; but more than a little perturbing to see Leo Genn as the judge – this awful role from a quality Shakespearean actor that had once received a supporting actor Oscar nomination for his work in the movie Quo Vadis?
It is always sad to see how the mighty have fallen.
To sum up it all up, if you find yourself with a spare couple of hours as your Brazilian Bikini wax appointment has cancelled out on you and you still feel the urgent need for inflicting some real pain on yourself, then watch it.
Other than in these unlikely circumstance you’d probably do as well to leave Die Screaming, Marianne firmly where it is.