Screaming in High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era (2011)

Screaming in High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era (2011)
6.8
  • 271
  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release year: 2011 ()
  • Running time: 63 min
  • Original Title: Screaming in High Heels: The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era
  • Voted: 271

Three girls living in Los Angeles, CA in the 1980s found cult fame when they "accidentally" transitioned from models to B-movie actresses, coinciding with the major direct-to-video horror film boom of the era. Known as "The Terrifying Trio," Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead), Brinke Stevens (The Slumber Party Massacre) and Michelle Bauer (The Tomb), headlined upwards of ten films per year, fending off men in rubber monster suits, pubescent teenage boys, and deadly showers. They joined together in campy cult films like Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama (1988) and Nightmare Sisters (1987). They traveled all over the world, met President Reagan, and built mini-empires of trading cards, comic books, and model kits. Then it all came crashing down. This documentary remembers these actresses - and their most common collaborators - on how smart they were to play stupid.

#PersonCharacters
  • For the 80s Horror Fan, This Documentary is Top Notch by 9

    Three actresses "accidentally" became cult horror film icons in the late 1980s and created the modern interpretation of the "Scream Queen" image.

    I have to get this off my chest: as I write this review, IMDb has 55 reviews averaging 5.2 out of 10 for this documentary. I could not be more disappointed in a viewing audience, and the only way I can rationalize that poor showing is by telling myself the people who voted must not love horror films.

    Now, if this film has a weakness, that is it: it caters to a very particular audience. Would my mother enjoy this film? No. She has no idea who Linnea Quigley is. But for the horror fan, it is a treat from beginning to end.

    First, the film starts with a brief history of the drive-in, which I found to be informative and crucial to showing the rise of the scream queen era. Today, with DVDs and Netflix, kids may not realize that not too long ago you could not run out and rent or buy anything you wanted to see. The "VHS Boom" revolutionized the way movies were marketed and consumed.

    Next, the film nails it by covering the careers of the "big three" scream queens. Jason Collum, the director, is friends with Brinke Stevens, so finding her was not hard. Linnea Quigley does the convention circuit, so she is still a public figure. But Michelle Bauer is basically semi-retired. Getting her on board was not only necessary, but must have been a challenging task.

    The two biggest schlockmeisters of the 1980s, Fred Olen Ray and David DeCouteau appear, and probably know more about the careers of the queens than they do. DeCouteau, again, was a friend of Collum's. But Ray is a rarity -- you have probably seen twenty of his films, but you very rarely see the man himself. He truly deserves his own documentary.

    On top of great interview subjects and a wonderful narrative tying the interviews together, the movie finally excels by bringing numerous obscure films to light. I have seen literally thousands of horror films, but they still managed to find some here that I never even heard of. That takes a real talent and dedication to the creation of this film.

    For horror fans, this is a must-see. Alongside other recent horror documentaries (such as "Corman's World") it really adds something to the story that needed to be said.

#PersonCrew
1Anthony Masicinematographer
2Justin Proppcinematographer
3Paul Meyercomposer
4Jason Paul Collumdirector
5Derrick Careyeditor
6Linnea Quigleyself
7Brinke Stevensself
8Michelle Bauerself
9Fred Olen Rayself