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The Independent Critic

Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer, Fred Olen Ray, David DeCoteau
Jason Paul Collum
63 Mins.
Breaking Glass Pictures
Bonus Interview Footage; Footage from the Flashback Weekend of Horror Q&A Session

 "Screaming in High Heels" an Affectionate Look at Scream Queens 
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I may be the ugliest guy you'd ever want to fuck.

I take a certain pride in this fact. I'm a weird mixture of everything that's f***ed up about life woven together into the genetic fabric of a genuinely nice, funny and gentle guy.

It surprises a lot of people who know me as a licensed minister, pacifist and child abuse/domestic violence activist that I do, in fact, feel quite comfortable in the world of B-movies.

The excellent documentary Screaming in High Heels - The Rise & Fall of the Scream Queen Era brought all of this to mind with its surprisingly warm and affectionate look back at three of the Scream Queen era's true gems - Linnea Quigley (The Return of the Living Dead), Brinke Stevens (The Slumber Party Massacre) and Michelle Bauer (The Tomb).

These three actresses, and they were actresses, headlined up to ten films a year where they had to fend off deadly showers, strange monsters, teenaged boys, extended bathtub scenes, chainsaws and much more. They appeared together in such B-movie classics as Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama from 1988 and Nightmare Sisters. They built mini-empires around their Scream Queen status then, suddenly, it all started to disappear as the video world moved away from VHS and drive-ins and into the DVD and web-based video realm.

Screaming in High Heels doesn't really focus on the negatives, though, because writer/director Jason Paul Collum is far too busy giving due respect to these fondly remembered Scream Queens and the B-movie wonders that they starred in. These films were typically made on paltry budgets in 5-6 days, a difficult thing to consider in a world where so many Hollywood films can take months and millions to become fleshed out. While the Scream Queen era has largely subsided, there remains in the indie film world a devotion to indie horror, B-movies and Scream Queens who may not possess the mini-empires of decades past but who are still uniquely talented and beloved for what they add to the indie filmmaking world.

The indie horror world has always been a bit of a place for the quirky, fugly folks in the world to peacefully co-exist with the buxom beauties who seem to fill every T&A laden low-budget horror flick. It's as if there's a mutual understanding that "we are not just our bodies," so beauty meets beast meets chainsaw comes to life. I like this world and have always been comfortable in it - Screaming in High Heels reminds me why I'm so comfortable in it by bringing vividly to life the heart, humor and humanity of our Scream Queens, many of whom offscreen were kind, compassionate and extraordinarily likable women.

Screaming in High Heels is now available on home video thanks to those always dependable folks at Breaking Glass Pictures with DVD packaging that includes extra interviews and some other delightful scenes. By no means a release for those who prefer blockbusters to B-movies, Screaming in High Heels will play beautifully to those who fondly remember the B-movies and exploitation flicks of the 70s and especially the 80s.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic