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Scream Queen (2002) Review

Last year Visual Vengeance gave us the previously unreleased Linnea Quigley film Heartland of Darkness, now they’re releasing another one, Scream Queen. Shot in 1998 which would have made it writer/director Brad Sykes’ (Plaguers, Hi-Death) first feature, as well as an early credit for producer David S. Sterling (Revenge of the First Wives, Fangs Out). Instead, it sat in post-production until 2002 and only now seeing any kind of actual release.

Malicia Tombs (Linnea Quigley, Dead by Midnight (Y2Kill), Return of the Living Dead) storms off the set of her latest film, “I’m dealing with amateurs. This would never happen on a Fred Olen Ray film”, only to die in a fiery car accident before she can get out of the parking lot. Well, she’s presumed dead, as her body is never recovered.

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A year later, the film’s director Eric Orloff (Jarrod Robbins, Mutation, Evil Sister 2) along with the effects guy Squib (Bryan Cooper) and the film’s main cast, Runyon (Kurt Levee, Evil Sister), Devon (Nova Sheppard, Wish), Jenni (Emilie Jo Tisdale, Escape From Hell, Lost Soul) and Christine (Nicole West, Dimension in Fear, Navigators of the Space) all receive an invitation to dinner from an unknown person.

It seems somebody is willing to pay good money to see Scream Queen finished, but with a radically revised script. You can probably guess who, and just where the plot is going to go from there. Not only was Scream Queen Sykes’ first feature, if I recall right it wasn’t a personal project, he was hired to write and direct it, probably to a set of specifications rather than give it the kind of quirky story he often does.

Update: Brad Sykes commented on my FB that “Scream Queen was a personal project that I devised and pitched, not an assignment.” I could swear I saw him post differently about it, but I must have it confused with something else. Though if that is the case there’s less excuse for the by the numbers script. He also takes issue with my comment below about some of Linnea’s shots looking like a double was used. That may well be her in every shot, but there are a couple that look off. I’ll put that down to the video tech of the time making things look odd.

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It also obviously had next to no budget, and most of that probably was spent on getting Linnea Quigley to show up for a few scenes. And the keyword there is few, Her character is barely in the film, and even then some of her scenes look like they used a stand in. She’s obviously having fun in the scenes she is in, playing a parody of herself turned into a low budget diva from hell, she’s just not in enough scenes.

The rest of Scream Queen’s budget probably went on its effects. There aren’t that many of them, but there are some and a couple of them, like a garroting with the chain off of a chainsaw, are quite good. Somewhat surprisingly, there’s no nudity despite several scenes teasing the viewer.

While Visual Vengeance has done a good job of restoring Scream Queen for this release, you have to keep in mind that it was shot and edited on tape twenty-seven years ago. For what they had to work from, it looks perfectly acceptable, but it’s not up to the standards of many of their other releases. The collection of extras, on the other hand, is as large and varied, even including a slightly longer producer’s cut of the film. You can see a list of them below.

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The result is a generic SOV slasher that, if it was released at the time, would probably have been on a budget label and turned up on the bargain rental shelf of indie video stores. That won’t stop fans of Ms. Quigley, those with nostalgia for the era, and shot on video completists from wanting to see it, however. Those who aren’t hardcore collectors may want to wait for it to turn up on streaming services, however.

Visual Vengeance will release Scream Queen as a collector’s edition Blu-ray on November 28th.

Bonus Materials
All region Blu-ray
New director-approved 480p SD master presented on Blu-ray from original tape elements
Commentary with Writer / Director Brad Sykes
Once Upon A Time In Horrorwood: Behind the Scenes Documentary
Second Feature: Original Producer’s Cut of Movie
New Linnea Quigley Interview
Editor Mark Polonia Interview
Behind The Scenes Image Gallery
Linnea Quigley Image Gallery
Original Script Selects
Original Trailer
Visual Vengeance Trailers
Six-page liner notes by Tony Strauss of Weng’s Chop Magazine
Limited Edition slipcase by Rick Melton – FIRST PRESSING ONLY
Limited Edition ‘Series 2’ Video Store Rental Card – FIRST PRESSING ONLY
Collectible Linnea Quigley folded mini-poster
‘Stick your own’ VHS sticker set
Reversible sleeve featuring original home video art
Optional English subtitles

YouTube video
Where to watch Scream Queen
Our Score
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