From a Whisper to a Scream (film)
|From a Whisper to a Scream|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jeff Burr|
|Produced by||William Burr
|Written by||C. Courtney Joyner
|Music by||Jim Manzie|
|Distributed by||Moviestore Entertainment|
|Running time||99 min.|
|Box office||$1,355,728 (USA)|
In a small Tennessee town called Oldfield, historian Julian White (Vincent Price) relates four horror stories to a reporter (Susan Tyrrell). The stories are connected to the past and present of Oldfield, which seems to be an epicenter for pure evil. White's narration serves as a wraparound story for four otherwise unconnected segments set during different periods in history ranging from the American Civil War to present day.
The first, set in modern times, involves awkward grocery clerk Stanley Burnside (Clu Gulager) who attempts to date his glamorous boss (Megan McFarland) with disastrous results (the film's video title The Offspring presumably refers to this segment).
The second segment, set in the 1950s, is the tale of a wounded man (Terry Kiser) on the run from murderous gangsters, who encounters a mysterious man (Harry Ceasar) that may be guarding a powerful secret.
The third segment, set in the 1930s, involves a local girl (Martine Beswick), who falls in love with a glass-eating carnival performer (Ron Brooks) much to the displeasure of the carnival's controlling Snakewoman (Rosalind Cash).
The fourth and final segment, set during the American Civil War, finds Union Sgt. Gallen (Cameron Mitchell) and his men encountering a group of children living alone, apparently without adults, on an isolated farmhouse. They appear to be war orphans, but all is not what it seems, as Gallen and his men quickly learn.
- Vincent Price ... Julian White
- Clu Gulager ... Stanley Burnside
- Terry Kiser ... Jesse Hardwick
- Harry Caesar ... Felder Evans
- Rosalind Cash ... Snakewoman
- Cameron Mitchell ... Sgt. Gallen
- Susan Tyrrell ... Beth Chandler
- Martine Beswick ... Katherine White
- Ron Brooks ... Steven Arden
- Miriam Byrd-Nethery ... Eileen Burnside
- Didi Lanier ... Amarrillis Caulfield
- Lawrence Tierney ... Warden
- Thomas Nowell ... Andrew (credited as Tommy Nowell)
- Terence Knox ... Burt (credited as Terry Knox)
From a Whisper to a Scream was filmed during the periods of 1985 and 1986, and was finally released in 1987. During the shooting stage Vincent Price's scenes for the framing story were the last to be filmed. In fact, seeing footage from the finished segments helped convince the actor to take the role.
Director Jeff Burr, whose only prior film was the American Civil War drama Divided We Fall, had limited experience in Hollywood, and met much of the cast (Rosalind Cash, Clu Galager, Terry Kiser) through friends, rather than through a traditional casting process.
In order to secure Vincent Price for the role of Julian White in the frame story, Burr went in person to Price's house with a bottle of wine (aware that Price was a wine connoisseur) and gave him the script in person. Burr would later recall,
We came bearing gifts, and wouldn’t you know… he opened the door himself when we knocked! It was a flurry of “Gee, Mr. Price, we’re fans of your work…” and “we wrote this script,” and he actually invited us inside. He had every reason to ignore us, and even if it was on a polite level, he could have said, “Okay boys, contact my agent,” but he was just so gracious. He invited us in, sat and talked with us for about 15 minutes, took the script, and that’s how it all started.
Price—who at that point in his career was reluctant to do more horror movies—later expressed regret at taking the role in a letter to German actor and puppeteer Gerd J. Pohl, claiming his agent had misrepresented the film. Nevertheless, Burr recalls Price as "professional, gracious, and accommodating", praising his performance and his professionalism on set, despite Burr's suspicion that From a Whisper to a Scream was "the lowest budget film [Price] ever made as a professional". The film became Price's last horror role (though he would later play a villain in the zombie-themed action/comedy Dead Heat).
The film was written and shot under the title From a Whisper to a Scream, but it was changed to The Offspring for the American release. However, when it was released on DVD it was released under its original title.
- Michael Varrati. "Master of the Massacre: An Interview with Filmmaker Jeff Burr". Retrieved February 7, 2015.
- Robg. & Mike C. (2009). "Fright Exclusive Interview: director Jeff Burr". Retrieved February 7, 2015.
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091671/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv IMBD trivia Offspring
- From a Whisper to a Scream at the Internet Movie Database
- From a Whisper to a Scream at Rotten Tomatoes
- From a Whisper to a Scream at AllMovie