Visual Vengeance: Scream Queen (1998 - 2002) - Reviewed

Images courtesy of Visual Vengeance

Linnea Quigley is one of the bona fide original American scream queens of 1980s horror films, known for her stints in Graduation Day, Silent Night Deadly Night, Night of the Demons and most famously the stripping punk zombie Trash from The Return of the Living Dead.  Also making a sneaky cameo in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Quigley has kept herself busy all these years including music videos and low budget horror films including Kolobos and today’s Visual Vengeance shot-on-video entry Scream Queen.

Not to be confused with the excellent documentary of the same name on A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2, Linnea Quigley’s meta self-referential meta romp from low-budget horror writer-director Brad Sykes is unique for having started shooting on video in 1998 only to be finished by the producers themselves in 2002 amid a heated creative battle.  Though on the cheap 480p SD tape source with the footage itself showing off occasional tape wrinkles, the homegrown indie nevertheless provided for Quigley room to lampoon herself while also satirizing the nature of videotape photography itself.
Horror actress Malicia Tombs (Linnea Quigley) is shooting a low budget SOV horror film entitled Scream Queen when an on-set actress dispute causes her to leave the set.  However moments after driving off her truck crashes and explodes in flames, leaving the actress presumably dead and the cast and crew without a finished film.  

Years go by with everyone having moved on to other jobs that barely pay the bills including but not limited to one character selling fur coats off a street curb and a neurotic visual effects makeup artist whiles away his time talking to a masked mannequin.  But soon everyone starts receiving mysterious invitations to a remote mansion where the offer is made to complete the film for a hefty price.  Despite the mysterious circumstances, the survivors reluctantly agree only to find there’s another masked killer roaming the mansion wielding a scalpel. 
Another one of those movies that ran into creative problems with the producers who objected to going off of the strict budgetary regimen and eventually clashed with the director on the final cut, this SOV flick despite the shoddy video quality and synthetic score is a fun tongue-in-cheek meta horror flick providing ample room for Quigley to lampoon herself and strut her horror icon stuff.  

Interspersed in the film are original music videos of Linnea Quigley parodying These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ with the slight change to Chainsaw’s Made for Cutting, where she quite literally waves a chainsaw at the camera.  The other cast members are fine with the neurotic makeup effects artist turning over a Randy Quaid inspired performance while some of the actresses are there to wave their near bare chests around.  It’s that kind of movie.
Long thought to be a lost film following its troubled production and distribution history with the director mostly being forced off the project and edited without his oversight, the restored Visual Vengeance blu-ray comes with plentiful extras including a mini poster, stickers and a six-page booklet of liner notes.  For longtime Quigley fans, Scream Queen represents a previously missing chapter in her extensive indie horror filmography.  

With a surprising amount of gore effects, snarky meta references and a goof on the business of making horror movies, Scream Queen is another home run for Visual Vengeance who have taken great pains to ensure this once unseeable little gem is available for all to bear witness to.  Hard to not have lo-fi chainsaw horror fun with this one with one of the horror scene’s most formidable goddesses at the epicenter. 

--Andrew Kotwicki