This twisted little flick is often neglected in retrospectives of the slasher sub-genre, but it’s a great early example of the style that doesn’t get bogged down trying to decipher why Matthew (Fred Holbert) kills — as Chris Rock once said, “Whatever happened to ‘crazy’?” — instead, letting his actions speak for themselves. Suffice it to say, Matthew is a certifiable little teenage bastard who loves his mother more than Norman Bates, Oedipus and Melissa Rivers combined, and I would advise you not to get in between them. Did I mention he has a hook for a hand?
Scream Bloody Murder has relevance to this site, though, because of the relatively minor role of Bridey-Lee (A. Maana Tanelah). Her death in the film is notable as one of the early instances in modern horror movies of what would become a hallmark (especially in slashers): the black character dying.
Bridey-Lee is a particularly intriguing case in that she embodies both “old school” and “new school” African-American horror roles: she’s both a maid (and a darn cranky one at that) and a murder victim. She earns the latter by playing good Samaritan to Matthew, falling for his tale about his car breaking down and allowing him to use the phone in the mansion where she works. Knowing a thing or two about discrimination, she feels sorry for him because she thinks the snooty people in that neighborhood would take one look at his hand and refuse to open their doors: “They wouldn’t give you the time of day if they had all the clocks in the world,” she huffs. Oops, you’ve got a meat cleaver in your head. Let this be a lesson to you: Never pity the handicapped.