18th Apr2019

‘Silk Scream’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lauren Alexandra, Jenn Attaway, Lorraine Chetta, Renell Gibbs, Bill Heintz, Ari Lehman, Jason Matherne, Hunter McGregor, Lisa Mackel Smith, Steve Waltz | Written by Bill Heintz | Directed by Jason Matherne

silk-scream-art

New Orleans based filmmakers Terror Optics have been churning out some “interesting” genre films in the last 15+ years beginning with the extreme horror Goreface Killer in 2002 and following it up with the likes of Goregasm and Grimewave. All of which pushed the boundaries of sex and violence, in the most low-budget way possible that is!

Terror Optics latest film, Silk Scream, once again helmed by founder Jason Matherne but this time written by Bill Heintz – who actually starred in the first Terror Optics film, the aforementioned Goreface Killer – is somewhat different from the companies previous efforts, eschewing the extreme nature of their prior films and delivering a movie that has more of an 80s-slasher meets Italian Giallo aesthetic… but with a Troma twist!

Silk Scream sees a series of murders occur in New Orleans, all tied into the cities thriving t-shirt making business (which in this instance seems remarkably cutthroat… literally) and in particular one screen printing shop whose workers AND clients are being picked off one-by-one by an unknown assailant. With the death toll rising two of the shops staff team up to solve the ongoing killing spree before the cops do.

OK, I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Silk Scream is dumb, incredibly dumb. But it also has an peculiar charm, the same kind of charm found in the movies of Troma and a myriad of shot-on-video horror flicks of the late 80s/early 90s. It also has some fantastic gore, much better than you’d expect given the ultra-low budget nature of the production. It’s the kind of gore that wouldn’t look out of place in one of Dario Argento’s classic giallos, though Matherne doesn’t hesitate to bring out the more gruesome FX when the film needs to ramp up to the horror come the final third. Speaking of horror, the real surprise here is that Silk Scream also has the same kind of red-herring filled, killer-guessing, plot that the horror films of Dario Argento are well-known for – and it pulls it off the duplicity with aplomb!

But its not just Argento that director Jason Matherne riffs on. In fact this film is positively FILLED with nods to other movies, be they slasher or giallo. The biggest nod however HAS to be the soundtrack. Silk Scream has a cracking synth score that echoes the best in 80s genre cinema. Undoubtedly inspired by the likes of John Carpenter, Alan Howarth and Goblin, the soundtrack really adds a depth to the film where there is none – telling the story even moreso than the cast at times!

An intriguing and somewhat bold (given there past notoriety) new step from the Terror Optics crew, Silk Scream is out now on DVD and VOD (in the US) from Wild Eye Releasing.

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