Monday, August 31, 2020

Screamplay (1985)


An aspiring screenwriter (co-writer/director Rufus B. Seder) arrives in Hollywood with his typewriter and sets out to write the script that will help him make it big in Tinseltown. He takes up residence in the Welcome Apartments, where he encounters an eccentric cast of characters that inspire the series of gruesome killings he writes in his script, but soon life begins to imitate art, and the writer finds himself at the center of a police investigation as the other tenants begin meeting the same grisly ends as the characters in his screenplay.

Filmed on sound stages in Boston, this is a remarkably evocative independent film that pays homage to the Hollywood B-movies and German Expressionist silent films that clearly served as its inspiration. Underground film legend George Kuchar plays the sleazy hotel manager, and it's great to see him in a starring role here.

This is a good behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of Screamplay. It's a model of what you can do with a lot of imagination on a small budget.

The low-rent, stylized B&W evocation of Hollywood reminded me of what Tim Burton did with a similar approach in Ed Wood, though of course he had far more of a budget to work with. Screamplay has a home-made quality to it that adds immeasurably to its atmosphere.

Streamed on Troma Now.


Waldo Scott said...

I saw this long ago on VHS. Didn't the guy rig up his own system for rear screen projection? A bucket of green paint is all you need today, but it's really not the same.

Matt Barry said...

The production looked like an incredibly inventive DIY affair. The scene where the director crashes his motorcycle into a bus did appear to be using rear projection. There's a brief snippet of the filming of that scene in the "Making Screamplay" documentary on YouTube but I didn't see the rear projection system in use during that clip.