Scream for Help

Last updated
Scream for Help
Scream for Help.jpg
Original poster
Directed by Michael Winner
Written by Tom Holland
Produced byMichael Winner
Cinematography Robert Paynter
Edited byArnold Ross
Michael Winner
Music by John Paul Jones
Torremodo Ltd.
Distributed by Lorimar
Release dates
  • 1 July 1984 (1984-07-01)(U.S.) [1]
  • 15 March 1985 (1985-03-15)(London) [2]
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$3 million [3]

Scream for Help is a 1984 British horror film [4] directed by Michael Winner, written by Tom Holland, and starring Rachael Kelly, David Brooks, and Marie Masters. Set in New Rochelle, New York, the film follows a teenage girl who discovers that her stepfather is trying to murder her and her mother, but her repeated claims of her findings are disbelieved by those around her. Former Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones composed the musical score.



In New Rochelle, New York, Christie, a teenage girl discovers that her stepfather Paul is trying to murder her and her mother Karen for her money, but when she tries to tell other people about it, no one will believe her. After a maintenance worker dies in the basement, Christie believes Paul set the trap for her mother after she saw him leave the basement the previous night. Christie begins following Paul everywhere and discovers he is having an affair with a young attractive woman named Brenda. She is caught by Brenda's brother Lacey but manages to run away. Paul convinces Karen that Brenda is a client of his and she believes him over her daughter.

Christie convinces Josh, her best friend Janey's boyfriend, to accompany her to catch Paul, but the brakes to her mother's car have been tampered with, almost killing them. Christie and Janey discover Paul and Brenda at a motel and run when Paul sees them. Janey tells Christie she is pregnant by Josh, but moments later is killed in a hit and run by an unseen driver. Christie tells the police that Paul killed Janey, intending to kill her, but she is not believed. Josh sticks up for Christie after she is bullied and blamed for Janey's death. Later, she loses her virginity to Josh but they are interrupted by Paul, who orders Josh to leave; when Christie goes to the bathroom, she notices gas, now suspecting that Paul is trying to kill her too (as she would be entitled to her mother's inheritance before he would be). Karen also falls down the stairs after a trap Paul set for her, putting her in a wheelchair. Christie takes a picture of Paul and Brenda having sex but drops the picture and is seen; while retrieving the picture she overhears that Brenda and Lacey are in fact a married couple who plan to blackmail Paul after he kills Karen and Christie. She shows her mother the picture and Paul is ordered to leave.

At midnight, Paul, Brenda and Lacey invade the house and force Christie and Karen to the basement, revealing their plans to kill them both at 2 a.m. and blame it on a burglar. Christie tells Paul about the real relationship between Brenda and Lacey, which angers him. Christie tricks Brenda into letting her out to go to the bathroom while Karen cuts the electricity to the house from the basement, giving Christie a chance to run and stab both Lacey and Paul. After Brenda attacks Karen and turns the lights back, on Christie surrenders herself to Lacey and both victims are forced back to the basement, where they devise another plan to escape by wetting the fuse box.

At 2 a.m., they are ordered upstairs but are interrupted by Josh knocking at the door. Lacey orders Christie to open the door and get rid of him. Josh is suspicious and informs the police. When the electricity goes off, both mother and daughter flee their attackers. Lacey orders Brenda to go to the basement and turn the lights back on, but the wet fuse box electrocutes Brenda. After almost catching Karen, Lacey runs to the basement after hearing Brenda's scream and finds her dead. Christie tricks Paul into believing she is in her bathroom when Paul enters the gas filled bathroom with a lighter; it explodes and he is killed. Josh saves Christie from the burning house.

With their ordeal over, Christie and Karen reside at another house temporarily when Josh comes over to kiss Christie; Lacey appears and hits Josh and plans to kill Christie for what she did to Brenda. Christie pulls out a knife and stabs Lacey through the stomach, killing him.



The exterior sequences were filmed on location in New Rochelle, New York, while interior sequences were shot in London.


Critical response

Derek Malcolm of The Guardian wrote that director Winner "pushes his plot to further and further levels of implausiblity, and ends with a bloodbath that looks ominously like a practise run for the forthcoming Death Wish III ." [5]

Home media

Scream for Help was released on VHS, Betamax, and LaserDisc [6] in North America by Karl-Lorimar Home Video on 15 October 1985. [7] The film's home video release received a significant promotional campaign in retail markets, including special brochures, posters, counter cards, and a cardboard standup. [7] Stuart Karl, then-president of Karl-Lorimar, commented at the time: "To our knowledge, this is the first time in home video history that a company has approached advertising for a home video feature as if it were a theatrical release." [7]

The film has not been issued on DVD but a Blu-ray from Scream Factory was released on 18 September 2018. [8]


Related Research Articles

<i>Scary Movie</i> 2000 film directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans

Scary Movie is a 2000 American slasher parody film directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans and written by Marlon and Shawn Wayans, alongside Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Starring Anna Faris, Jon Abrahams, Carmen Electra, Shannon Elizabeth, Kurt Fuller, Regina Hall, Lochlyn Munro, Cheri Oteri, and Dave Sheridan, it follows a group of teenagers who accidentally hit a man with their car, dump his body in a lake and never talk about it again. A year later, someone wearing a Ghostface mask and robe kills them one by one.

<i>Urban Legend</i> (film) 1998 film by Jamie Blanks

Urban Legend is a 1998 slasher film directed by Jamie Blanks, written by Silvio Horta, and starring Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Tara Reid, and Michael Rosenbaum, and is the first installment in the Urban Legend film series. Its plot focuses on a series of murders on the campus of a private New England university, all of which appear to be modeled after popular urban legends. In addition to its younger cast, the film features supporting performances from Robert Englund, Loretta Devine, John Neville, and Brad Dourif.

<i>The Stepfather</i> (1987 film) 1987 American psychological horror film

The Stepfather is a 1987 American psychological horror film directed by Joseph Ruben and starring Terry O'Quinn, Jill Schoelen, and Shelley Hack. O'Quinn stars as an identity-assuming serial killer who marries a widow with a teenage daughter. Having killed his previous family and changed his identity, his murderous tendencies continue after his stepdaughter becomes suspicious of him. The film is loosely based on the life of mass murderer John List, although the plot is more commonly associated with slasher films of the era. The film was written by Donald E. Westlake, from a story by Westlake, Carolyn Lefcourt, and Brian Garfield with an uncredited rewrite by David Loughery.

<i>Dont Be Afraid of the Dark</i> (1973 film) 1973 television film by John Newland

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is an American made-for-television horror film directed by John Newland and starring Kim Darby and Jim Hutton. It was released by Lorimar Productions and was first telecast on ABC on Wednesday October 10, 1973, during the ABC Movie of the Week. It has since been shown many times in syndication and was distributed on home video and now on DVD. It is known as Nightmare in certain countries in Europe. A theatrical remake of the same name was released on August 26, 2011.

"Storyteller" is the sixteenth episode of the seventh and final season of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "Storyteller" refers to Andrew Wells, who has become a pseudo-member of the Scooby Gang after being a villain in the previous season, and has been held hostage at Buffy's home since early in the season.

<i>Return of the Living Dead Part II</i> 1988 film by Ken Wiederhorn

Return of the Living Dead Part II is a 1988 American comedy horror film written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn, and starring Michael Kenworthy, Marsha Dietlein, Dana Ashbrook, Thom Mathews, James Karen, and Phil Bruns. It is the first of four sequels to The Return of the Living Dead.

<i>Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice</i> 1992 American horror film directed by David Price

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice is a 1992 American supernatural horror slasher film and the sequel to the 1984 film Children of the Corn. Directed by David Price, it stars Terence Knox, Ryan Bollman, Ned Romero, and Paul Scherrer. The film was released on October 21, 1992 in Germany and in theatres by Dimension Films on January 29, 1993. The video release was handled by Paramount Pictures. This was the last film in the series to be released theatrically, as other sequels went on direct to video.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Laurie Strode</span> Character in the Halloween franchise

Laurie Strode is a fictional character in the Halloween franchise by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. She debuted in the original 1978 film as a high school student who becomes targeted by serial killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Laurie appears in nine of the franchise's 13 films and is generally considered the main protagonist of the series, with later films seeing Michael continue to threaten her life. Most entries depict her as Michael's younger sister, although this detail is not present in the first film and disregarded by the current 2018 continuity.

<i>Beneath</i> (2007 film) 2007 American film

Beneath is a straight-to-DVD thriller-horror film co-produced in a first time partnership between Paramount Classics and MTV Films. The film is directed by the newcomer Dagen Merrill, who co-wrote the script with Kevin Burke, and the list of producers include Sean Covel and Chris Wyatt, as well as Troy Craig Poon. In Paramount Classics's first horror movie, which marks the company's expansion from acquisitions into the production arena, the cast includes Nora Zehetner and Matthew Settle. Shooting started 2005 in Vancouver, the film was released on DVD August 7, 2007. It was the first direct-to-video title produced by MTV Films.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lacey Sturm</span> American singer and songwriter

Lacey Nicole Sturm is an American singer and songwriter born in Homestead, Florida, but raised in Arlington, Texas. She is a co-founder and lead vocalist of the hard rock band Flyleaf. In February 2016, Sturm became the first solo female artist to top the Billboard Hard Rock Albums chart with her debut release Life Screams.

<i>Bad Ronald</i> 1974 television film directed by Buzz Kulik

Bad Ronald is a 1974 American made-for-television horror thriller film directed by Buzz Kulik and starring Scott Jacoby, Pippa Scott, John Larch, Dabney Coleman and Kim Hunter. It is based on the novel of the same title by Jack Vance.

<i>Sorority House Massacre II</i> 1990 film by Jim Wynorski

Sorority House Massacre II is a 1990 American slasher film directed by Jim Wynorski, featuring scream queens Melissa Ann Moore and Gail Harris. Much like its predecessors, Sorority House Massacre II has received a cult following over the years.

<i>Cinderella</i> (2006 film) 2006 South Korean film

Cinderella (Korean: 신데렐라) is a 2006 South Korean supernatural horror film. It was directed by Bong Man-dae and starred Do Ji-won and Shin Se-kyung.

<i>Girls School Screamers</i> 1986 American film

Girls School Screamers is a 1986 American supernatural slasher film co-written and directed by John P. Finnegan. The plot follows a group of young college girls who are taken up to an abandoned mansion to help renovate it, only to later be dispatched one by one by an unseen assailant. The film was shot independently in Philadelphia under the title The Portrait, before it was acquired by Troma Entertainment, who reshot portions of it and retitled the film.

<i>Loch Ness Terror</i> 2008 Canadian TV series or program

Loch Ness Terror is a 2008 horror television film directed by Paul Ziller and written by Ziller and Jason Bourque.

"Lacey" is the 19th episode of the second season of the American ABC fantasy/drama television series Once Upon a Time, and the show's 41st episode overall. It aired on April 21, 2013.

<i>I Smile Back</i> 2015 American film

I Smile Back is a 2015 American drama film directed by Adam Salky and based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Amy Koppelman, who wrote the screenplay with Paige Dylan. The film stars Sarah Silverman as an upper-middle-class wife and mother struggling with mental illness and addiction. The film had its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2015. It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 16, 2015. The film was released in a limited release on October 23, 2015, by Broad Green Pictures.

<i>Open House</i> (2010 film) 2010 American film

Open House is a 2010 thriller film directed by Andrew Paquin. Was screened at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. It was released on DVD in August 2010 in the United States by Lionsgate.


  1. "Scream for Help". Rotten Tomatoes . Archived from the original on 29 August 2020.
  2. "Entertainments Guide". The Guardian . 15 March 1985. p. 24 via
  3. "The Unstoppables". Spy. November 1988. p. 90.
  4. "Scream for Help (1984)". British Film Institute . Archived from the original on 21 October 2020.
  5. Malcolm, Derek (14 March 1985). "A street Carmen named desire". The Guardian . p. 11 via
  6. "Scream for Help video trade advertisement". Star Tribune . 21 September 1986. p. 117 via
  7. 1 2 3 "Halloween Scream". Winnipeg Sun . 14 September 1986. p. 105 via
  8. "Scream for Help - Blu-ray :: Shout! Factory".