The American Scream

The American Scream

Editor’s Note: The gang covering Fantastic Fest really loved this one, and now it’s playing on the Chiller network on October 28th, 8pm EST before hitting theaters in November. If you can’t find an upcoming screening near you, you can request one through Tugg. Here’s another chance to read Luke’s review… The world is pretty much made up of two kinds of people, those who have seen Troll 2 and those who haven’t seen Troll 2… yet. But thanks to filmmaker and former Troll 2 star Michael Paul Stephenson, more and more people have recently become exposed to Troll 2 through his documentary about being a part of the infamously terrible film, Best Worst Movie. Best Worst Movie was such a fascinating film that fans have been anxiously awaiting Stephenson’s second project. Thankfully, he doesn’t disappoint and his second documentary, The American Scream is another captivating window into a world of passionate fans.

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The American Scream Trailer

For tons of film geeks, Halloween is the best time of the year. We get to layer our movie weight under comfy sweaters, the squares suddenly show interest in makeup and demons and all sort of other strange stuff, and we can gorge on all of the cheesy horror movies we want without anyone thinking it’s weird. The new documentary from Best Worst Movie director Michael Stephenson follows subjects who feel much the same way about our calendar’s most Karo syrup-obsessed holiday. The American Scream is about three ordinary families who all share the same obsession: they take decorating their houses for Halloween way too seriously. If you’ve seen Best Worst Movie, you probably know what to expect here. The American Scream makes a group of weirdos its focus, and manages to milk their weirdness for some laughs, but it also clearly has a deep affection for them, so things never feel mean or exploitative, and you might even get some insight into the human condition. When he took it in at Fantastic Fest recently, our own Luke Mullen called the movie, “another captivating window into a world of passionate fans.”

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American Scream crew

With October on the horizon, as well as that glorious holiday there contained, many of us are gearing up for haunted house season. In many ways the last vestige of the roaming carnival days, companies come in every year, occupy some abandoned retail space, and commence with a nightly regimen of shrieks, jumps, and frights that carries us screaming into November. But what happens when those with the desire to create an effective spook house don’t have the benefit of such monstrous budgets? The more organic, love-labor-intensive community haunted houses are the results of an entire year’s worth of work by blue collar artists and their families. The process by which they transform their own homes into cathedrals to low-budget scares, called home haunts, is the subject of Michael Paul Stephenson’s (Best Worst Movie) latest documentary: The American Scream. A touching, fascinating, and deeply sincere testament to unflappable creative spark, The American Scream found easy purchase in the Fantastic Fest lineup this year. In fact, beside the theater, in what used to be a scooter retailer, the Alamo Drafthouse partnered with Manny Souza (a featured subject in the doc) to quickly, and with a MacGyver-like resourcefulness, build a miniature home haunt right next door. It was in this hallowed place that we were fortunate enough to sit down with Stephenson, producer Meyer Shwarzstein, and another featured home haunt artist Victor Bariteau to talk about the film. Even in the light of day, the appropriateness of this meeting place was not […]

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