"Screaming In High Heels" takes a look at the b-movie era from the 80's and 90's where three women were at the center of it all. Linnea Quigly, Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauer talk about the highs and lows of what it was like to be a Scream Queen.
After having sat through the abomination that was "Some Nudity Required" where a self-righteous woman attempted to leap frog her career by demonizing an entire industry, I've been waiting for a documentary like "Screaming In High Heels" to come along. I am a big fan of b-movies, as most people are, because they were a lot of fun and offered more than what we could get out of Hollywood films. "Screaming In High Heels" is a documentary that focuses on the stories from the three actresses who lead the charge of these movies during the 80's and 90's: Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley.
That's one of the best things about "Screaming In High Heels"; instead of focusing on the entire Scream Queen persona and all the women who have been apart of it and what not. It chose to focus on three of the women who were there from the beginning and who are still there after. Not only were Brinke, Michelle and Linnea some of the hardest and most frequent working actresses in b-movies, but they did a lot to change the game in terms of marketing.
It's not the women themselves who are making these claims -- actually, all three actresses come off as a bit humble to their own careers and achievements. Much of the accolades in the documentary come from their peers, like Fred Olen Ray, who were there in the beginning as well. It's something that makes "Screaming In High Heels" a well rounded documentary and a tribute to three actresses. It isn't a display piece of people patting themselves on the back and talking about how awesome they are.
It's an assortment of different people who were from different parts of the filmmaking world who were making a certain breed of movies, talking about this moment, this era, in movie history and the three women who were at the center of it. It's not just about the ladies, it's about what it took to get a movie made at this point in time and the attitudes people had towards b-movie and low-budget filmmaking. Everything from the death of drive-in theaters to the game changing home video market and how it affected filmmaking as whole, are discussed in this movie. While Brinke, Michelle and Linnea give their own back stories about how the got started and what it was like for them during certain points of this era.
"Screaming In High Heels" is as much about the women who were willing to bare it all for the sake of entertainment, as it as about the change in culture over time and the change in movies and media as well. And the women aren't afraid to delve into the details, such as some points of regret for them, like not being able to ascend to the next level like they would have hoped. Or when the whole "Scream Queen" term was taken over and essentially ruined by people using and abusing the term, who had no business using it to begin with.
A point that I was glad that was brought up in the movie because this is quite a regular problem in the horror and cult movie world (the term 'grindhouse' being the latest victim, of course). It made the documentary feel a bit more level as it didn't just focus on the women and it didn't just focus on the positive aspects of the era. Some of the less attractive sides are discussed -- the end of their careers, agism in movies, people becoming obsessed (stalkers), etc. But the one key point that they discuss, and was very happy they did because it is something I feel strongly about, is that with the end of the Scream Queen era, also came the end of the b-movie era. They don't directly say that b-movies are dead, but the fact remains that they are. While not speaking specifically in negative terms, they mention how b-movies made way for more backyard and home video projects when the digital age came about -- how cheap technology allows anyone to make a movie these days. It is a sad fact but b-movies are dead and "Screaming In High Heels" goes to show that they really don't make them like they use to.
"Screaming In High Heels" is a good, solid and interesting documentary about three specific actresses and an era of filmmaking that was great while it lasted. Jason Collum did what should be done with a documentary like this; he had a focal point but covered an entire spectrum of an era, both the good and the bad. It's great to know about more about Brinke, Michelle and Linnea along with their point of view about the movies that they made famous but are often ostracized for objectifying women.