In an effort to re-create a genuine drive-in experience in the comfort of your own living room, Elite Entertainment has paired up two horror films with nothing in common, tossed in a couple of cartoons, and dredged up a night's worth of intermission fillers. Alex Nicol's The Screaming Skull
is an eerily effective little psycho-thriller about a newlywed (Peggy Webber) who moves into her husband's secluded mansion and becomes haunted by the ghost of his first wife. Borrowing liberally from Hitchcock's Under Capricorn
(in particular the titular skull that follows our traumatized heroine around ), Nicol gives it a Southern Gothic twist with a decaying old mansion, a "slow," childlike handyman, and a strangling, overgrown setting. The Giant Leeches
is another story, a swamp trash take on Creature from the Black Lagoon
with floppy rubber creatures trawling the everglades for victims. They're as scary as a garbage bag and about as distinct too, but the real fun is the film's hothouse melodrama of hick poachers and hot-to-trot hillbilly adulterers. The giant bloodsuckers are explained away in classic fashion: "Maybe our proximity to Cape Canaveral has something to do with it."
Elite's transfers are better than one would expect, a little soft perhaps but clear, clean, and intact, and they've both been effectively letterboxed. They've also gone the extra mile to complete the drive-in experience with the alternate "Distort-O" audio option. Select the track and listen to the glorious low-fi reproduction of the tinny, buzzy drive-in speaker sound. --Sean Axmaker