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The Screaming Skull/Attack of the Giant Leeches - Drive-In Discs Vol.1

21 customer reviews

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(Jan 02, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

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

Special Features

  • A Drive-In Double Feature: The Screaming Skull (1958, 68 min.) & Attack of the Giant Leeches (1960, 62 min.)
  • The latest in Low-Fidelity technology: Distort-O! To recreate the drive-in experience, audio track number 2 will replicate the truly horrific quality of the famed drive-in window speaker. This feature will deliver the audio signal only to the front left speaker of your system. You'll feel like you're really there!
  • plus!: Countdown Clock, Concession Stand Ads, Coming Attractions, Cartoons, Intermission

Product Details

  • Actors: Guy Buccola (II), George Cisar, Ken Clark, Michael Emmet, Joseph Hamilton
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Elite Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 2, 2001
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630580396X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,247 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Screaming Skull/Attack of the Giant Leeches - Drive-In Discs Vol.1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Dobson on August 2, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are looking for the spooky and not the gore, if you want something that the younger kids can watch these are the movies for you.

Lots of acting without all the special effects.

No oscars here but lots of fun.

Get out the popcorn and enjoy.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hans Kellner on January 23, 2001
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Look, I know "The Screaming Skull" is no "Citizen Kane." But that's no excuse for the cruddy treatment it receives on this abysmal DVD from Elite Entertainment. I compared the disc with an old VHS copy and noted the following: missing shots, entire chunks of missing dialogue, bad splices, bogus letterboxing (!) that crops and cramps the image, a generally dark and muddy transfer, and a phony digital end title card. Some of the cuts actually make hash of the narrative. For example, in the original film a character screams in terror when she sees a macabre painting that plays a crucial role in the plot. But since the DVD omits any actual shots of the painting, she appears to be screaming bizarrely for no reason. Subsequent dialogue about the painting is missing as well. So when the painting finally shows up in a later scene as part of a plot twist, the viewer can only register confusion. Other omissions completely undermine the relationship between two of the movie's characters. On the basis of this disc, it's no wonder people think so little of this movie. If Elite Entertainment couldn't be bothered to find an adequate print of the movie, why bother with all the "drive-in" extras? "The Screaming Skull" is a frequently creepy (albeit low-budget and dated) movie that deserves more than its role here as the peg on which to hang a marketing concept. Look for it on VHS. Avoid this disc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Baron Sardonicus on October 4, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is really a cool way to experience those cheesy, 'so bad they're good' b-movies of yesteryear. It's the next best thing to using a time machine to go back to the old drive-in movies.

At the main menu of the dvd you can go to the ticket booth icon, and this starts the show. (You can jump to any of the features if you like, but this Ticket Booth option is the best way to do it.) Once you've started things via the ticket booth, you will then enjoy (among other things): The Star Spangled Banner, adverts for concession treats, a couple of old cartoons, reminders from theater management about not talking during the film, and a b-movie double feature.

It gets better. The coolest part is that there's an alternate audio track you can select during the films that contain the 'speaker' sound of the film as if you were sitting in a car, plus sound effects of people walking past your car on the gravel, a little comment here and there by someone in the next car, crickets, and other 'natural' sounds. It is a hoot. (And you can always just change the sound to the regular movie audio without these extra effects.)

The picture quality is mediocre at best, but the nostalgia makes it totally worthwhile. Yes, the whole experience is very kitsch and campy, but it's like capturing something from the past. It's the next best thing to being there.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cherryl Weaver on March 27, 2001
Format: DVD
I was very surprised to pop this disc into my DVD player and actually feel like I was transported back to the experience of going to a drive in theater. Who would have guessed you could add sounds like banging on the car trunk and people walking in gravel or someone next to you yelling to turn out your lights. This is a remarkable use of the technology available on DVD and I have never before seen or heard this used in such a unique fashion. OK so Screaming Skull and Attack of the Giant Leeches are goofy "B" film movies, this disc was worth every penny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Runk VINE VOICE on April 17, 2009
Format: DVD
This is more of a praise of the DVD itself rather than of the two films contained within. After all, nearly every household in America has copies of the Screaming Skull and Attack of the Giant Leeches, so reviews for those films would just be redundant and gauche.
But this Drive-In Discs DVD package from Elite Entertainment is very good. Obviously something put together by folks who love the old drive-in experience. Once you start the program(or buy the ticket as it were), you're treated to vintage drive-in fun: concession stand ads, a "don't talk during the movie" spot, a "no public display of affection" spot(you'll be kicked out of the drive-in and permanently banned if you're caught getting too hot and heavy with your date), and other assorted product ads. Plus there are coming attractions(The Wasp Woman and The Giant Gila Monster) and cartoons(a Betty Boop and a Popeye).
All of this fun stuff is shown before each feature. Also of interest is an audio track which allows you to hear through your speakers, a kind of drive-in environment. A good sound system would be great with this feature. There are sounds of people walking by, cars starting up and driving, and the occasional rare comment on the film. None of it interferes with the films, and it really quite fun. Silly for sure, but fun, dammit!
The quality of the films is pretty lousy. Both films have been released before on mediocre discs, and this is no exception. I suppose that you can only clean these films up so much. Either that or legions of film buffs aren't bothering to demand top drawer prints of Attack of the Giant Leeches.
But regardless, for the price, this DVD is a good time, and I can only hope that Elite keeps em coming.
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