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Film / Scream Bloody Murder

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The menace of the hook is somewhat undermined by it's wielder's bowl cut.

"See what I do for you? I get groceries and clothes and art stuff and kill people. And do you appreciate it? No!"

Scream Bloody Murder is a very slasher-esque film released in 1973. Like most Exploitation Films of the era, it has a number of alternate titles, including Matthew, The Captive Female, The Claw Murders, and Claw of Terror.

While a wee lad living on a California farm with his parents, Matthew decided one day to kill his father by running him over with the family tractor, crushing the old man flat. Unfortunately for Matthew, karma struck like lightning, and after losing control of the tractor and leaping off it, his hand was run over and horribly mangled by the machine. The fact that he was a bad seed now screamingly obvious, Matthew was whisked off to a mental institution, and given a crude hook to replace his destroyed hand. With her son left to brood in the asylum, Matthew's mother Daisy grows close to a helpful neighbor named Mack Parsons, and the two inevitably marry after a few years together.


Coincidentally, Matthew, now a surly teenager, is released from the institution and arrives home just after the wedding. While overjoyed to be reunited with his mother, Matthew develops an intense dislike of Mack, refusing to acknowledge him as his stepfather, and claiming that all he and Daisy need is each other. As to be expected, Matthew's dislike of Mack grows into sheer hatred, and one night, while Mack is out alone, Matthew hacks him to death with an axe, being found with the bloody body moments later by Daisy. As his mother goes into hysterics, Matthew claims that he did this all for her, and that now they can be alone together and no one has to touch her; of course, Daisy refuses to see eye to eye with her son, pissing him off and causing him to accidentally kill her by shoving her onto a rock, cracking her head open.


After taking some time to get over his accidental matricide, Matthew hits the road, hitching a ride with a young honeymooning couple consisting of Lex and Brenda after running into them at an acquaintance's gas station. Matthew is fine for a while, but after his companions decide to stop at a stream for a break, he has a meltdown, envisioning the newlyweds as his mother and stepfather when the two begin a grope fest while frolicking in the water. After smashing Lex's head in with a rock, Matthew strangles and drowns Brenda after she continually denies being his mother; with the couple dead, Matthew, still tripping out, flees the scene, and passes out for an indeterminate amount of time, eventually waking up and successfully hitchhiking his way to a small seaside town, where he runs into a prostitute named Vera.

Sparking something of friendship up with Vera after admiring her painting, Matthew can barely hide the disgust he has for her lifestyle, which causes him to murder one of her clients, a sailor. Seeing Vera as a surrogate for his mother, even going as far as calling her Daisy, Matthew decides to give her a better and purer life, spinning a tale about being wealthy and living in a mansion, which he subsequently acquires by bluffing his way into one and butchering the inhabitants, the sickly Helen Anatole, her beleaguered maid Bridey-Lee, and and her little dog too. With a mansion (and a nice car to boot) now in his possession, Matthew takes Vera on a tour of his new home, and grows agitated when she kindly turns down his offer to stay, knocking her out by shoving the woman down a flight of stairs. When Vera comes to, she finds herself tied to a bed, with Matthew stating that, whether she likes it or not, he is going to take care of her from now on, and she'll eventually learn to live with it, or else.

This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Big "OMG!": Daisy's reaction to finding Matthew with Mack's mutilated body, and Matthew when he starts hallucinating after killing Lex and Brenda.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Mack's death, and after being kissed by an apparition of one of his victims, Matthew starts bleeding from the mouth, adding a rather pointless instance of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane to the film.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Lex and Brenda are killed in a stream, while the sailor's body is dumped off a bridge.
  • Bloody Handprint: Bridey-Lee leaves them smeared all over the kitchen walls while being attacked.
  • Body Horror: Matthew's hallucinations are all kinds of messed up.
  • Cane Fu: Ms. Anatole whacks the crap out of Matthew with her walking sticks.
  • Cool Car: Lex's car, and the one Matthew steals from Ms. Anatole.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Done by Matthew to his mother's body, after he accidentally kills her.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Doctor Epstein, who refuses to believe Matthew's lies about being the away Ms. Anatole's nephew, and barges into the house after hearing Vera banging on a door.
  • Driven to Suicide: After killing Vera, Matthew has a complete breakdown, and guts himself.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Matthew takes his rage out on Vera's painting, shredding it with his hook, after she goes inside to have sex with the sailor.
  • Fainting: During an episode, Matthew frantically clambers up a hill, and faints at the top of it.
  • Hooks and Crooks: Matthew at one point hallucinates his victims surrounding him with gaffing hooks.
  • Hope Spot: While Matthew is out, Vera manages to wriggle free of the chair she is tied and get downstairs, but is unable to operate the door, phone, or get the attention of a boy selling candy outside due to her gag and bonds. And later, she gets away again, only to be confronted at the door by Matthew, who rips her throat out.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: It's the Parsons' honeymoon, and coincidentally, Brenda and Lex's as well.
  • Impaled Palm: Matthew stabs the sailor through the hand before finishing him off.
  • Improvised Weapon: Matthew beats Lex to death with a rock, and bludgeons Doctor Epstein with a sculpture.
  • Kick the Dog: Matthew decapitates Ms. Anatole's completely passive dog, though seems at least slightly unnerved by this.
  • Knife Nut: The sailor is killed with a palette knife, while Bridey-Lee got it via a meat cleaver.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Matthew losing his hand directly after killing his father, via the same machine no less.
  • Man on Fire: What Matthew says he sees in Vera's abstract painting.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: "See here, see? Not one word of your disappearance, not one."
  • Modesty Towel: After Vera takes her bath.
  • Montage: Matthew mugging random people, which is followed by a Shopping Montage.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Intense music plays while Matthew is robbing people. It continues to play as he proceeds to go shopping.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: When Vera runs for the door and gets it open, Matthew is right there on the other side waiting for her, despite being up in the bedroom seconds ago.
  • Poisonous Captive: When Vera realizes Matthew has an extreme aversion to sex, she starts trying to use it against him to throw him off his game.
  • Sanctuary of Solitude: Matthew flees to a church when his hallucinations start overwhelming him.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Matthew's commentary on Vera's abstract painting:
    Matthew: "He's being punished for chopping up the man who took his mother away from him."
    Vera: "Huh, I didn't know I was such a good artist."
  • Slave Collar: Matthew forces Vera to paint, and sticks a makeshift leash on her so she doesn't try anything.
  • Spiteful Spit: Vera regurgitates her food onto Matthew during their first dinner together.
  • Squashed Flat: Matthew's father.
  • Staircase Tumble: Matthew accidentally sends Vera tumbling down a flight of them, though it only knocks her out.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: What Matthew is trying to force Vera to undergo.
  • Tears of Blood: While Matthew is hacking Mack to death, some of the old man's blood splashes onto his face, making it look like he is crying blood.
  • Token Minority: Bridey-Lee, and the boy selling candy.
  • Tongue Trauma: "Eat, or I'll cut your tongue out of your mouth."
  • Villain Opening Scene: Young Matthew running his father over.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Matthew goes completely insane by the end, and rips himself open after fleeing to a church.
  • Voiceover Letter: Used once, when Matthew is still in the asylum, and skims through a letter sent by his mother.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Matthew gets inside Ms. Anatole's place by faking car trouble, and claiming that every other house refused to give him any assistance, probably because of his hook and ragged appearance.


Example of: