THE AMERICAN SCREAM **** USA 2012 91 mins
Michael Stephenson, who directed the wonderful BEST WORST MOVIE – the oddly inspiring account of TROLL 2’s evolution into a cult classic – has here crafted a refreshingly unpatronising documentary feature about ordinary folk who spend the whole year working on how to scare the general public on Halloween night. The movie focuses on three separate self-styled “Home Haunters” in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, who stage Halloween walk-throughs rife with corny puns, papier mache aliens and desecrated Barbie dolls. Some strive to outdo their previous endeavours with ever more elaborate props and fright-gags while others unpretentiously just try to decorate as best as they can. It’s a surprisingly touching picture with a rare lack of cynicism as it documents the singular passion of everyday folk and the pleasure and solidarity said passion brings to a wider crowd on the best damn day of the year.
Review by Steven West