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January 1970: Scream and Scream Again

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Jan. 15th, 1970 | 12:00 am

“Scream and Scream Again” was Michael’s first foray into the horror genre, as the artificially-created vampire, Keith. It was filmed in London, and in and around Chertsey, Surrey.

Vincent Price is reported to have said: “Michael Gothard … received the best notices for “Scream and Scream Again” as the dynamic and desperate vampire.”

Both the Director, Gordon Hessler, and the Executive Producer, Louis M. Heyward, were very favourably impressed with him.

Incidentally, Nigel Lambert (who played Ken Sparten) appeared in two of the same episodes of “The Further Adventures of the Musketeers” as Michael, “Peril” and “Escape.”

From: “The Christopher Lee Filmography.”

The real stars of this film are Alfred Marks and Michael Gothard. … As the brutal vampire-killer, Michael Gothard projects an out-of-control, psychopathic quality that is cold and ugly and not easily forgotten.

Remarkably, he performed all of his dangerous stunts himself. He fell ten feet from a beam, rolled part way down a rocky quarry, and allowed himself to be pulled up the side of this same steep quarry by a steel cable to give the effect that he was running up it with his super strength. Gothard’s dedication gives this film much of its punch because, according to both Heyward and Hessler, "this was the only way the stunts could have been included because of the low budget."

(Johnson, Tom, and Mark A. Miller. Christopher Lee Filmography: all theatrical releases, 1948-2003, The. McFarland & Co., 2004. p. 199-200.)

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Interview with executive producer, Louis M. Heyward.

"I felt that Michael Gothard was going to be the biggest thing that ever happened. He had that insane look and that drive, and he was wonderful. Here is a kid who really threw himself into the picture wholeheartedly. Do you remember the scene where he appears to be walking up the cliff? That's a stunt that, as an actor, I would not have agreed to; I'd say, 'Hey, get a double or get a dummy. I ain't either one.' But the kid agreed to do it, without a double--he was that driven. He had a lot of class and a lot of style. Gordon [Hessler, Alfred Hitchcock's protege] came up with the idea of using an overhead cable to give that illusion of his walking up the cliff."

(Weaver, Tom, Brunas Michael and Brunas, John. Science Fiction Stars and Horror Heroes: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers of the 1940s through 1960s. page 176)

This is all the more remarkable when you consider Don Levy's assertion, "Mike Gothard ... can't stand heights." But Levy made him stand on the edge of the roof of an 18-storey block, with no safety devices and in a howling gale. At least on "Scream and Scream Again" he was attached to a cable!

Note: Perhaps these stunts are what Michael’s friend from the 1980s, Sean McCormick, was referring to, when he said that Michael "took great delight in telling stories of movie-making hell, from “Scream and Scream Again …”

~~

Interview with Michael Gothard.

In an interview that appeared in ‘X’-Films Vol.3 No 1 in 1973, Michael discussed a number of films, including “Scream & Scream Again” and “The Devils.”

“… two years out of work devastates you – you’ve go to keep your hand in. It doesn’t matter really what you do, the important thing is to work. That’s why I did a few horror films. I didn’t consider it a bum part, any more than any other part of the entertainment industry. So I tried to do that as capably as I would do anything else. I sweated over that to get it right, as I did in more serious projects, like “The Devils”, for instance. … the horror film was more fun – great fun, in fact …

I didn’t audition for “Scream & Scream Again” – they asked me to be in it. Maybe they chose me because I was considered a new approach to the problem. The first thing that Vincent Price said to me was, “Your flies are undone.” I thought, ‘Oh, man, what a corny gag!’ They pull that on every inexperienced actor. So, that was the sole extent of my relationship with Vincent Price. The way the film was scheduled, I didn’t have to work with him. It was a very physical part, running up mountains, etc. I did most of the stunts myself.”

Watch Scream and Scream Again on Youtube

IMDB entry

Trivia: axe symbols adorn the club where Keith seeks out his victims. Michael Gothard uses an axe in ‘Herostratus’, ‘The Last Valley’, ‘Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?’ and ‘Arthur of the Britons.’

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