TV Cream

Films: S is for...

Shout, The

A strange premise for a horror film. What can be scary about a shout? But this is no ordinary shout, it’s an aboriginal shout so loud and ear-slicing that it kills whoever hears it.

This actually pretty good film starts with the suitably surreal situation of a cricket match in a Lunatic Asylum. Yes, that’s a cricket match in a Lunatic Asylum. There’s something vaguely anachronistic about seeing a lanky, athletic Jim Broadbent with a full head of hair sliding on his knees and skipping around the wickets in soggy, diaphanous pantaloons but things do indeed get weirder.

John Hurt plays an avant-garde musician – making sounds from wasps trapped in jars, that type of thing – and a strapping Alan Bates is the libertarian (but at everyone else’s expense) house guest from hell who assumes much, drinks copious glasses of Mateus Rosé and repays Hurt by doggedly shagging his wife.

The patriarchal subtext is not for the faint-hearted. Brooding Bates spent 18 years in Aboriginal Australia, where he developed quaint customs such as killing his offspring and putting a spell over his wife, including holding the reins of power over her feelings by also having the power to withhold affection at any minute. Now Hurt’s wife, Susannah York is all for this, natch, and obliges accordingly. Taking a bit of a liberty, all things considered, but there are hidden benefits to any unwanted house guest, if you know where to look.



  1. Sidney Balmoral James

    November 13, 2020 at 7:04 pm

    Once hard to see, this seems now to be getting regular showings now on television courtesy of Talking Pictures TV, and it’s a cracking film, strange and atmospheric. Filmed in North Devon, superb performance from Bates; also: Tim Curry, Robert Stephens (career in the doldrums), and music by Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford (so a large chunk of Genesis) and the late Rupert Hine who died in June.

  2. THX 1139

    November 14, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    I think the shout of the title was created with the sound effect of an jet liner taking off. It’s an amazing scene, like nothing else, maybe because there’s so much anticipation for it as you watch.

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