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Screams of a Winter Night (1976)
Movie Review by The Undertaker

Screams of a Winter Night (1976) I enjoy unearthing rare, old, drive-in classics from the 70's and Screams has become the latest victim. I wanted to see this movie for years and finally found a copy of this and boy was I happy with what I saw. While not gory at all and PG rated, this film packs a punch in the creepy and scary department. A group of friends head off to an isolated cabin in the woods to hang out for a weekend. The guy who owns the joint knows there were once some very strange deaths in the area; he confides this to one of his buddies, even showing him the graves in the forest. The lakeside area is supposedly haunted by an evil Native spirit of the wind called Chatabwa, and he don't take too kindly to visitors. As the happy campers settle in, the wind begins to blow and the friends begin to tell scary tales and stories to lighten the mood. It backfires big time! The film then turns into a nice little trilogy of three spooky tales, each starring the people from the cabin. The main part of the movie is the filler, beginning and ending. The 1st story is the old girl finding her guy hanging over the roof of the car after they are stranded in some deserted road, but with a twist. This time, a Bigfoot looking creature called the Moss Point Man is the culprit. The tale is filmed dark and creepy. Next up, three frat boys must spend the night in an abandoned, haunted hotel for a pledge or some shit. They hear sounds and assume it's their buddies trying to scare them. They are told not to go upstairs, no matter what. The bravest investigates the sounds... and disappears. A second goes to check things out and is gone, leaving the coward of the group alone. He searches the 2nd floor and sees a strange green light peeking through a crack. He opens the door and finds his friends in a zombie like state, witless, and walking in circles around a bulb hanging in the center of the room. Their bodies are scratched and bleeding. The door slams and that's the last we see of the three. The 3rd story concerns man-hating crazy Annie. A normal girl turns to murder when a date tries to get a little too fresh on her first high school date. She cries that they were attacked at Lover's Lane and gets away with it. Later, in college, she kills her roommate for borrowing a scarf. Annie has a few issues. The three tales are good, but the events taking place at the lake is the scary stuff. Each time a story goes down, the weather worsens, the group becomes more and more jumpy, and a few (one chick in particular who's overheard the truth about the deaths at the lake years ago) become very frightened. By tale three and with the help of a werewolf mask and a little white lie, the majority of the friends are scared shitless. The wind begins to really howl and the people lose their minds. Half the people wanna run, half wanna stay. The tension here builds like you wouldn't believe and this damn thing is creepy to me. I found it odd that these people would desert their friends so quick and easily, but they made the right call. Two couples bolt and haul ass through the forest. The remainder suffers the wrath of the wind and die. The four that fled running through the woods soon hear a fierce cry...then all goes black, movie over. Aside from a few silly spots and one annoying dude, this thing is a real lost gem in my opinion. The beginning is very cool, as we hear a family suffering what the victims in the end go through, though you can't see because the screen is black. All you can do is listen and hear the fierce howls and screams, and the wind. I liked this little trick and the whole film relies more on subtlety and lets you use your own imagination than on in your face blood and guts. I doubt everybody would like this, but it's worth a shot if you can find it.
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