I remember when I was in high school, I accidentally read the fourth book in the famous “Dune” series without knowing at the time that it was the fourth book. Needless to say, I was hopelessly lost. Ever since then, I’ve made it a rule never to come in on the middle of a series, be it a film, TV or a book. I took a wild guess that in the case of Tim Ritter’s “Screaming for Sanity,” the third installment of his “Truth or Dare” series of hack ’em up gross out flicks, joining the proceedings in progress somehow wouldn’t pose too much of a problem. Just in case there was any confusion, though, a few clumsy lines of bonk-on-the-head plot exposition catch us up on serial killer Mike Strauber’s history in a hurry.
With the back story thus dutifully explained, “Screaming…” introduces us to Clive Stanley (Ken Blanck), a disturbed mental patient ever since Strauber struck and killed his wife and infant son while fleeing the Sunnydale Mental Institution. The Institution releases a reluctant Clive who, already enraged at everyone who’s exploiting Strauber’s notoriety, begins having visions of his deceased wife. Before long, she’s egging on Clive to kill those he perceives as cashing in on the Mike Strauber cash cow. Since the whole point of these gore fests is to ratchet up the body count as much as possible, Clive embarks on the requisite rampage and the corpses are soon piling up faster than you can squirt a tube of fake blood. My friends and I used to make crappy videos like this when we were kids. We just never tried to rip off unsuspecting customers with them.
This thing was so reprehensibly bad, I really don’t know where to begin. Should I start with the amateurish writing or the “Mom’s running the camcorder” photography? Then again, there’s the porno movie acting quality or the absurdly juvenile “special” effects to consider. And forget the plot because there’s nothing remotely scary about this steaming pile of schlock nor is the copious amount of gratuitous nudity even remotely titillating. Consider yourself warned. “Screaming for Sanity” is what you’ll be doing if you buy this cinematic black hole while mourning the 102 minutes sucked off your life that you can’t ever get back.