No One Heard the Scream is a stylish and suspenseful Spanish Giallo from celebrated gay filmmaker Eloy de la Iglesia. When a high-class sex worker witnesses a murder coverup she becomes an unwilling accomplice in her neighbor’s plot. Starring Vicente Parra and Carmen Sevilla, this exciting Eurocult thriller is full of black comedy, slight eroticism, and plenty of twists. Severin Film brings the feature to Blu-ray for the first time with an impressive A/V package and a single interview featurette. Recommended.
“What I’ve done isn’t as horrible as you think.”
Jet setting escort Elisa (Carmen Sevilla, House of the Damned) returns to her posh apartment in Madrid after a rendezvous in London. The high-class sexpot phones her next appointment and cancels the trip much to the gentlemen’s dismay. She witnesses her neighbor Miguel (Vicente Parra, Soft Skin on Black Silk) dumping a body down the elevator shaft. He sees her and approaches the door but it closes before the killer can get to Elisa. To keep her silent Miguel forces her to help dispose of the body making her an accessory by implicating her in the murderous plot. As an accomplice to Miguel’s measured madness, Elisa winces at the sight of blood but is fair game to deceive the police and her young lover Toni. When it comes time to dispose of the body in a lake Elisa attempts to kill Miguel with her motorboat. Toni begins to suspect something is awry with his lover and her new beau.
No One Heard the Scream takes a tense hostage situation and turns it gradually into a thrilling road movie with a twisted romance at its center. The journey of our unlikely duo becomes this sort of black comedy romp with plenty of humorous bits and sexual tension. While the body count and mystery elements are low for a Giallo, here the suspense and twists favor the genre combined with rudimentary Hitchcockian moments. Iglesia allows us to peek into the psychological damage within our killer but it is never the driving force of the film.
In an excellent turn, Elisa isn’t viewed as the beautiful but helpless damsel but rather cunning and quite manipulative. At no time is her “work” looked down upon nor is she ever asked to change her ways. As expected Iglesia sexualizes the men in the film offering plenty of sustained shots of Toni’s chiseled torso and Miguel’s shirtless moments. Offering the queer gaze from the celebrated gay filmmaker elevates this Giallo beyond some of its rigid genre structures.
Where No One Heard the Scream works well is in providing lead performances that are engaging and believable without being predictable. The chemistry between Vicente Parra and Carmen Sevilla is sweltering at times though their tense moments early on feel a bit wooden. Coming off The Cannibal Man, Parra distances himself from that performance offering here a calculated yet subdued romantic with slick attire. Where the film doesn’t work is in the sagging third act. It’s never a good sign when you catch yourself checking the remaining minutes during a tense thriller. An extended club sequence and a bubble bath romp do little to keep the momentum going but drag the pace which was moving at a nice clip.
The director’s previous feature The Cannibal Man utilized genre trappings to mask political and homosexual themes releasing mostly untouched by Francoist censors. No One Heard the Scream didn’t fare as well and was never made available outside of Spain until now. Cinematography is utterly gorgeous here from Francisco Fraile (The Cauldron of Death) channeling the sophisticated Italian Giallo style with beautiful locations, tight framing, and a sustained gaze to build erotic tension. It all works well when accompanied by the breezy scoring from composer Fernando García Morcillo (The Mistress of Dr. Jekyll).
No One Heard the Scream is a stylish thriller with unusual twists intertwined with plenty of light eroticism and an interesting perspective on the genre. The beautiful shots of Spain and the sizzling performance from Carmen Sevilla will keep you engaged even when the action slows. It’ll be a satisfying discovery for Giallo fans and those interested in discovering more Spanish genre films through the subversive lens of Eloy de la Iglesia.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
No One Heard Scream avoids the elevator and arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Severin Films. The film is pressed on an All-Region BD-25 disc that is housed in a black keepcase. Loading the disc offers the Severin logo before landing on the Main Menu screen. Scenes from the film play above typical navigation options.
No One Heard the Scream arrives on Blu-ray thanks to Severin Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Scanned from the original camera negative the HD image presents natural colors with bright primaries from costuming and well-appointed sets. Fine detail is evident from facial features offering even skin tones but a softened appearance at times. Droplets of water from Elisa’s shower are clear as day on her soft tanned skin and the fabric textures on Miguel’s suit jacket are discernible. Outdoor scenes at the lake house can be a bit overexposed but color, depth, and clarity are retained. Overall colors are natural with contrast levels holding steady. Grain is tight and natural throughout the film.
Severin’s release of No One Heard the Scream not only marks the film’s first Blu-ray release but also its first-ever North American home video release as well. Previously found only on DVD in Spain under the Filmax label, this release marks an excellent moment in not only preserving Iglesia’s work but also introducing it to more audiences.
No One Heard the Scream arrives on Blu-ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono track in the original Castilian Spanish with English subtitles. Dubbed in post-production, the sync is good save for a few instances at the lake house with Toni. Dialogue is a bit muddy during the few English dialogue exchanges that occur but otherwise, conversations are clear and clean.
Music and effects tracks are pronounced and well defined through the mono track as well. Swinging bossa nova grooves are courtesy of composer Fernando García Morcillo whose music plays a huge part in defining the casual ambiance of the film’s tone. If there was any release that I’d like to see an isolated music track in the special features it would be this one!
Severin provides only a single interview featurette here for special features. Those fans seeking more information on Iglesia and his filmography should check out Severin’s other Blu-rays for additional interviews and featurettes on the filmmaker.
While sagging a bit when it counts, No One Heard the Scream is a satisfying giallo thriller with a bizarre romp at its core. Iglesia hypes stylish elements with posh costuming and gorgeous locations paired with his beautiful cast. Utilizing a queer gaze and digs at class structure, the gay filmmaker lines the film with plenty to chew on below the surface tension.
Severin Films brings the thriller to Blu-ray with an impressive A/V package and a single featurette for bonus content. While not enough for fans, those interested should seek out the other Iglesia Blu-ray releases from Severin to paint a broader picture of the filmmaker. Recommended.