The After Dark films, year in and year out, seem to fall into one of three categories.
1. The movies that suck. (Not to be unkind, but that's ... a lot of them.)
2. The movies that don't suck and therefore surprise us. (This year it was the surprisingly intense Seconds Apart.)
3. The movies that are content to be stupid old monster-matinee throwbacks, not unlike the ones found on, well, the SyFy Channel.
The frankly obvious but amiably colorful Scream of the Banshee falls into the third category. It's a very basic tale (ancient banshee demon head plagues clueless museum staff) and it suffers from many of the maladies found in the annals of B-moviedom, but at least it moves quick, offers a few familiar faces, and introduces one seriously freaky ancient banshee demon head. Hey, you take the pleasures you can get in horror flicks like this one.
Speaking of pleasures, the still-lovely Lauren Holly is our lead piece of banshee fodder, and while many of her younger co-stars are (let's be nice) amateurish or downright annoying, we also get a nice helping of Lance Henriksen in Act III, and that never hurts. Our semi-heroic anthropologist heroine is saddled a subplot involving a pissy daughter, as well as a pair of interns who get way too much screen time, but it's nice to see Ms. Holly running through a monster movie.
Second feature from Automaton Transfusion director Steven Miller, Scream of the Banshee is broad, predictable, and hardly the most scintillating monster movie you'll ever come across -- but it does have a certain old-style B-movie charm that's pretty tough to fake.
And to give fair credit to a low-budget horror flick: that shrieking demon banshee head is pretty damn impressive.
This year's batch of After Dark "Originals" are as follows: 51; Fertile Ground; Husk; Prowl; Re-Kill; Scream of the Banshee, Seconds Apart, and The Task.