The American Scream (2012)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Every Halloween, sleepy Fairhaven, Massachusetts erupts with the most ambitiously creative spookery in the world. Endless styrofoam tombstones and backyard beasts come courtesy of a few supremely dedicated local "home haunters" who've devoted their lives to the art of handmade monster-making. The American Scream follows three of these horrific households to uncover the triumphs and tragedies that come with carrying the blackened banner of true Halloween spirit. -- (C) Official Site
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for The American Scream

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3)

We discover that the haunted house hobby has inspired a small industry, annual conventions and inspirational talks by haunters.

Full Review… | October 24, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Though not must-see cinema, it is entertaining and affecting.

Full Review… | October 19, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

Think Death of a Salesman with demons.

Full Review… | October 5, 2012
Top Critic

A sweet, simple, satisfying documentary about a bunch of people who really love the Halloween season.

Full Review… | August 26, 2015

For a celebration of [Halloween] or a look at how hobbies can fuel our lives, this is very much worthy of your attention.

Full Review… | December 11, 2012
Cinema Crazed

The film shows a series of Halloween visitors making their way through the Haunt, screaming and laughing at once. "When you're scared," Victor Bariteau sums up, "You're most alive."

Full Review… | December 7, 2012

Audience Reviews for The American Scream

"American Scream" is documentary that has a very unique subject matter, "haunters". Haunters are people who turn their home in a haunted house on Halloween for people to go through as they go around trick or treating. It follows three different households that do this, and it's amazing the passion these people have for Halloween. Their stories are touching, funny, sad, and overall just fun. Really makes me wish I lived near one of them, or was able to do this myself. They aren't rich people(far from it), they are just people that love the holiday, and this allows them to have a name for themselves, and be remembered. Every year on the holidays I see some houses that are just decorated so amazingly, and I always remember them. After watching this, I see why they go through all the trouble, and I can honestly say I've got a new appreciation for it. Each household has trials and tribulations in their lives, but it all comes together on Halloween, and makes everything worth it. If you love Halloween, then you should definitely check this out. Just shows how fun the holiday is. One of the guys said it best that "Christmas is a family holiday, but Halloween is a community holiday when strangers can come together and be friends for one night." Fascinating documentary that should have gotten more recognition this year.

Everett Johnson
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer


Enjoyable homage to America's obsession with Halloween.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer


A relatively interesting documentary from Best Worst Movie director and Troll 2 star Michael Stephenson, American Scream shows three families that go all out in building haunted houses every Halloween. The first family shown is by far the most interesting and relatable, as the other two families lack relatability and pathos because they are primarily middle-aged men with unusual backgrounds. The documentary itself is well-made, the only problem is the latter two less interesting families.

Joey Shapiro
Joey Shapiro

Super Reviewer

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