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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ghosthouse(1987)


After reviewing Black Demons a few days back, I decided that I needed to do more Lenzi reviews. He is definitely the underdog of Italian Horror cinema, always mentioned after Argento and Fulci. Yes, he has made a few stinkers, but so have the aforementioned directors. Ghosthouse made in 1987, always get slagged off as one of the bad Lenzi films, when in fact, it's one of the best. There are some strange details about Ghosthouse, like Lenzi directed this film under his American alias Humphrey Humpbert, for reasons unknown. I've read that he thought the film would resonate better with American audiences if the director had an American name. I guess no one bothered to tell Mr. Lenzi that the alias was as ridiculous as they come. Also, the film was released as La Casa 3 in Europe, this was translated into Evil Dead 3. I think that this is one of the primary reasons that people have been so bitter towards the film, as it hasn't nothing to do with Raimi's films.

The film starts out with a flashback, of a little girl, playing with a creepy clown doll. Her father starts ranting at her, and the next thing you know, light bulbs start morphing in size, strange noises happen, and the girl's mother and father are brutally murdered. Cue to the future, and a couple Martha & Paul, receive a strange Ham radio message that sounds like someone being murdered. Paul is a Ham Radio expert and traces the message to an old house in the outskirts of Boston(where Lenzi shot the whole film). They find that a group(2 brothers, their sister, and a tag along girl) has broken down in their RV, and are camping out on the grounds of the sinister old house. They play the message for them, and it's found out that the voices on the tape is from one of the brothers and the sister. Everyone seems frightened that it is their voices and no such event has happened.......yet.

The rest of the film is of the youngsters wandering in and out of the old house, and many of them reaching gruesome demises. The appeal of the film lies in it's atmosphere, and creepy score. The clown doll, that makes several appearances, sings out this eerie nursery rhyme from Hell. If you have seen this film, you will most definitely remember it. It's one of those things that gets under your skin, and creeps you out for days. Even though this would fall into the "supernatural slasher" sub genre, the gore remains in the classic Italian tradition. Several scenes are very claustrophobic and suffocating, and that gives the film it's originality. Although you can figure out whats going on well before it's revealed, the motives behind the actions are very shocking. If you are fan of Lenzi's or Italian splatter, I suggest you dig this one up. It has not had an American DVD release, but there are DVD-R's, and there is a Region 2 release. Plus, the VHS turns up on Amazon and Ebay for cheap time to time, so definitely check this out, it's one of my faves.

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