Friday, February 22, 2008


This was part of a double bill with Class Reunion Massacre, and as dubious as it may seem, it’s the worse of the two. In the interests of full disclosure, I do have to admit that I’m not generally a fan of haunted house movies, in large part because they routinely tend to suck like this one does. That said, though, even with the lowered standards of the genre this one is noticeably poor, to such an extent that it almost makes me remember the Amityville movies fondly. That’s not good.

The film opens with a young bride and groom having one of those private romantic ceremonies with lots of lit candles that nobody outside of movies ever engages in because of fire hazards, ending with the groom shooting them both in a murder-suicide pact. We then cut ahead a few years as a new couple moves into the home, now – as one might expect – haunted by the ghosts of the original couple. We get all the normal horrid cliches of the genre – objects moving on their own, machines turning on, strange noises coming from other rooms – all thrown at us as though a character being somewhat disoriented is in itself scary. To be fair, things do eventually escalate, as their houseguests begin getting murdered by the ghosts, the bride even visibly appearing in the basement as she starts flinging axes at people. The, um, attempts at gore are pretty embarrassing, as when one guy’s belly is sliced open and spaghetti representing his guts begin to slide out from under his shirt, or when another person is beheaded, and a blatant mannequin’s head tumbles down the stairs. This is even without the nonsense of the ending, where after spending almost an hour and a half trying to kill the new owners and everyone they know, suddenly the ghosts get upset that they’re leaving and convince them to kill themselves in the same ceremony and join them forever. You know, not to ruin the ending or anything, but come on.

I think I can understand why so many people love Stanley Kubrick’s version of the Shining. It’s not because the movie really is all that great, it’s because that compared to 99% of the haunted house movies in existence it’s a goddamned masterpiece. I noticed on IMDB that people had complained about this DVD double feature because of how no care was taken on cleaning up Class Reunion Massacre for a proper DVD release, but I can’t imagine anyone really being upset about this one looking old and haggard. The film is very fuzzy, with the colors bleeding into each other, though it doesn’t have the problem of terrible lighting that Class Reunion Massacre did (and while we’re at it, what was the deal with the high school being out in a fucking field somewhere with no other buildings around for miles?). Personally, I rather like that about this disc. It lets you know right from the start that these movies were not good enough to justify a proper treatment, and screw anyone hoping for one. It’s just a shame they didn’t go the extra mile and not release this at all, but I guess we can’t have everything.

Rating: ½ *

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