Monday, 8 June 2015
Ghosthouse [aka La Casa III] (1988, Umberto Lenzi)
Italian goremeister Umberto Lenzi (under the hilarious almost Nabokovian pseudonym of 'Humphrey Humbert'!) takes on the well-worn haunted house sub-genre with effective results in this neglected little chiller from 1988, marketed as an 'Evil Dead' sequel in Italy.
A ham radio DJ and his girlfriend team up with another interested party to investigate strange goings-on at an Old Dark House, the scene of strange murders 20 years earlier, after intercepting a radio distress call from their own future. Some great shock and gore moments follow (check out the falling guillotine scene!), along with a creepily atmospheric haunting theme tune for the evil clown doll. Yes, a clown doll: truly the stuff of nightmares!
The thing that stood out for me the most, though, was how thoroughly steeped in the 1980s the films fashions are! From the hero Paul, dressed as 'Back to the Future' Marty McFly complete with "life preserver", through Mark (played by Eddie Redmayne masquerading as a "Run to You" - era Bryan Adams), to Susan (styling by The Bangles) and Tina (charmingly described on the UK DVD box as a 'teenager with a face like a slapped arse'!) who looks like Molly Ringwald gone wrong. Truly a product of its time!