Sunday, 17 April 2011

Bloodbath At The House Of Death (1984).

It's quite funny to think of how the rather poor Scary Movie films (the first was okay, the second dire and sue me but I actually quite liked 3 and 4) and Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday The 13th (which I always preferred to Scary Movie anyway) were both inferior to material that had beaten them to the post over 15 years ago. I am referring to the wonderful Student Bodies and the equally wonderful Bloodbath At The House Of Death.

Although Bloodbath At The House Of Death is a bit more of a typically British affair (thanks to the helping hand of Barry Cryer in the script department and a cast including the likes of Kenny Everett, John Fortune, Gareth Hunt and many other big names from the world of 1980s UK telly) it's also a highly rewarding film for horror fans familiar with the type of movie being referenced.

First and foremost, it's the haunted house movie being spoofed with the likes of The Haunting and The Legend Of Hell House most obviously referenced. However, those involved cast their net a bit further than that. Heck, even the opening titles tell you that it's Thursday 12th August, 1975, and then go on to say . . . . . . give or take a day.
Aside from those mentioned, we also get the legendary Vincent Price in a small but highly amusing role, Don Warrington, Pamela Stephenson, Sheila Steafel and Cleo Rocos. Everyone goes along with the fun and there's a special joy in hearing Vincent Price replying in his own inimitable style after being told to "piss off".

The script isn't perfect, by any means, but it remains very amusing and a nice mix of the sharp and the stupid. Characters provide exposition in an obvious manner commented on by others, people lose count when trying to explain the gory events that happened years ago in the titular house, there's a comedic satanic ritual and much more to enjoy.
The plot? I haven't gone into any great detail because it was kind of covered when I mentioned The Haunting and The Legend Of Hell House. A bunch of scientists go to a house that was the scene of a bloodbath many years ago and the scene is set for another potential night of death.

Director Ray Cameron, who co-wrote the thing with Cryer, doesn't do too badly although the style of the thing sometimes feels like an extended TV skit as opposed to a movie. What I must go out of my way to state, however, is just how well the movie does in the last 20 minutes or so, mixing some genuinely creepy atmosphere and scares with a few more laughs. Something that the Scary Movie franchise hasn't managed in any of their outings to date.


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