Rent-Free Ghosts

Ghosthouse

Have to give credit to the Italian made Ghosthouse (aka, La Casa/1988). What it short sheets you in acting, dialogue and plot, it’s delightfully gory. Just the opening sequence alone has a slaughtered family cat, a hatchet through the top of dad’s formerly functioning head, and mom getting her face shredded and eye blown out by an exploding mirror before getting her neck sliced into lunch meat. A family slayed together, stays together.

Ghosthouse

That sets up the premise twenty years later of a young Boston ham radio operator and his emotional rollercoaster of a girlfriend intercepting an ominous call for help, along with an eerie cackle over looped spooky music. Using some sort of math he triangulates the signal and it leads them right to the very long-abandoned house the opening sequence murders took place. Seems some grandfathered evil still lives there rent free.

Ghosthouse

Teaming up with some age-similar squatters, they try to Scooby-Doo the crap out of the mystery. At the core of it is eleven year old Henrietta and her demoniacally-possessed jester clown doll. Even though she died all those years ago (locked in the basement and left to starve to death), she still has work to do. This includes showing up on TV with bleeding eyes, popping up in hallways and any one of the house’s 14 bedrooms in blinding white light, and packing around that evil-cackling clown doll.

Ghosthouse

The dialogue is so painful it makes your crevices itch. The acting ranks somewhere between “just graduated from junior high school to “will you please just stop talking?” Thankfully, Henrietta and her demon doll unleash double heck, turning the old mansion into a non-stop parade of haunted house cliches and gore.

Ghosthouse

Other than the entire thing, Ghosthouse’s paranormal activities are outright LOL: a bedroom where toys and pillow feathers encircle a victim as if an indoor tornado; An running unplugged and motor-less fan’s blade coming lose and frisbee-ing a new throat hole in another victim; Floorboards giving way to a bubble bath of thick milky goop that dissolves skin; A melt-y face skeleton wearing a Grim Reaper robe and brandishing a knife. But it was the blood coming out of a bathroom faucet that really put the frosting on this cadaver cake. And if you can get through it, the ending will put a grin on your non-sliced face.

Ghosthouse

Interesting note: The house featured in the film is the same one used in the splatfest The House by the Cemetery (1981). Wonder what it rents for on Zillow™?

6 Responses to “Rent-Free Ghosts”

  1. had me at Horror Crap Classic

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