Film Review: Ghosthouse (1988)

Also known as: La Casa 3 (original Italian title), Evil Dead 3 (informal Italian title), GhostHouse (alternate English title)
Release Date: January, 1988 (Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival)
Directed by: Umberto Lenzi
Written by: Sheila Goldberg, Umberto Lenzi, Cinthia McGavin
Music by: Piero Montanari
Cast: Lara Wendel, Greg Scott, Mary Sellers, Donald O’Brien

Filmirage, 95 Minutes

Review:

“Who are you? What do you want? For God’s sake… somebody help me… help… aarghh!” – Jim

This is a terrible, terrible film. However, I still like it because it is too damn bizarre not to appreciate.

It’s directed by Umberto Lenzi, who is no stranger to horror with films like Cannibal FeroxNightmare City, and Eaten Alive! under his belt. Like one would expect from a Lenzi picture, it is a low budget bonanza that features some gore, albeit not as much as some of his other bloody affairs.

As Italian films typically do, this didn’t concern itself with other country’s copyright laws and borrowed heavily from a few successful films. You have the house, which can be said is similar to the house of the House films series. Then you have a clown doll that is blatantly a ripoff of the clown doll from Poltergeist. There are a lot of other little things in the film that are borrowed too and really, there’s nothing about this that comes off as original.

The house interiors look like they were on a closed set with a ton of overhead lighting. This was the best lit haunted house I have ever seen in history. Daytime and nighttime looked the same and it was like walking through a grocery store, that’s how bright it was.

While the house is haunted by what seems like a lot of ghosts at times, the only real monster is the creepy little blonde girl that clutches her clown doll. She and the doll both smile creepy and then bad shit happens. For instance, a girl in a bedroom is attacked by paper Easter decorations, an inflatable Mickey Mouse and feathers violently filling the air.

Granted, there is a cool guillotine death but they never show the girl cut in half, they show a head to the far left and feet to the far right with furniture covering up the middle because god forbid they get creative or spend three bucks cutting holes in a wood floor to create the effect.

The music in this film is initially creepy but man, it wears thin pretty quickly. There are only two songs in this entire picture, the creepy one and then the weird electro-jazzy theme. One or the other are playing constantly throughout this picture. Sometimes you get a break but it only ever seems like its just for the film’s DJ to cue up the other record.

Ghosthouse was ripped to shreds by the RiffTrax guys and deservedly so. It is derivative, strange as hell but surprisingly yet confusingly endearing.

Rating: 4.25/10
Pairs well with: Other horror films by Lenzi: Cannibal FeroxNightmare City, and Eaten Alive!

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