Also known as: Mausoleum of Death (re-issue title)
Release Date: May 13th, 1983
Directed by: Michael Dugan
Written by: Robert Barich, Robert Madero, Katherine Rosenwink
Music by: Jaime Mendoza-Nava
Cast: Marjoe Gortner, Bobbie Bresee, Norman Burton, LaWanda Page
Western International Pictures Inc., Motion Picture Marketing, 96 Minutes, 95 Minutes (DVD cut)
“No more grievin’, I’m leavin’!” – Elsie, the maid
While I had never seen this, based off of trailers and clips I’ve seen over the years, I had always assumed that this was an Italian film. It’s not. It’s actually American but man, it definitely feels like the most giallo-esque demon movie ever made in the States.
It stars Marjoe Gortner and Bobbie Bresee and it’s kind of like the perfect movie for both of them, as they spent most of their careers on that blurry line between B-movies and C-movies.
It also stars Norman Burton, another actor who has done a lot of solid B-movie schlock and LaWanda Page, who is always funny, entertaining and will always have a special place in my heart for playing Aunt Esther in Sanford & Son and all its spin-offs.
The story is pretty simple. A demon kills a little girl’s mother. The girl then wanders into a creepy mausoleum and becomes possessed by the demon. Years later, after having a normal life up until adulthood, the demon decides to make the woman start killing people in horrific ways. The kills are pretty much the woman in demon form (or just with glowing eyes) using telekinesis to explode her victims heads or parts of their bodies. The best kill is probably the one where she levitates a lady and rips her rib cage out through her lower torso.
Mausoleum is graphic as hell with some pretty impressive practical effects in spite of its budget. In fact, the effects work also looks a lot like ’80s giallo gore. There’s something very Lucio Fulci or Lamberto Bava about these moments in the film and it’s kind of neat considering that neither of them worked on the picture.
Still, this isn’t memorable outside of the things that make it kind of cool. The story sucks and is boring, cookie cutter shit. There’s nothing all that surprising or shocking about the plot. It also suffers by having LaWanda Page leave about a half hour into the movie when she bolts from the house, never to return.
I’d say this is worth checking out if you have an appreciation for Italian style horror and cool practical effects. Other than that, there just isn’t much here.
Pairs well with: other demonic horror films of the ’70s and ’80s.