9/14/2016

THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES (Review)

Title: The House of Seven Corpses
Director: Paul Harrison
Writer: Paul Harrison, Thomas J. Kelly
Cast: John Ireland, Faith Domergue, John Carradine, Carole Wells, Charles Macaulay, Jerry Strickler
Min: 90
Year: 1974

Director Eric Hartman (John Ireland) is shooting a Satanic horror flick in an old house where seven occult related deaths occurred. The old caretaker, Edgar Price (John Carradine), warns him to stop and also tells him know the actual facts of the gruesome deaths that occurred in the house. The graves of the seven bodies are buried in the grounds of said house (hence the title!). They find some old occult books and begin to read passages from one of them during and outside of the filming of the movie. This unknowingly leads to the murderous awakening one of the corpses...
The House of Seven Corpses is a classy, if low budget old-school style zombie/ occult flick. Admit ably it isn't great and has it's fair share of flaws, but nonetheless it is quite enjoyable and easy to like. Plus, as a bonus, if you were pissed off that House of 1000 Corpses, didn't deliver on that promise (shit, I don't even think we get 20 corpses in that house!), you'll be happy to know that this one does keep it's title's promise! See, we are already starting off well!
The film's biggest draw is the strong cast. You have three legends here in John Ireland, Faith Domergue, and John Carradine, and as you would expect them to be, are great! Ireland is quite apt at playing a director who, quite frankly, is kind of a dick. Faith Domergue, who previously starred in cult classic This Island Earth is great as well as somewhat bitchy and spoiled lead actress Gayle Dorian. She also happened to still look stunning at approximately 50 years old! Her opening scene were she is performing a devil summoning ceremony is a movie highlight. Some might be disappointed when it is immediately revealed to be a scene within a scene, as the director is filming it for his movie. But I must admit that I wasn't. It's cool and adds a really fun little moment to the proceedings.
Of course, classic horror fans will be most happy with the presence of Carradine. He is suitably creepy and fun to watch as the old caretaker. In some ways his character of Price is my favorite in the movie. The rest of the cast is fairly adequate enough, I suppose. Though, for the most part, none of them are quite as memorable as the three leads. Although, blonde beauty Carole Wells does add some nice eye-candy to it all, even if her performance, itself, is kind of just there. 
The movie looks like and feels like a made for TV, but there is also a very welcomed old-school horror feel to it. There are a couple of nice shots, all of which benefit from the large, old house location. Quite frankly, it's all rather silly at times and doesn't always make the most amount of sense. The twist ending is never explained and, quite honestly, the more you think about it the less fucking logical it is! However, I found myself liking the ending so much that I quite frankly didn't give flying fuck about it being nonsensical.
The pacing is admit ably on the slower side. While some supernatural things occur here and there, it isn't until the climax of the film that things really pick up. Despite that, some of the most fun moments come from the film within a film being shot. The slow pace, admit ably, fits the classic, and for the most part classy, feel of the movie.
Sure it's a el-cheapo production (other than the cast that is), but The House of Seven Corpses is a classy el-cheapo. It is legitimately lovable in a crazy 70s cult cinema sort of way. If the idea of a Satanic/ occult, zombie, John Carradine movie sounds like a great thing, and, quite frankly, it should, then you definitely have to make time to visit this house.

Severin Films released a blu-ray of it a few years back. While the picture isn't great, it is quite good and better than any print this movie has ever had; also the mono sound is quite good. Extras included an old interview with Carradine, in which he seems to be taken aback by all the horror questions he gets asked in it, as well as a super entertaining commentary with associate producer Gary Kent moderated by Lars Nilsen. It was recently announced that this title, along with some others, are going out of print. So, if this review convinced you that need to own this one (and I am kinda hoping that it did!), be sure to hurry up and buy it!



3 out of 4

0 comments: