The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD (1978) **

No, this isn’t the Uwe Boll masterpiece; it’s actually a low key rip-off of Amicus anthology horror movies.

The first story has a child hating teacher being attacked by killer kids in Halloween masks. Period. There’s no real set-up or back story, and the ending is rather abrupt, but it’s visually interesting (scenes are filmed in negative) and has a good payoff. The second tale has a photography nut who films himself killing his dates. This segment takes a novel approach by consisting almost entirely of single takes of the killer murdering girls. It earns points for taking place way before the whole killers-using-home-video-cameras-to-capture-himself-killing-his-victims genre, but unfortunately there’s a complete cop out non-ending. The third story has a British Scotland Yard detective battling wits with an American private eye to see who the best detective in the world is. While this story has a complete beginning, middle and end, something the previous two lacked, it’s not really interesting and isn’t scary in the least. The final and most uninteresting story features an asshole office worker who ends up getting a taste of his own medicine. The framing set-up involving a mortician telling a philandering husband four scary stories on a stormy night is overlong and uninvolving and builds up to a predictable ending.

Even the biggest fans of anthology horror films may find this one a chore to get through. What makes the film so frustrating is that the stories suffer from few good ideas and incompetent execution. The running time is mercifully short (74 minutes), but the film really needed at least another 15 minutes to fully flesh out the stories. If they had been beefed up a little (especially the first two), House of the Dead could have been marginally entertaining, but as it is, it ranks as a below par anthology horror movie.

AKA: The Alien Zone. AKA: Zone of the Dead.
Tags: anthology, h, horror
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