A man who is having an affair with a married woman is dropped off on the wrong street when going back to his hotel. He takes refuge out of the rain when an old man invites him in. He turns ... See full summary »
A couple traveling through a backwoods area are held by a a group of orphans who want them to become their parents. Unfortunately, the kids have a habit of killing adults who refuse that particular honor.
A dissatisfied Montreal director of TV commercials is taught to astrally project himself by a mysterious woman. But soon he finds that he does it against his will when he sleeps, and while ... See full summary »
A man who is having an affair with a married woman is dropped off on the wrong street when going back to his hotel. He takes refuge out of the rain when an old man invites him in. He turns out to be a mortician, who tells him the stories of the people who have wound up in his establishment over the course of four stories. Written by
Anonymous & SicCoyote
Whenever the title "House of the Dead" is mentioned nowadays, people and horror fanatics in particular automatically link it to that hag Uwe Boll's AWFUL video game horror adaptation about UN-frightening looking CGI zombies on an island. Another movie with the same title existed already since the late 1970's, though it's also known under the completely irrelevant title "Alien Zone", and that one is a lot better! It's a low-budget exploitation attempt to create a horror anthology similar to the contemporary successful British films, like "Tales that Witness Madness" or "Asylum", complete with a detailed wraparound story and a sinister host. Whilst on a business trip in an unknown city, a guy named Talmudge cheats on his wife and gets lost on his way back to the hotel. Since there's a heavy thunderstorm going on, a seemly friendly mortician invites him in and informs him abut the background stories of four "clients" of his. None of these horror mini-tales is groundbreaking or particularly shocking, but they all feature an admirably dark atmosphere and revolve on rather inventive topics. The first story is extremely short and introduces a lonely female schoolteacher with a clear aversion towards children. When she goes home one night, she senses a strange presence in her house and subsequently gets attacked by a large collection of eerily deformed and mask-wearing children. I'm not quite sure what the deeper meaning of this short story was, but those kids sure looked creepy! The second story is once again a very short reworking of the classic film "Peeping Tom", with a perverted man inviting girls to his apartment and murdering them for the eye of the camera. The tone of this segment is definitely disturbing, but it has no satisfying ending, since it just cuts back to the mortician who explains the culprit got executed for his crimes. Huh? What's the point? Then comes the third and unquestionably best chapter of "House of the Dead", about an intellectual criminologist competing with his overseas colleague of Scotland Yard for the honor of most deductive police investigator in the world. This segment has an incredibly predictable climax, but it's very enjoyable thanks to the wit dialogs and convincing on screen chemistry between actors Charles Aidman and Bernard Fox. The fourth and final segment hints at some really horrific themes, but unfortunately the elaboration is poor. It's about an egocentric man who gets terrorized by unseen forces and eventually becomes everything he detests himself. Namely a needy and filthy individual who blindly gets passed by on the streets. It's a curious little tale that definitely deserved some more plotting and perhaps a slightly longer playtime. Naturally the film ends with an unmerciful fate for Talmudge (adultery, remember ). The late 70's definitely brought forward better horror films than this, but "House of the Dead" is nonetheless a worthwhile and entertaining little chiller that offers a handful of frights and delightful genre clichés. It's a film for undemanding trash-fans.
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