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Home Sweet Home (1981)

| Horror | 1981 (USA)
An escaped mental patient steals a station wagon and makes his way to the Bradleys' Thanksgiving celebration, where he plans to make them a little less thankful...



(original story and screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Peter De Paula ...
Don Edmonds ...
David Mielke ...
Leia Naron ...
Lisa Rodríguez ...
Colette Trygg ...
Sallee Young ...
J. Kelly ...
Cop #1
R. Fouts ...
Cop #2
Victor Paddock ...
First Victim
Rochelle Constanten ...
Old Woman
Anne Cribbs ...


An escaped mental patient steals a station wagon and makes his way to the Bradleys' Thanksgiving celebration, where he plans to make them a little less thankful...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Be it ever so humble, there's no place to HIDE See more »




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Release Date:

1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Slasher in the House  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Film debut of Vinessa Shaw. See more »


Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Has its moments.
21 January 2012 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Home Sweet Home remains an underrated slasher today, but I am here to justify its uniqueness till date. The early 80s gave us several slashers, some of which were ahead of their time, while the others were considered mediocre. Comparing these mediocre ones with the best slasher films of today, I can surely say that the ones we have now are nothing more than over-gory scare whimpers. For instance, there was nothing special about Zombie's Halloween or the House of Wax remake. Today the slashers underestimate the charisma of atmospheric tension, which is far better than the blood spilled on floor and spotted on walls. You see, blood is not the only element that induces horror. If the blood alone could have done everything, we wouldn't be cursing Nick Palumbo for his hyper-egoistic trash 'Murder-Set-Pieces'. Home Sweet Home was released at the time when the industry was employing different fictional slashers to capture the market. Some were lucky enough to create a buzz and spawned numerous sequels, while the unlucky ones became forgotten gems and are worth more value now. The over-mining of Horror gave us several memorable movies like The Beyond, The Burning, Cannibal Ferox, Bloody Moon, Dead and Buried, Evil Dead, Dark Night of the Scarecrow and so many others. It is quiet certain that most of them didn't allow certain others to ensue cult following, but the quickly overlooked ones like Home Sweet Home now seem like a breath of fresh air that have both indigenous moments and considerable amount of terror.

The Bradleys have a family gathering on Thanksgiving at their ancestral home in the countryside. A giggling homicidal killer (Jake Steinfield) is on loose and unfortunately stumbles over the Bradleys. A game of cat and mouse begins when the family members are stalked one by one and meet grisly deaths at the hands of maniac. At last a couple and their daughter are left to face the insane murderer.

So what makes this movie work? Very simple, The Atmosphere. The film is noted for portraying some brutal deaths which force the viewers to sympathize with the poor victims. A family juggler, who revels others laugh at his infantile activities is manhandled and gruesomely killed. The location of Bradley house does most of the work as we can easily guess that their home is away from any help. The psychopath takes delight in killing and torturing his victims. He is homicidal and cunning and has the body of a giant. Don't you see this as a fatal combination? Most of the stalking scenes are great and have been filmed with the maniac's viewpoint. This makes the viewers stay with the killer most of the time, and watch 'themselves' doing all the murders. Some scenes like the women being chased and ripped apart and the car bonnet scene, where Bradley Sr. is crumpled under the bonnet, when the maniac jumps over it like a toad. Like most of the slashers, HSH seems to have been produced at an ultra-low budget, but when it comes to authenticity, this is a genuine slasher with those moments that the slasher buffs crave for. I would suggest all the lovers of the classic slashers to go for it, because you won't be disappointed. Jake Steinfield as the homicidal maniac is excellent. His aggressive looks, giggle-infested murders, menacing advancements and forceful gestures make HSH a classic. Vinessa Shaw as small Angela is worth a watch. Who knew that this 5 year old little girl would play a nice part in Alexander Aja's The Hills Have Eyes remake?

Gore lovers may find HSH uninteresting, but I think that a horror film succeeds in its attempt to scare you, when you are disturbed by it. If you can afford to take some extra tension on a dull weekend, this might be the stuff you're looking for, and if you're still not sure what 'atmosphere' means, I suggest you to watch Kubrick's The Shining, Hooper's TCM, and Carpenter's Halloween that are almost gore-free, but set an intense atmosphere you would never ever like to be a part of, and the one that would rule your senses forever.

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