A gang of vicious young punks break into the house of an elderly couple, terrorize, and then murder them. Suddenly, the clocks in the house begin to run backwards, and the dead come back for revenge! Written by
Cast: Paolo Paolini, Carla Cassola, Betina Milne, Karina Huff, Keith Van Hoven, Peter Hintz
A fulci film that focuses more on characters and story development then on gore and zombies? And its also good? Well holy macaroni its true! I was pleasantly surprised to see that I enjoyed this movie without the usual onslaught of gore that Fulci drowns his movies in.
The story is about a trio of hoodlums who decide to go and rob an wealthy elderly couple that lives out in the country side in a huge mansion filled with clocks. Once they get there, something in the mansion turns time back and pretty soon the trio of petty thieves find themselves running from Lucio Fulcis zombies.
Id heard about this movie before and Id heard that it was a made for TV movie, so the fact that it was going to be a low budget made for TV film kind of turned me off to watching it for that reason alone. I thought maybe a minuscule budget would not let Fulci cut loose with his usual brand of mayhem. Well I was wrong. Yeah the movie has its gore sprinkled evenly all through out and yeah it had a few zombies....but what amazed me about this one was that fulci actually focused on making the atmosphere in the house (and its surroundings) very dreadful and eerie. I loved those exterior shots of the house filled with fog, I loved how he focused on those old statues outside the house. And I loved the lighting inside of the house. Very shadowy, very dark.
I don't know how fulci did it, but he did a really entertaining low budget flick that delivers on all expected fulci staples! I mean yeah, you could tell that it was a notch less then Fulcis films technically speaking, it doesn't have that super glossy look that his normal films have. But for a TV movie, I say he did a bang up job! Great atmosphere the actors did a decent job and the gore though in less quantities was always there. In other words, fulci managed to give us what we like from him even with a low budget.
The only thing that I didn't like was those scenes when the clocks start going back in time. First off, the thing that attracted me the most to watching this film where #1 that Fulci directed and #2 the idea behind the film. A house that goes back in time? How awesome does that sound? How about the possibilities that this idea alone opens? Well that attracted me to this movie, but when the time came for time to go back, it wasn't all that impressive visually speaking. I thought it was a missed opportunity to do some really interesting visual things, but I'm sure that since this was a made for TV film, Fulci didn't really have that much time to elaborate on the visuals. I wish there had been more time to elaborate a bit on the idea of time going back in only one place, like the interior of this house. I mean from a visual standpoint...a lot more could have been done. But its not a big problem for me though, since the story was moving along so smoothly.
The acting isn't all that great, most of the actors do OK, but nothing too amazing at all. Still, their acting is not bad to the point of annoying or distracting you. The characters, well non of them are likable in fact they are all pretty despicable, even the old couple who end up being more dangerous then anything else in the house. Its kind of strange, but you end up feeling sorry for the trio of thugs. They just seem like three dumb kids who decided to rob the wrong house. Too bad for them.
I was amazed that Fulci expected this film to be aired on TV. I mean there's a lot to be said about that. You don't see American made for TV horror movies looking and being this good! At least I don't remember any, and that just shows how cool it is to live in a country that doesn't have any sort of ratings board and all that crap! No MPAA! But, even with all those liberties, the movie was deemed too violent for even Italian TV, so it was never aired. It was supposed to air in a TV show called "Houses of Doom" along side three other "house" themed movies like "Sweet House of Horrors" which Fulci also directed. Still, now on DVD we can enjoy it in all its "too bloody for TV" gory glory.
I was surprised that the music was really good in this one. I mean, it actually fit with the dark look and atmosphere of the film. It was distracting or out of place as in for example Zombie when they put that horrendous Calypso music. In this one the music is actually perfectly spooky.
The idea of a house going back in time is kind of like very Twilight Zone-ish, and that was a big pull in for me. Maybe some of you guys and galls will find that idea entertaining as well. Specially when its delivered by Italian gore maestro..fulci. Its not Fulcis best of course, but for a TV movie, I think he did an excellent job.
Rating: 3 out of 5
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