IMDb > The Dead Come Home (1989)
The Dead Come Home
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The Dead Come Home (1989) More at IMDbPro »

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Where trespassing is a matter of life or death! See more »
Eight friends go to fix up an old house that Mark has purchased. Upon arriving they find the grave of Annabelle (the former owner) in the back yard... See more » | Full synopsis »
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User Reviews:
Better than Donnie Darko See more (33 total) »


  (in credits order)
Mark Zobian ... Ron

Victor Verhaeghe ... Bob
Sarah Newhouse ... Jamie

Douglas Gibson ... Mark / OldLady (as Douglas F. Gibson)
J.D. Cerna ... Steve (as John Dayton Cerna)
Naomi Kooker ... Linda
Eugene Sautner ... Joey

Rob Moretti ... S
James Griffith ... Ricky
Leighann Belair ... 1940s Girl
Albert Jaccoma ... 1940s Dead Man (as Albert J. Wingate)
Darrell Gibson ... Old Lady Double
Bruce Spaulding Fuller ... Bob's Legs on Ground
Pam Lewis ... Old Lady (voice)

Directed by
James Riffel  (as J. Riffel)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
James Riffel  (as J. Riffel)

Produced by
Mark Bladis .... executive producer
Melisse Lewis .... producer
James Riffel .... executive producer (as J. Riffel)
Original Music by
William B. Riffel 
Cinematography by
Mark Petersson (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Valerie Schwartz 
Art Direction by
Janice Irwin 
Makeup Department
Ed French .... special makeup effects
Bruce Spaulding Fuller .... special makeup effects artist
Erica Jane .... special makeup effects assistant
Eugene Sautner .... special makeup effects assistant
Erik Schaper .... special makeup effects artist
Gary Yee .... makeup lab technician
Production Management
Ted Schilowitz .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michelangelo Csaba Bolla .... assistant director (as Csaba Bolla)
Scott Rhodes .... second unit director
Sound Department
Leslie Harkness .... boom operator
Douglas Tourtelot .... sound mixer (as Doug Tourtelot)
Bob Griffith .... stunt coordinator
Scott Rhodes .... stunt coordinator
Scott Rhodes .... stunts
Eric Shaper .... stunt double: Joey
Camera and Electrical Department
Bonnie Blake .... assistant camera
Arik Caspi .... grip
Arik Caspi .... swing electric
George Gibson .... key grip
George B. Kelly .... gaffer (as George Kelly)
Mark Miller .... still photographer
John Petersson .... gaffer
Paul Reuter .... assistant camera
Susan Starr .... camera operator
Alex Webster .... best boy
Music Department
Celeste Hines .... music editor
Valerie Schwartz .... music editor

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Dead Dudes in the House" - USA (reissue title)
"The House on Tombstone Hill" - USA (alternative title)
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95 min
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Completed in 1988 (as "The Dead Come Home").See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Dead Air (1999) (V)See more »


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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Better than Donnie Darko, 4 May 2005
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City

After a brief prologue showing Ann Leatherbee ("1940's Girl" Leighann Belair) and her mother, Abigail ("Old Lady" Douglas Gibson), nonchalantly sitting/standing over a dead body, we move 40 years into the future, when seven feisty young adults arrive at the same house to fix it up. Mark (also played by Gibson) has purchased the home at a steal because of its disturbing past, which he isn't aware of. Of course, this is the stereotypical haunted house film set-up. Dead Dudes in the House combines its supernatural haunted house horror with a slasher plot and entities that are a cross between zombies and ghosts. The story progresses as you'd expect given those elements. Yes, it's derivative, but anyone who knows me well knows I do not subtract points for that. The "Cult of Originality"--which valued the unprecedented over all else, and which really only came to the fore in the later 1800s--was a mistake in my opinion.

Still, when astute readers notice that my rating for a film like this is higher than or the same as my ratings for films like Constantine (2005), Mulholland Drive (2001), Predator (1987), Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya 1, 2001) and Donnie Darko (2001), they (maybe rightly) wonder, "What is going on? How can you say that Dead Dudes in the House is as good or better than (fill in your favorite film that you think I underrated here)?" It's important to remember that my ratings (as well as many other critics', I suspect) are not meant as comparative to other films, as if they're all on an even playing field, trying out for shortstop on the same team. My ratings are comparative, but to a number of other factors. First I consider how well the film managed to do what it set out to do, making concessions only for unavoidable limitations (these include budget constraints and historical/technological limitations); I see the film itself as defining what it wants to do. Secondly, I consider the value I got from the film--including entertainment value, other aesthetic value and so on. The last factor is importance in a historical/cultural milieu. This is given far less weight, partially because it's not so directly related to what's on the screen, and partially because this is impossible to "measure" for most newer films; this last factor also only tends to help ratings; I don't really subtract any points for cultural/historical _unimportance_. It's also helpful to remember that I begin all films at a 9 (an "A"), and then score up or down accordingly.

Understanding this, I believe that Dead Dudes in the House does a very good job accomplishing what it wants to accomplish, although there are a couple small blunders--enough to subtract a point. I also got a lot of value out of it. It's entertaining, often funny (sometimes unintentionally), there is some surprisingly good cinematography, the premise is handled (meaning directed, written, and so on) extremely competently, the death scenes are well done and creative, and the performances range from bizarrely good (in this context) to entertainingly bad (often from the same actor).

Writer/director/producer/coffee-maker James Riffel, who unfortunately only recently managed to complete another film, 2004's Black-Eyed Susan, knows exactly what he's shooting for and easily gets it. The goal was to create a slightly tongue-in-cheek 1980s-style (the film was actually made in the late 80s--the copyright date on the end credits is 1988, and the title of the film is given as The Dead Come Home) gore-comedy slasher, achieving the necessary isolation by locking the ten little Indians in the haunted house and gaining ghouls to enable variety by letting dispatched characters become zombie-like menaces.

Partially because of this set-up, the dialogue tends to be ridiculous, well written, unintentionally hilarious and scathingly satirical, often all at the same time. Most of the major characters fit that set of adjectives as well, especially Bob (Victor Verhaeghe), the carpenter, and Abigail Leatherbee, the "old lady". Bob is usually given the best lines, and Verhaeghe turns in one of the most entertaining performances. The extended scene when the "kids" first arrive at the house and try to start fixing it is a gem. The funniest aspect, perhaps, is that Bob is not that far removed from a couple carpenters and construction workers I've known in the past.

But the gore is also very well done. In a movie like this, that is extremely important. The only other important aspect that Riffel misses is gratuitous nudity, but there isn't a huge female cast, and it's not always easy to acquire gratuitous nudity for low-budget film-making like this (I'd suspect this was more akin to a "guerilla" film).

As for cinematography, Riffel actually anticipates a number of more recent genre stylistic tendencies, such as monochromaticism and chiaroscuro night scenes. There's also an extremely important and attractive shot that breaks the monochromaticism in the dénouement, right before the obligatory and welcomed doom-laden "tag". This is using cinematography as symbolism in a way akin to such well-respected films as Equilibrium (2002)--something less broad minded folks act surprised to encounter in a "clichéd little shocker" like Dead Dudes in the House.

By the way, Dead Dudes in the House was recently released on DVD through Troma's Toxie's Triple Terror series. It's interesting to note how many films in that series feature transvestite characters. Is it time we ask just what kind of undergarments Lloyd Kaufman is wearing? Does he have something in common with lumberjacks?

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Actually scared me as a kid... polarbear-5
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