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In Louisiana, a soldier returning from Vietnam finds his wife in bed with her lover and he kills them both as well as a couple of friends, but he is attacked by a bird and he loses his eyes. Years later, the bodies have not been found and the former soldier is now a bird specialist (Dr. Fred Brown) living in a house nearby the swamp. When a group of college students go to the swamp on an assignment to research a species of woodpecker that is almost extinct, they head to Dr. Brown's house to get some tips of how to find the rare bird. They drive through the swamp where they find the house where the murders happened and they decide to stay there. During the night, weird things happen. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It's another late-era Italian horror film! For a change, this one involves a bunch of kids in a haunted house, a setting which definitely didn't appear in House of Clocks, House of Lost Souls, Witchery, Ghosthouse or House of Witchcraft. But hold your horses there mister, because this one also chucks in a slasher storyline (for a bit), and some zombies...eventually.
We start out in the late sixties, where a Vietnam vet returns home to find his missus in bed with another guy, so naturally our marine goes mental and kills the two of them, then another couple (in laws?) who are just arriving with a new born baby. The marine doesn't kill the baby, however, but when he returns to his home (which has an aviary outside), some eagles get loose and tear his eyes out. Any good Italian film should start with four murders and an eye removal.
We see the kid getting taken into care and then fast forward to 1987, where college student/bad actor Steve has just gotten the go-ahead to go and track down a rare bird called a grey-billed woodpecker, so he gathers together his crew of expendable youngsters, but not before Lara Wendel gets involved. She works for some college newspaper (I think), and has tracked down three people who have seen this bird. She's not dubbed in this one either.
Lo and behold, the only witness nearby is Bill Oddie! I mean, Robert Vaughan! And he's the blind psycho guy from the start of the film. We see Robert using two revox tape recorders to monitor various bird sounds and after an awkward conversation with Steve and Lara before a lengthy montage of our group of youngsters going around recording bird song in various locals which somehow reminded me of the Hafler Trio's field recordings. Man! I forgot to mention that one of our potential victims here is played by the "Muh Baybee?" girl from Witchery! Remember the Hoff trying to get into her pants in that film? Well, it seems that she got the part in that film based on her performance here. That's good stuff.
After finding a corpse in a jeep which the film doesn't bother explaining, our group end up at an old, dilapidated house, with an old aviary outside. This being an Italian film, the house is haunted, which leads to several scenes of the house messing with people's heads before the zombies finally appear, fifty-five minutes into the film.
So we've gone from slasher to haunted house and now zombie attacks, so that's all good as far as I'm concerned. This is when the cast start getting picked off too, as you'd imagine, with people having their heads caved in, throats ripped, getting burned and pulled through the roof via the attic just like in Anthropophagus. There's a couple of twists as usual (really far fetched ones, as usual) and although Robert Vaughn doesn't have much to do, his explanation for why anything was happening led to a good Italian head scratching ending.
Be warned: I probably like these films a lot more than anyone with a brain, but this is good bet if you're looking for a decent late era Italian horror full of lame fashion, prehistoric computers, a bit of gore and enough loose ends to something a something. I'm not sure of Joe D'Amato's involvement in this one, or how much of the film is his.
Man, reading the rest of the reviews, I might be the only person on Earth that enjoyed this.
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