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Clarence Branch Jr.
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Horror Movie With Breasts and The Toilet From Hell
Well, I give up on this one. I tried to like it, I really did. The film has some potential: Two story feature, one about a satanic coven and the other about a demonic teacher who never gets old, sucking the life out of unfortunate coeds. Or something like that. It is low budget non-Hollywood "regional horror" that went directly to home video and remained there, and perhaps the kindest thing one can say about it is that it's incredibly hard to find, and long. You get your money's worth out of FRIGHT HOUSE as far as runtime: It's two hours more or less on the mark, one hour per story. Problem is that it feels longer.
Part One concerns a snarky detective (actor/producer Paul Borghese) who stumbles upon a coven of witches looking to free their master from hell or something like that. Some bared breasts and Grandpa Munster (Al Lewis, being a sport) supply the only genuine interest. Meanwhile odd things are happening back at the local college creephouse involving human sacrifices, staged suicide jokes, and lots of bad 80's haircuts. Borghese is simply awful, the production utterly uninspired and whatever shocks or gore there is are easily missed if you get up & go to the bathroom at the wrong moment. The problem is that the consumption of beer is about the only way to make it through this and the frequent use of plumbing a by-product of such an undertaking. Too bad: If Grandpa Munster can't even liven up a movie you know it is perhaps time for a re-write.
Part Two is set at what appears to be Long Island's SUNY at Old Westbury, where cast star member Duane Jones (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, GANJA & HESS, and appearing here in his last completed film before going off to barricade himself inside of the great abandoned farm house in the sky) taught acting. Perhaps this was a class assignment that he agreed to participate in, and Jones acts circles around the unknown faces in the cast just sitting up in a bed shaking off sleep. His three or four scenes are the best parts of the production aside from the Demonic Toilet sequence, which actually did generate a belly laugh: A young coed doffs her clothes, putters about a dormitory bathroom, showers and then lotions up on the bed. So far so good. Her obnoxiously sweatered boyfriend startles her in a traditional horror movie manner, they engage in offscreen fornication, and are awakened by one of those giant sucking sounds Ross Perot used to catterwall about, and sure enough various small inexpensive set props start flying across the room and into the gaping maw of the Toilet from Hell. Eventually the sucking grows stronger, the couple are apparently sucked right off their beds and into the Demonic Toilet (we only hear it happen), which flushes obscenely at the end of the sequence. Oh, the humanity.
The rest of the movie is a SLOG of regional horror filmed entirely on Long Island using stock actors & actresses who again were probably appearing in this as some sort of classroom affiliation -- There is even a title card that indicates one sequence is filed at "Abandon estate" and then "Abandon estate, 75 years later", reinforcing the suspicion that this was executed by acting students rather than seasoned veterans of the craft. How the young ladies were egged into removing their clothing makes one curious in the academic standards at Old Westbury, but I digress. The film was written, produced and directed by one Len Anthony, who's only main credit to fame is for Executive Producer for 1985's DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD, a documentary on the history of -- yes -- George A. Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD zombie films. The presence of Mr. Jones and the DOCUMENT connection reek of some sort of nepotism or familial advantage blessed upon Mr. Anthony, who's one other film credit (1987's campus based horror thriller VAMPIRES, which also features an appearance by Duane Jones) suggests that perhaps he died young or gave this up to open his own Wendy's franchise outlet. In any event he was not permitted to direct, produce or write any other horror movies after FRIGHT HOUSE, which to me might be the best thing one could say about it. This was his last movie.
3/10 ... Some of the breasts are actually quite nice.
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