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Gothic mystery writer Lauren Cochran leaves New York to move into an eerie Victorian mansion, once a brothel haunted by the ghost of a madam Florinda Costello. The ex-brothel is the scene of several gore killings, witnessed by Lauren. With John Carradine.Written by
Who could ever have predicted that an early 80's haunted house thriller directed by one of America's most infamous porn-horror directors (Armand Weston; sick genius behind "The Defiance of Good" and "The Taking of Christina"), and actually revolving on the grim past of a secluded whorehouse, could be this boring, low on sleaze and totally lacking excitement and bloody make-up effects? I'm generously rating "The Nesting" four stars out of ten, due to some isolated moments of sheer brilliance and the terrific choice in atmospheric exterior filming locations, but the honest truth is that this film doesn't deserve half of that, because the narrative structure is infuriatingly dull and ineffectively complex. Lauren Cochran, a female horror novelist living in the center of New York suffers from Agoraphobia (fear of crowded places) as well as from sexual repression and writer's block. She moves into a beautiful octagonal old mansion in the countryside, but promptly starts having nightmares and meaningful hallucinations regarding the place's dubious past. She discovers the house used to a brothel but some tragic event occurred there near the end of World War II, and now it seems as if the restless spirits of the prostitutes are using Lauren as a medium to extract their vengeance. Admittedly, the subject matter is hugely derivative and something you've already seen dozens of times before (and better), but hey, that's horror cinema for you and at least the whorehouse setting could have resulted in something slightly more interesting. The script is full of potential, but director Armand Weston makes the terrible mistake of trying to imitate the ominous atmosphere and suggestive mystery of "The Shining", which was released one year earlier and scored big at the box office. Multiple scenes are shamelessly copied from "The Shining", but Weston clearly isn't as talented as Stanley Kubrick and a cheap and anonymous production like "The Nesting" needs more action instead of intellectual tension-building. There are a handful of notably terrific sequences, like Lauren's agoraphobic attack in the streets of London, the death of the sinister handyman in the lake and our heroine getting pursued by a deranged local, but sadly they're just isolated highlights in an overall boring wholesome. Genre veteran John Carradine plays his umpteenth role of creepy old guy hiding dark secrets and Gloria Grahame in her last big screen role appears in the flashback scenes as the whorehouse Madame. The gory highlights in "The Nesting" are passable, with the exception from one nifty eye-impalement (which I suspect is stolen from Lucio Fulci's "The Beyond") and one uncomfortably gross moment involving a scythe. That's hardly worth purchasing an obscure and probably overpriced VHS-copy, isn't it?
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