Chain Reaction (Video 2006) Poster

(2006 Video)

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Extremely Violent and Gore, Uneven Acting and Flawed Screenplay – But Having a Great Potential
claudio_carvalho6 September 2008
While driving on a lonely road a bus with dangerous inmates from Seattle, the driver crashes on a car driven by Dr. Douglas Madsen (Christopher Kriesa) and the three prisoners leaded by Arthur Palmer (Simon Newby) escape and execute the security guards. However, Arthur's brother Spence (Luca Maric) is shot, and the criminals decide to abduct Dr. Douglas to take care of Spence and walk to North in the direction of the Canadian border. They find an old cabin in the middle of the woods inhabited by a weird family that speaks ancient English and advises the group to leave the place while they can. The strangers transform in flesh-eater monsters and kill the criminals, but the local Alice (Martina Ittenbach) spares Dr. Douglas and saves his life. He is found by the police and he is interrogated by a police officer (Jürgen Prochnow) that does not believe on his words and he is sent to the prison in Seattle. While in a bus with dangerous inmates, the bus crashes on a car and the story repeats like in a déjà vu for Dr. Douglas and the criminals.

"House of Blood" is an extremely violent and gore, with scary and gruesome special effects. Unfortunately the acting is uneven, with good but also awful performances. The screenplay and the story are flawed, since what could be the possibility of another identical accident in the same lonely road in the same circumstances? But there are good points in the story and with improvements and better actors, this movie would have a great potential. I can not say that I hated or that this movie is totally bad, but the story indeed deserved improvements. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Casa de Sangue" ("House of Blood")
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In Uwe Boll's shadow...
Silent_Abstraction27 September 2006
When the movie started, I was pleasantly surprised about some rather nice camera work. This pleasure lasted exactly until one of the actors started to speak.

This movie proves that basic technical skills do not make good directing: Apart from moving the camera in the right way, a director also has to make decisions concerning things that do or don't work. Ittenbach's movie fails miserably in the attempt to get some acting out of the amateur cast.

I sometimes enjoy amateur actors, but here we have a disastrous collision between the lack of acting skills and the inane things the poor people are supposed to say. The plot revolves around some convicts stranded in a forest hut with a family that obviously lived secluded from civilization for some centuries. When these people speak, they use what writers Ittenbach and Thomas Reitmair assume to be an ancient English dialect. This idea may have looked nice on paper, but the result is absolutely hilarious. Because the writers believe that old English simply consists of attaching a "th" to every verb, everybody is phonetically challenged and has to speak very slowly. When the doctor asks the protagonist girl (horrifically played by Ittenbach's wife Martina) whether she has some hot water, her unwieldy reply is "Aye, haveth I". (For the reader: What do you think is the translation of "no" into old English? Right: "Nay, haveth I not".) Almost as funny as this is the grandiose overacting by Dan van Husen, who tries to play the chief convict. If somebody told him that he is not Anthony Hopkins, would he believe it? Inexplicably, Jürgen Prochnow also has a small part, unfortunately a talking role. He's as terrible as in all of his English speaking roles. I thought his career had hit rock bottom when he appeared in "House of the Dead", but it's strange how things can always get worse.

The only thing that Ittenbach is known to do really well is over-the-top splatter and gore effects. The movie is rather tame in this respect, even compared to Ittenbach's work in Uwe Boll's "BloodRayne" (where the two formed an unholy alliance). The effects did a lot to make this the first of Boll's movies that was comparatively bearable. As a director, however, Olaf Ittenbach is a much more terrible than Boll and would deserve an appropriate level of notoriety.
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A lot of bus wrecks in European Seattle
JDC_Ghaleon31 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the most unintentionally funny movies I have ever seen. The script defies logic and the acting is the worst I have seen in quite some time. I am still scratching my head and trying to figure out what they really wanted to do with this movie besides just be a really bad gore movie. Somehow a dead crow falls and hits a rock which rolls and down a hill and hits a doctors windshield which makes him crash into a bus transporting prisoners. The prisoners take him hostage and set out through the woods. Every at this point has heavy European accents and the background is obviously set around Germany, yet we are told that we are in Seattle! Okay, I guess? Well from there they walk into a fog and come out and there is an old cottage filled with people straight out of the 1700s. They speak like an olden time Yoda. We soon find out that these people are like vampires but look more like a a hairless werewolf/vampire hybrid if that makes sense. We have the standard slaughter scene of everyone but the doctor and this one female member of the tribe who has her inner vampire under control and helps him escape.

The cops catch up to the doctor and take him into custody. He has all the blood of the victims on his shoes but they can't find the house, so of course they are going to send him to jail. All the while we keep getting these black and white flashbacks of the doctor as a kid trading a toy clown to the female from the cottage for a cross that she gives him with a dog laying in between them.

Now we are in yet another bus transporting criminals. One of the men setting in the back of the bus says one of the funniest, unintentional gut busters of the year. We tries to pull off a thick southern accent and says "ahhh you don't wanna talk to Georgy Porgy". I laughed so hard that I had to pause the movie for at least 20 minutes.

The bus makes it to the same stretch of road when, you guessed it, another dead crow falls, hits another rock which rolls that spooks a deer into running out in front of a car and she hits the bus. Rinse and repeat. Now we have the doctor yet again in the woods with more convicts heading straight for the cottage again. In one of the oddest scenes in a movie, when they reach the cottage one of the convicts says I can see it all now and we see his thoughts in which he is drinking, raping women, throwing money around and smoking cigars. After this scene the doctor says "no it will go more like this" and we see his thought process of them all getting slaughtered. So did he read the guys mind or what? Anyways, the group enters the cabin, we have a very weird scene of the doctor removing a bullet from one of the convicts scrotum. What makes this scene weird is there is twangy country music playing the whole time that really does not fit the moment.

Once the monsters make it there we have the typical slaughter scene, with one exception that really left me perplexed. Everything in this house is from the 1700s, yet one of the convicts just casually bends down and picks up and chainsaw which starts with one pull of the string and starts sawing people. So this family lives like the 1700's, does everything that way, all their tools is that way, yet they have a gas powered chainsaw? Now were at the ending in which the doctor and the girl escapes. They make it to the road in which the doctor for some reason stands in the middle of the road with his eyes closed until, you guessed it, he is hit by a car which causes another bus crash. Only this time the girl is hit also and when she opens her eyes she is one of the monsters now. *sigh* I guess this means a sequel is unfortunately in the works. We cut to another black and white scene of the doctor full grown talking to the girl with the dog still between them and he thanks her.

Wonder if the state ever decided to check into this one stretch of road and see why so many bus crashes happen there and lose so many criminals there?
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It maketh me laugh and haveth much gore, but it still stinketh!
BA_Harrison2 December 2007
With his early, (very) low-budget splatter films, Olaf Ittenbach proved that he could make a well constructed horror movie, despite technical limitations and a cast that obviously needed a few more acting lessons. Therefore, since it had a larger budget, I was hoping that Chain Reaction would be a leap forward in terms of overall quality for the German master of gore. But apart from a some flashy CGI credits, a few crashes, and the presence of a 'real' actor (Jurgen Prochnow), not a lot has changed. In fact, to be honest, the acting is actually worse than usual, and the script... well, it maketh me laugh!

A dead crow drops from a tree to the ground and dislodges a rock, which hits a car (belonging to a doctor), that crashes into a bus-load of violent criminals, who escape into the woods (taking the doctor hostage) and eventually wind up in a house occupied by weird religious folk (who speaketh in ye olde dialect), who then transform into flesh-eating demons. Phew!

To be fair, I like the initial premise—that something as insignificant as a dead bird falling from a tree can set off a series of dreadful events—but unfortunately, so does Ittenbach. A lot. So much so, that he uses the idea three times within his film! After his captors are all killed, the good doctor escapes, only to run into the arms of the law, who suspect him of foul play and decide to keep him under lock and key whilst they investigate.

The doctor is put on a DOC bus to be transferred to jail, and, guess what happens..... that's right—a dead crow drops from a tree to the ground and dislodges a rock, which hits a car, that crashes into the bus-load of violent criminals... and so on.

And when a third dead crow causes even more trouble later on, one wonders whether it might be wise just to cut down all of the trees along this stretch of road, to bring down the accident rate.

As always with an Ittenbach film, there is plenty of gruesome gore on display (with some very nasty crushed heads being the most sickening of these), but with quite a long running time, there are also periods in which the film is just too 'dry'. Some of these moments offer some (presumably) unintentional laughs (the aforementioned olde English spoken by the demon people is hilarious), but other parts are just plain dull. Jurgen Prochnow is given nothing much to do, there is lots of mundane chit-chat, and the whole 'deja-vu' angle quickly starts to irritate.

Ittenbach is a director who has shown a lot of promise in the past; he certainly knows how to put together a decent gore scene. Perhaps, in future, if he gets a reasonable amount of dosh to spend, he should invest in a decent scriptwriter and get a better cast. I'm sure he has a horror 'classic' somewhere up his sleeve, however, on the strength of this effort, it's hard to believe.
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Pretty bad movie,but great gore.
HumanoidOfFlesh2 November 2006
Dr.Douglas Madsen is on his way back home from work one day when his car collides with a prison bus,setting off a horrific chain of events.The four surviving prisoners,one of whom is severely injured,take the doctor hostage and flee into Canada.The group of intruders finds refuge in a mysterious,isolated house inhabited by a very strange family of bloodthirsty cannibal demons..."House of Blood" is a mediocre horror film.The acting is horrible,the dialogue is ridiculous and there is no suspense.Many people compared this film to Uwe Boll's cinematic atrocities like "House of the Dead" or "Alone in the Dark",but I wouldn't go so far to call it worse than them.At least "House of Blood" contains plenty of grue including head explosions,decapitations and chainsaw dismemberment.Still this one is only for die-hard horror fans.5 out of 10 and that's being generous.
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Decent enough effort without too many flaws
kannibalcorpsegrinder30 January 2013
After surviving a prison bus crash out in the wilderness, a doctor is taken hostage to tend to a wounded inmate, only for the house they choose to seek shelter in belongs to a race of bloodthirsty demons and dispatch the group one-by-one.

This was an overall enjoyable and entertaining effort, though there were some pretty big flaws present. The biggest one here is the needless circular story-telling that happens, as the film goes through two different versions of what happens are repeated again in the course of the running time. This is a part of the film's rather troubling storyline in general as getting the second half of the story to repeat the first half in order to tell everything again really makes no sense as it employs the exact same set-up with the exact same outcome both times over, and it exemplifies the problem with the rest of the film's storyline and structuring issues. Not only does this one repeat that facet wholesale, but it skips around repeating scenes from earlier to show the accident that stranded them there and then later on going back showing the group getting free by shooting their way to freedom which are simply inserted into random sections of the film and altogether simply makes for a jumbled storyline. As well, the fact that hardly any of the characters are that likable makes for a tough watch when it's really hard to understand why they're together traipsing through the woods simply bullying each other or going to such extremes simply displaying such utter stupidity in their decision-making that really adds to their unlikable nature and really troubles the film, but it's not a rather huge issue. The greatest plus for the film, though, is that none of that matters when it gets going and starts to deliver the goods, and this one does a great job at producing copious and over-the-top quantities of gore and bloodshed. This here is quite varied about where it comes from, ranging from crude surgeries of amputated limbs to hearts being ripped out, decapitations, gunshot wounds and much, much more here that make this a real gorehound's dream. That also means a lot of action scenes here with plenty of confrontations between the two sides, starting with the first group appearing there and the family turning into the creatures fighting off the group in extended brawls throughout the cabin which is quite fun, while the second visit there brings out the more adventurous brawling that shows the group being completely overwhelmed from the start, and it's quite a bit of fun especially with the peculiar group of demons present they must battle. Throw in an atmospheric house for the location as well as the great monster make-up and it's got enough to make it interesting over those few flaws.

Rated R: Extreme Graphic Language and Extreme Graphic Violence.
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Somewhat Amusing But Otherwise "Flat" Horror From Olaf Ittenbach...
EVOL66620 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
HOUSE OF BLOOD appears to be a slightly higher budget and more "mainstream" film from director Olaf (PREMUTOS, BURNING MOON, GARDEN OF LOVE, etc...) Ittenbach. Again, we have a relatively entertaining, but poorly acted, poorly scripted, poorly executed splatter film.

A group of convicts escape from their prison transport bus when a freak accident causes the bus to crash. The cons kill the cops on the bus and kidnap a doctor who was also involved in the crash. The group wanders into the woods and finds a cabin inhabited by a family of weirdos who turn out to be some sort or vampires. The vampires kill all of the cons but the doctor escapes. The doctor ends up heading to jail because the cops don't believe his story. During the doctor's transport, the same sort of accident happens, starting the whole ball rolling again...

Honestly, the concept was OK the first go-round, but got real dull the second time. HOUSE OF BLOOD isn't the worst thing I've seen, and it does have a few splattery moments - but sitting through the pathetic acting and retarded storyline is pretty tedious. Worth a look if you're a big Ittenbach fan, or if you dig cheezy low-budget horror - otherwise, pass on this one...5/10
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Ittenbach does it again!
tomsshadow28 October 2006
I've rent this movie in a local videostore. why did I do that. It's a typical Ittenbach movie. Cheezy gore effects, bad acting, and a cheap story. The story is about four prisoners and a doctor who survived a crash.(The doctor's car hit the bus.) They kill the guards who were on that bus an try to run for the boarder.After hours of walking they find this old cabin in the woods. The family in that house speaks an old language (for covering the bad acting), and they act very mysterious. And then the horror part of the movie begins. Unfortunately this part is too short. Watch the bald guy in the movie, it's the German version of Dr. Lecter. If you are a horror fan and looking for a good laugh, maybe this movie will do the trick. If you're looking for a gore movie, there are better films.
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House of Blood
Scarecrow-889 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There's a cabin in the middle of the woods, far from modern civilization, inhabited by a group of unusual people who speak Old English and become demonically possessed savages with a craving for "anything with blood in it." Poor Dr. Douglas Madsen(Christopher Kriesa), traveling to pick up medical equipment, happens to come across a bus wreck carrying evil inmates who have eliminated the security assigned to keep them detained. Forced against his will, Doug will have to follow the four inmates into the woods as they head for the Canadian border only to find the cabin which occupies the strange folk who warn them repeatedly to flee before the turning occurs. What commences is a slaughter, but thanks to one of the group, a young lady named Alice(Martina Ittenbach), Doug escapes. When he tries to explain to a detective(Jürgen Prochnow)what happened to him, he isn't believed and must face the idea of prison. He's the only one who came out alive with four missing inmates and dead security guards..Doug seems to be in a bit of trouble. Well, prison might be better than what awaits him. Traveling in a bus with other inmates, they drive through a female traveler, out of her car to see about a deer she hit, causing an eerily similar wreck to the one that occurred at the start of the film. A feeling of deja vu for Doug and, as before, another group of inmates will force the doc to accompany them into the woods, with a goal of heading north..just guess what happens.

Forget the story-line, director Olaf Ittenbach's horror tale is mostly a German splatter-fest..pure unadulterated gore movie, loaded with outrageous violence. I mean the religious freaks in this house turn back flips using the wall as a springboard for petesake! I didn't know if they were supposed to be a relic from another time, or luchadores needing a wrestling ring. You get an arm amputation, eyeballs pried away from a victim's face as it's being ripped apart, heads exploding(..including one nifty scene where a demonically possessed savage's face forms back together from it's shredded remains)from shot-gun explosions, a face being stabbed with a spate, lots of blood splatter from bullet riddled bodies( appears that A LOT of squibs were used in this movie), guts being pulled from bellies, etc. The Doc even gets to remove shrapenal from an inmate's nut-sack, for crying out loud. There's a nice attempt, straightly executed, at how fate, or a divine force, can guide certain people to a specific fate. The undesirables from prison who often find themselves supposedly heading north only to meet an ominous fog within the woods which leads them to this cabin housing God's chosen to feed on their flesh. I guess that was what this crazy movie was attempting to accomplish. I just laughed this aspect off and rather enjoyed the battles between inmates and demon-baddies. Simon Newby really lays it on thick as the first heavy, Arthur, spending his time on screen barking orders and threatening dire consequences towards anyone crossing him. Doug gets treated like dirt the entire running time of the film. First he's the constant source of bullying, given little chance to survive, only remaining so because of the assistance Arthur's brother, Spence(Luca Maric)needs with a torn arm with a bullet wedged causing an artery to bleed badly. Then later, Doug must deal with a quiet psychopath, Paul Anderson(Dan van Husen), who likes to wax poetic, often quoting from books and writings from popular writers. I found van Husen amusing as Anderson, the kind of bloke who loves to hear himself talk and has a superiority complex..he informs Doug that he'll remain alive as long as he pleases Anderson's intellect. You really can't give much thought to things that often matter in movies..a decent storyline and acting. These departments in "House of Blood" are missing. I will say this..Olaf Ittenbach has some style, but his attempts at messing with the chronology in the story-line(..going back and forth in time, often in the case of Doug, such as his interrogation scenes tied in with the second act and how events unfold in Doug's life and how the whole escape of the inmates came to be), I felt were unnecessary. The Old English will probably have many viewers trying to hold back giggles. Thee and thus, it becomes quite tiresome. And the opening actors who play the inmates Doug must deal with overact, often blurting profane lines with each other, often shouting, and always quite annoying...they're like rejects from an episode of HBO's OZ. They're a source of amusment as well as they really try hard to elicit evil by heightening their voices towards each other. Perhaps with half-decent material, Olaf might have potential.
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Where were script, brain and talent?
ian-ternik25 April 2006
Olaf is Germany's sfx-wonder. And he is an amateur in making movies. He started with video-home-movie-horror-events with incredible sfx which looks like the best days of Lucio Fulcio or the Hellraiser movies. But script, directing actors and dialogs are not his profession. I know that he is thinking that directing is his profession, but that is not true...look his movies. This movie is also a small-big-budget-amateur-movie with on a high trash-level and a lot of unmeant comedy. But there is a lot of splatter and gore sfx on a high level. Jürgen Prochnow has a small part in this movie and the only reason for it is, that he want to give this movie a chance because of his name. The story and setting is always the same in a Ittenbach movie: the hell, the dead, maniacs, zombies, rednecks and some stupid heroes with some lame Tarantiono-dialogs.
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Under-rated flick from the master of brutal gore.
ElijahCSkuggs1 March 2009
Initially going into Chain Reaction I was only aware of all the bad things people had to say about it. Pretty much the same stuff you here with any Olaf flick, "Great gore but crappy story." And in this case, it was even worse. So heading into it I had some pretty low expectations. Not sure if that's the frame of mind you should be in when going into it, but I came out completely satisfied and actually impressed with this Ittenbach flick.

I don't know what some other people were complaining about, especially the ones that I know have seen loads of horror. The story was not tough to follow, the acting felt inspired (meaning they were having fun) though it was over-the-top and most were probably German pals of Olaf, the writing was cheesy but delivered exactly what was needed, and of course the gore was awesome. Especially if you saw the Uncut version. The region 1 (USA) version is cut, and you do not get that true brutal violence you get in normal Olaf gore outings.

A group of prisoners on a bus crash in the middle of "bumf@ck nowhere", and seek freedom by trudging through the woods so they can reach Canada. With a doctor as a hostage who becomes the main focus, they end up running into a large rundown looking cabin with a family of whackos living there. Like other Ittenbach movies, the villains here are always very evil, so expect blood and expect a lot. And when a supernatural theme erupts into play, more gory entertainment follows. Supernatural fate is the main theme here, and I enjoyed it.

More than anything that stood out for me was the way this film looked. If you're like me and have seen other Olaf films, you've come to realize his films have drastically improved over the years. A couple of his films seem to have been shot in the same house. But with this one, it was really clear, nice creative shots of lush forests, and just more style you're used to. His latest flick Dard Divorce is also a nice looking film.

Once again he casts his wife in a lead role and once again I have to say, she stinks. I guess she has the acting bug, but she doesn't have much talent at all. But her wooden portrayal and the lines she's given in this one combine to a result that I liked. It came off as cheesy good instead of cheesy bad. And that is basically the bottom line with this film. All the actors aren't great, but with how they go about their lines and the type of writing that's given to them, it's not rare where you'll laugh it up. Especially the leader of the first group of inmates. He laid down some great lines. I can't remember someone throwing down "Shut the f@ck up!" with so much gusto. And he does it twice, and both with great effect. The second group of inmates are still cheesy and OTT, but not as memorable as the first group.

Chain Reaction aka House of Blood, is a widely disliked film. But I think it's mostly disliked by people who aren't the biggest horror buffs. Which usually means they can't decipher between bad acting and cheesy acting. When it comes down to Ittenbach horror, there's usually an underlying aspect that is there to make you laugh. And this flick delivers some pretty nice dark humor. With a cool atmosphere, great production values, awesome ultra gore, and a fun cast, this is one flick that truly deserves more love. People who say it's the worst you've ever seen can go f@ck themselves. That's just bunch of bullsh!t. If I may say, on behalf of Olaf, "Shut the f@ck up!".
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Ittenbach and Hollywood
dschmeding17 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Phew... after the incredibly bad "Dard Divorce" I am honestly positively surprised by "House of Blood" (which was releases previous to "Dard Divorce"). Again the visuals are pretty good, there is nice cinematography all over, great camera moves... Mr. ittenbach even managed to include elements to the plot that was not just working for the gore elements, some at least...

Basically you get a straight horror movie about a bus of criminals on their way from one prison to the next that crashes in a car accident. After killing off pretty much everyone the psychos head for the Canadian border and end up in a house full of strange religious people like from 100 years ago. Since one of them is wounded the criminals have a doctor they kidnapped fix their pal up... well, until the inhabitants of the house turn out to be some kind of cannibal-zombie-werewolf-vampires and things get messy. Although my version of the movie is 100 Minutes and clearly says uncut I doubt Mr. ittenbach would cut away from heads being bashed in, so I'd say mine was cut and the full version delivers more gore entertainment like every Ittenbach movie does.

Yet like every Ittenbach movie also this one suffers from some wooden acting. Yes, they got some decent actors like Christopher Kriesa and even Jürgen Prochnow but the fight sequences often seem clumsy and worst of all again Martina Ittenbach plays a major role and we all know she is an abysmal actor. Here she has to deliver lines in an accent that sounds like a mix of pilgrim and Romanian and is laughable (most actors don't even deliver the TH of thou, hath etc. right). Some of her looks in scenes of emotion (like the unbelievable romantic finale) are kind of funny... but I don't want to see that in a movie with the production values of "House of blood" but rather in a school play.

There is some mysterious twists that lead to the doctor witnessing the events twice in a kind of time-loop which could have worked along with the straight "house full of bloodfreaks"-plot but just watch the ending and you'll understand why it doesn't. "House of Blood" is by far superior to the incredibly dumb "Dard Divorce" but it angers me again that Ittenbach trashes so much potential with a mix of good and abysmal actors and his obvious lack of talent for story writing. Please stick to FX and directing and let talented writers do that job... it hurts to see all that work and potential go down the drain every time I see your movies.
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This will please Gorehounds
husks2 February 2008
Loads of gore, decent effects and unintentionally funny characters made this film just makes it bearable. I had to watch this in 3 different sittings and maybe that's the best way to see it without becoming tired of the story.

There are events that set off a chain reaction and sets a series of events into motion.

House of Blood (called Chain Reaction on the IMDb) is really a pretty terrible movie in many respects. Christopher Kriesa is not that bad an actor, but the rest of the cast is pretty bad (except for what is basically a cameo from Jurgen Prochnow). I think the movie was shot in Germany. The gore effects are pretty bloody for the most part and some are pretty good.

Others are not, especially the make-up work. We're left in the end with a lot of important unanswered questions. The whole "chain reaction" aspect and other parts of the writing are pretty poor.

House of Blood is pretty poor and I'd only suggest a rental if you want something to make fun of or are that desperate for gore effects (lots of the red stuff flows). Thou renteth at thine own peril!
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Totally against every other comment I've read about it I really rather liked it.
poolandrews12 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Chain Reaction, or House of Blood as it's much more commonly known, starts as a prison van escorting various criminals crashes trying to avoid another vehicle in 'the middle of nowhere'. Four survive, Arthur (Simon Newby) & his brother Spence (Luca Maric), Steve (Jaymes Butler) & Vince (Mahmet Yilmaz). The driver of the other car involved Doug (Christopher Kriesa) turns out to be a doctor & as such isn't killed with the police officers because Spence was shot in the arm & is badly injured, Arthur forces Doug to travel with them & treat his brother. Surrounded by thick isolated forest they head for the Canadian border but stumble across an old house where they seek shelter, inside they find a strange family who turn out be be Vampiric demons who feast on flesh & blood & they're very hungry...

This German production was executive produced, co-written & directed by Olaf Ittenbach & having a quick browse through the comments here on the IMDb I see that's it's fairly unliked & that it's one of the worst films ever, in my opinion that's complete bo**ocks as I think it's a decent attempt at something a bit different. The script by Thomas Reitmair & Ittenbach isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there are lapses in logic (what horror film doesn't?) & the whole chain reaction plot that the original title is obviously referring to is a bit muddled, somewhat confused & to be honest I'd have preferred for the filmmakers to have played the entire plot straight rather than go back & forward in time & rely on flashbacks. There is also the tiny fact that the second half of Chain Reaction is exactly the same as the first half with a few minor details changed, like the prisoners are different & the nature of the injury sustained by one is as well but for all intents & purposes the last 50 minutes is exactly the same as the first 50. I have to say I quite liked this idea, at least we didn't have put put up with these unlikable character's for the entire duration of the film, at least the film tries to cram in lots of blood, gore & violence, at least there isn't long tedious passages of dialogue to pad things out & I must admit I didn't know where the film was going with it. I'm proud to stand up for what I believe & if that means going against 'popular' opinion so be it, I LIKED THIS FILM & it's as simple & straight forward as that.

Director Ittenbach does OK, there is some decent camera-work & the special effects are good. The character's are poor though & unlikable, the dialogue isn't great & the film lacks tension although there is some atmosphere. I was impressed with the gore levels here & it resembles a butcher's shop floor at times, people have their heads bashed in with rocks, sledge hammers are used to crush heads, people have their heads shot off with shotguns, people are decapitated, hearts & intestines are ripped out & eaten, someone has their arm severed with a machete, there are people cut in half (both vertically & horizontally) with a chainsaw, throats are bitten out, someone is chopped up into pieces with an axe, there's loads of the red stuff splashing around, there's plenty of severed limbs & a brief scene where someone has their testicle removed with a scalpel, ouch.

With a supposed budget of about $1,000,000 Chain Reaction is well made & a lot more polished than most low budget horror films lately. Set in America but actually shot in Munich in Germany. The acting is not good, that's one point where I agree with the other comments here.

Chain Reaction, House of Blood sounds so much better doesn't it, surprisingly impressed me. I think it might be just that I've seen so many crap horror films lately (the atrocious The Dead of Night (2004) to name but one) that this seems like an absolute masterpiece by comparison & all that cool frenzied gore helps too. I liked it & that's all that matters to me & anyone who disagrees I really couldn't give a monkeys, let the hate mail begin...
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Demon Splatter cabin
Vomitron_G30 March 2011
Olaf Ittenbach slowly but surely succeeds in making every movie he makes look better and better. For a low budget direct-to-DVD flick, the cinematography of "House Of Blood" (aka "Chain Reaction") looks mighty good. Excellent and gory splatter effects too (but sadly they are mostly displayed in only two main grotesque fighting sequences). The story, on the other hand is pretty damn thin and takes itself a bit too serious for this type of film. Still, it kept my attention and splatterfans will be pleased too. Americans might be careful renting this one, because the version currently available in mainstream videostores is heavily cut. They'll be missing out on some juicy stuff. Just keep making 'em, Ittenbach, I'll be watching them. -- PS: Since this comment dates back to 2007, I've seen Ittenbach's "Dard Divorce" in the meantime already. I liked "House Of Blood" a bit better.
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Very bad. In fact, worse than bad - shockingly bad!
eye-sea11 December 2006
I could not really make head nor tail out of this horror film. Or so-called horror film.

It starts when a bus carrying convicted prisoners to jail, crashes. The convicts escape but take an old doctor with them because a prisoner's brother has been hurt in the accident, and they want to make sure he's okay.

After a lot of needless swearing, countless "f" words (about 1,000), they come across an old village from about two centuries back, inhabited by vampires. It gets dark, the vampires attack and kill the convicts except for the doctor who escapes.

He is then convicted and sent to jail for supposedly murdering the other convicts, but really it was the vampires. If that wasn't bad enough, he is then transported to prison in a van which - get this - crashes.

The same thing happens. Different convicts escaping with the doctor, who leads them all to the same village where the vampires are. Havoc erupts, and err...

I won't spoil the end, but let's just say, this isn't Shakespare. Almost impossibly bad, one of the worst films you will ever see.

Just one out of ten.
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Awesome gore, awful everything else ...
Coventry25 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Olaf Ittenbach is a fairly gifted special effects wizard; there are quite a few movies to confirm this statement. But at the same time he's an absolutely terrible director and, unfortunately, there are several movies to confirm that statement as well. Somebody really ought to tell him - tactfully - that he isn't cut out to sit in the director's chair and that he should exclusively focus the rest of his career on make-up effects. The gory bits and nauseating effects form the only highlights in "House of Blood", as the rest of the film is one major pitiable effort, complete with poor plotting, total lacking of coherence & suspense and probably the worst acting performances you've ever seen in your life. The basic premise is already rather stupid, and then still the script has the pretension to appear intelligently structured and even poetic! The official title (although "House of Blood" is a much more suitable one) refers to the unlikely chain of reactions caused by a small event. A dead bird falls from a tree and causes a rock to roll down a hill and into the windshield of a car. This subsequently results in a collision with a prison bus and all hell breaks loose. Four heavyweight criminals escape, take a doctor hostage and end up in a farmhouse where time seemingly stood still. The people there, wearing medieval outfits and talking with a strange accent, turn out to be bloodthirsty demons and repulsively kill the unwelcome visitors. The doctor escapes, but naturally the investigating police detective (Jürgen Prochnow, of all people, he must have been desperate for work) doesn't believe his story and arrests him. Next thing he knows, the doctor is sitting in a prison transport bus and the whole nightmare starts over. What, is this supposed to be some kind of surrealistic fairy-tale or something? All the characters, whether good or evil, are insufferable and you'll secretly wish they will all die an excruciatingly painful death. Who knows, maybe your wish is granted. My best advice is to try and totally neglect the ridiculous plot and just fully enjoy the grotesque gore! We're treated – in great detail – to faces getting smashed to pus with rocks or shot to slush with shotguns, wild axe-decapitations, ripped off testicles, torn open throats and much more. Utter garbage, but exhilarating & inspiring grossness… At least it's something.
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With nice gore and witty drama, this can be wholeheartedly recommended to anyone with general dislike of blockbuster storytelling!
tzaeru1 December 2014
I feel that there is a general atmosphere of misunderstandance(sic) surrounding this beautiful film. And indeed - is it so tempting to merely write it off as a yet another substandard, mindless gore-fest, but we'd be turning a blind eye to the inner core of what forms and holds this movie at line and above the rest. What this piece of art truly is, is a complex and nuanced critique of whole modern Hollywood storytelling.

Allow me to elaborate: While on one hand we've this fairly standard -- although well made -- merry-splatter-go-a-round, brilliance can be found from every crack and seam of the non-consistent takes; Brilliance oozes from every plot inconsistency and unexplained twist and poorly chosen phrasing for dialogue, for it allows the viewer to really focus on what is important. That importance is in characters and character interaction.

Instead of being treated the fairly standard "actor did an emotion, lets now explain why that emotion is important and what led to it!" and "this character is like this, now lets explain why he did something that does not 100% fit the off-movie stereotype!", we're given a rather witty collection of complex, inter-character dynamics. We see a character give a promise; It gets us to wonder, given the personality of this character, if his off-beat honor will disallow him from breaking it, or if his more.. evil.. side gets the best of him. Whichever way the answer is, I can guarantee that it showcases not only the brutality of the real world, but the ultimate emptiness and meaninglessness of human action. At the same time, the movie shows how human personalities and human ideals indeed have more sides to them than what is made apparent by modern easy-to-swallow -- and very shallow -- storytelling.

We see stereotypes that go all the way into caricatures, but at the same time there are surprises and depth molded into their stories. The stereotype is there merely to create the contrast. There are touches of true human life that we can all relate to. This movie is not self-explanatory. It does not make comprehension easy on you. But at the same time, it and its characters feel natural and true. Not artificial and plastic. For that -- and its experimentation and braveness -- I give it 9/10.

Still not recommended if you diss gore/splatter/horror and/or love Hollywood/lack a sense of humor.
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Full of shoot-em'-up action scenes
Scarne35629 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start off by saying this film is SO underrated. Sure, Ittenbach is directing, but that doesn't mean it was a piece of you-know-what like everyone seems to think about Uwe Boll's films. (Both directors make the same style of movies, and if their movies are taken on their own, for what they are, which is action movies, they should not be subject to so much negativity) It starts off a bit out of sequence, but after the first 10-15 minutes, you get the idea of what's going on. I won't spoil it, but this movie is FULL of blood, guns, action scenes, more blood, a possessed old English speaking devil-like cult in a church in the middle of the woods, and more blood. Oh, and there's more blood, much more than Evil Dead 1 & 2 (Combined) or Haunted Forest. This is the type of movie where you're filled with giddy joy that the criminals are such badasses so they MIGHT have a chance to kill off all the possessed cult members, kind of like that awesome Russian film, Trackman. You're also filled with that feeling while watching something like the Matrix, especially if you're a guy. That adrenaline filled, kill-everything-never-ask-questions feeling, if you know what I mean. Go see this film, I think they had it at Blockbuster a few years ago, they definitely have it on Netflix's disc-based plan, maybe on streaming. The reason I mentioned Blockbuster is because I bought it for $5 at a used bookstore, and it was in a Blockbuster case. In short, just go see this film if you are a guy and love lots of guns, blood, action, with a great story and mix of horror. (*Review updated December 28th, 2013)
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Avoideth thou this
Spoonbender-27 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was horrible. I wish there were more to say - but there isn't. Zip.

The writing right down to the concept was throw away. A road where prisoners on buses crash with such regularity that a warden would have no choice but to change the route... A house in the middle of the woods where people speak in King James English and drink goat's blood... A doctor who had an encounter with a angel/demon/"hot-in-a-'it's closing time'-sense-chick" as a boy - but instead of being eaten is given a gaudy amulet that he wears for sixty some odd years... A jail sentence that makes less sense than giving Mr. Rogers the chair... These, my friend, are the elements that make up what is supposed to be a story.

Sure - it's gross. Plenty of gore. The problem is, even for hardcore gore lovers out there (who I am not numbered amongst) this is the same sfx that folks were using for "B" movies in the 70s. Nothing particularly clever or interesting or disturbing here...

Basically these people become regenerating demons that can't be killed and can't be stopped and will not let you get away... Unless you are an old man with a bum leg - in which case you can escape twice. Why does he escape twice? Because he is the part of three different bus wrecks that involve prisoners being transferred - which isn't the least bit unbelievable, right? In the margins are maniacal prisoners who get what they deserve in the form of being eaten alive.

Hmmm... That last line makes the movie almost sound good... But don't be fooled. This is a DVD you should avoid.
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Poor effort from Ittenbach.
lovecraft23129 October 2011
Olaf Ittenbach's career as a director is an interesting but usually not good one. He started out directing low-budget splatter films like "Burning Moon", "Black Past" and "Premutos: Lord of the Dead", which got him a cult following. He then graduated to doing make-up and gore effects for things like Uwe Boll movies, and directing larger budgeted movies like "Legion of the Damned", "Garden of Love" and "Dard Divorce", which were attempts at doing more mainstream friendly horror. Another one of these attempts is 2006's "House of Blood" (originally called "Chain Reaction"), which suffice to say, is pretty bad.

Dr. Douglas Madsen (Christopher Kriesa) has been taken hostage by a group of escaped convicts, who decide to take refuge in a cottage. Inside said cottage is a strange family that speaks in Olde English and also seems to double as a religious cult. The family then turns into bloodthirsty demons (is there any other kind?) and kills the criminals, but Dr. Madsen is saved by local girl Alice (Olaf's wife Martina), and ends up being interrogated by police (one of the officers is played by Jürgen Prochnow), and of course, they don't believe his story, so he ends up taking a bus ride to a prison with some inmates. The bus crashes, and you can guess what happens next.

I'll say this much about "House of Blood": The gore and splatter FX are pretty impressive, the cinematography is good, and Kriesa delivers a good performance. Unfortunately, he delivers the only good performance, as everyone else is terrible, mostly just shouting profanities and pointing guns at each other. They are all supposed to be from America, and this is supposed to take place here, but most of the cast speaks with Germanic accents, and it was clearly shot in Germany. Also, while the gore is effective, there isn't enough, as the viewer has to wait for what feels like a very long time for the splatter to hit-until then it's a lot talking and yelling at one another.

Then there's the fact that the direction, editing and script (which Ittenbach co-wrote with Thmosat Reitmar) are all pretty poor. If this was from a rookie director, it would be more acceptable, but Ittenbach has been making movies since 1989, and that this is his tenth movie. None of it feels like something that was directed by a man whose been making movies for seventeen years. It just feels like something directed by a hack looking to make a quick buck.

All around, this is a terrible movie, with very little to recommend. If you want to watch a movie from Ittenbach, watch one of his earlier splatter movies. Those aren't great, but at least they're directed by someone who gave a damn about what he was making.
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A mess
ultra_tippergore8 December 2006
A very professional movie from the former "ultra-gore" auteur (Premutos ,The burning moon)Olaf Ittenbach. Chain Reaction (aka House of Blood) is a professional, good looking 35 mm film, with car crashing, great makeup and gore FX but it lacks in entertainment value. I mean, its very boring and confusing. The plot is very hard to follow and the action scenes comes only in bits (when they come are cool with gore and blood, but its a very talkie movie, and the dialogs sucks. Premutos was a great low budget movie. Then Ittembach entered more mainstream. The "fromdusktilldawnesque" Legion of the Dead was pretty cool and entertaining, but stuff like this or Riverplay make me think if i will watch a new Ittembach movie. 4/10 for the good productions values only.
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Bad doesn't begin describing it!!!
jjsegura23 October 2006
Wow!!! What a bad movie!!! I put this one on my Blockbuster queue to see if it was any good. What a waste of time!!! The acting, if you can call it that, is atrocious. The script is probably not worth using as toilet paper. And the directing, well, let's just say it rivals Uwe Boll. The story is about some criminals who escape after the bus transporting them crashes. Of course they brutally kill the cops transporting them and they take the passenger, of the car they crash into, as hostage. They run around in the woods, run into a fog and end up in a cabin where it appears they have run into a family that only watched Foghorn Leghorn cartoons ("I sayeth what do you have in the bag?") After that, all hell breaks loose and the movie becomes a useless gore fest (mutilations, exploding heads, etc.) I actually dozed off a couple of times.

If you can avoid this one, please do.
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LetsPoddy25 December 2006
We don't often rent movies. We have DirecTV with HBO, Starz and Encore channels so we Tivo many movies and make best of what we pay monthly fee for.

This month Blockbuster sent a coupon for $1.99 deal for movie rentals until end of December.

I had seen previews of this movie on Black Dahlia DVD and it looked like it might be a good horror movie.

Boy, was I mistaken. This was one of the worst movies I've seen in I don't know how long.

The acting was really horrible. The story line ... for lack of a better word ... stupid.

The movie made no sense to us and the flashback between current time and past wasn't necessary.

During the movie I kept saying I couldn't believe I'm wasting time that I can never get back. Also wasted $1.99 of hard-earned money for this useless piece of garbage.

I can't recommend this movie to anyone ... if it airs on cable or DirecTV and you can see it there, judge for yourself ... but don't waste money renting this.
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Superwonderscope27 November 2006
Not since LEGION OF THE DEAD or HOUSE OF THE DEAD has the Teutonic gore-fest sank so low. High expectations, low results. The gore is indeed fun and very graphic. The rest is absolutely appalling. Awful actors who can't play properly. And ohmygod the talking and talking and talking ... where does it end, really? Why this interminable talking? Why this torture to the poor viewer?

102 minutes reduced to 15 or so gory effects, one bus accident and a screenplay lost in the wilderness.

Austrian mountains, where the movie has been shot, are very beautiful indeed.

So, just forget the movie. Pack your bags and go ski in Austria. Better investment, than buying or renting this turkey. Really.
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