Monday, November 21, 2011

GHOSTHOUSE a.k.a. La Casa 3

  The horrifically gory and unintentionally hilarious plot concerns a ham radio operator and self-proclaimed "computer wiz" named Paul who accidentally picks up a broadcast of someone being stalked and violently murdered.  So he and his girlfriend Lara, do what anyone in their situation would do...  No, they don't call the proper authorities...  They trace the signal and take a road trip to the source of the disturbance, a rumored haunted house on the outskirts of town.  Makes sense right?  Once they reach the house, they encounter the people who's voices sound identical to the ones heard on the aforementioned ham radio signals, only no murders or any sort of violence have occurred...  Yet.   Soon after the group begins exploring the house a little girl in a white dress, carrying one of the creepiest clown dolls ever to appear on film, shows up and one-by-one the group is divided and individually subjected to ghastly goings-on in the Ghosthouse. 
   If that sounds like an all too familiar formula and you are now a little scared to take a chance on buying a foreclosed property like Ghosthouse in today's falling housing market, KVLT VISIONS completely understands.  But aesthetically speaking, Ghosthouse does more than just cash in on themes from popular supernatural horror film franchises of the 80's like Poltergeist, House, and Amityville.   It also fits nicely into the "Monster Mash" sub-genre where the kitchen sink approach to movie making is implemented by simply adding random and new monsters, at random, until the whole movie becomes a parade of creature effects like The Monster Squad, Nightbreed, The Freakmaker, Neon Maniacs, The Basket Case sequels, the oft overlooked Spookies, and The Midnight Hour.  (More on those later)  As with most exploitation flicks and especially with Italian knock-off-horror, plot is minimal, atmosphere is heavy, dialogue is heavy-handed, and on-screen violence and gore are the main attraction.  Lenzi's Ghosthouse, is by no means anywhere near the feverish intensity of his early grindhouse-friendly works like his cannibal classics Cannibal Ferox, (Make Them Die Slowly) and Eaten Alive, or his frenetic zombie-fest City Of The Walking Dead, (Nightmare City) but after it is all said and done, Ghosthouse remains a unique hodge-podge of gory supernatural horror devices, and unintentional hilarity, but with just enough Italian guts and gusto to entertain the most jaded cult film junkie.

  Looks like the clown doll from Poltergeist had another starring role in Ghosthouse!

  Without giving away the few plot devices Ghosthouse has, you get to see a creepy ghost girl and her supernatural clown doll (a lot), a corpse in a washing machine, a snarling hound of hell, a crazed slasher who runs like he's constipated, 2 hatchet's to the head, a fan blade death, bi-section by falling blade, defenestration death,  an acid bath, death by garden shears, a maggot-faced grim reaper, crypt and corpse defilement, zombies, and the most gratuitous use of ham radio ever captured on film.  First generation home computer geeks and ham radio enthusiasts take note; Ghosthouse will have you either giggling or grinding your teeth at it's brazen abuse of 80's era techno-jargon. The downer ending was also a nice afterthought.  Just don't expect a serious Euro-shocker from the likes of Ghosthouse.  This is by no means Lenzi's best work, but it is uniquely entertaining in it's own weird way.  If you've seen all or most of the Italian classics by Lenzi, the Bava's, Fulci, Deodato, D'Amato, Argento, Martino, Margherti, and Soavi and are just in need of a quick cheesy snack, then get out the crackers because this is your of filmic feta. 

  The Grim Reaper makes his ten-billionth movie cameo in Ghosthouse.  He doesn't mind though, he's got his S.A.G. Union card.  I mean in this day and age, even Death has bills to pay. 

  In the right hands, and with the right amount of mind-altering substances, Ghosthouse is a prime piece of MST3K or Riff Tracks real estate just beckoning for a buyer. But then again, with real estate market the way it is at present, you may just want to rent instead of buy.

Fun facts about Ghosthouse:

Humphrey Humbert, the director of Ghosthouse, is an Americanized pseudonym for Italian filmmaker Umberto Lenzi. 

Ghosthouse was shot in the very same house that was used in Italian horror maestro Lucio Fulci's House by the Cemetery

Ghosthouse is known internationally as La Casa 3.  La Casa 1 and 2 were the international titles for Evil dead 1 and 2. 

La Casa 4 is known in the United states as Witchery, and stars David Hasselhoff and Linda Blair.

  Be as cool as this guy and get your mind blown by the absurd and awful  awesomeness of Ghosthouse.


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