• Ghosthouse

    Released by: Vipco

    Released on: May 26, 2003.

    Director: Umberto Lenzi (as Humphrey Humbert)
    Cast: Lara Wendel, Greg Scott, Donald O’Brien, Mary Sellers, Ron Houck, Martin Jay
    Year: 1987
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    The Movie:

    Martha (Lara Wendel of Tenebre) and her boyfriend Paul (Greg Scott) are off to solve a mystery when, after Paul finishes talking to a fellow HAM radio operator about the singer of Duran Duran, they hear a strange series of noises and screams. Paul’s computer is able to trace the signal and it leads them to a creepy old house outside of Boston where, after getting spooked by the strange, old groundskeeper named Varkos (played by Donald O’Brien of Zombie Holocaust), they meet up with two guys and two girls who are camping out there in their motor home.

    It turns out that one of the guys is also a HAM radio operator (which explains how they were able to find the signal) and has been broadcasting from the upstairs room. When Paul plays the tape he made of the strange sounds they heard, the whole gang begins investigating but soon enough, they start getting killed off one by one by an evil clown and a ghostly little girl, who haunt the house based on some sinister events that occurred in it’s past.

    Filmed in Massachusetts by an Italian crew headed up by Umbero Lenzi (Nightmare City, Cannibal Ferox), this movie has a couple of things going for it that make it worth a peek in the name of good, brainless fun. The kill scenes are nicely executed, reasonably original, and often quite gory. The eighties fashions are unintentionally funny (check out one of the campers to see a gent who could quite possibly be the most acid washed man in movie history!) and plenty of nonsensical dialogue will keep you chuckling even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. On that level, the movie delivers. It is an entertaining film.

    However, it is not a good film.

    Not even close.

    There are plot holes in this baby the size of Uranus and it’s impossible for anyone with half a brain to not notice them. Story devices are quickly brought into the movie for a scene or two and then just as quickly disposed of, never to be seen again (a perfect example of this is the devil dog that shows up twice in the film – it’s never explained and I couldn’t figure out what it had to do with anything else that went on in this movie).

    The score for the movie, by Piero Montanari (who also scored Joe D’Amato’s Frankenstein 2000) is tedious, repetitive and grates on your nerves once you’ve heard the same cues four different times, and all more or less at random. As we all know, a good musical score can do wonders to build atmosphere and make stale direction (which is what Lenzi provides here) seem to be more competent than it really is. Sadly, that doesn’t happen with this picture, and it’s best enjoyed for it’s camp value than as a serious horror picture.


    The fullframe presentation is reasonably solid on this DVD. The color scheme is well represented and with the exception of some slightly muddy blacks, the picture looks pretty good. There aren’t any compression artifacts to speak of while grain and print damage are minimal.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound mix is presented in an English dub and is of average quality. While there isn’t a problem with the levels or volume, the whole mix does have a slightly tinny quality to it, but it’s a minor complain. The audio track is serviceable.

    We get the same trailers that are on most of the other recent Vipco releases as well as an uninteresting stills gallery and a couple of filmographies.

    The Final Word:

    Ghosthouse is fun in a goofy kind of way and some decent kills scenes make it worth a look for 80s Eurohorror enthusiasts despite the fact that it’s more than a little clichéd.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I agree with you completely about this one, Ian: entertaining for all the wrong reasons.