A man moves his family into Oak Manor to continue the research of a recently deceased colleague. What he doesn't know is that his research resides in the basement of their new home, feeding on the cells of his victims to stay alive.
Decades all have their own feel to them. From the clothes to the music, it all dates itself. Movies from the 80's are no different. John Hughes practically owned the 80's with his family oriented classics: National Lampoon's Vacation, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Uncle Buck. Of course, we can't forget his melodramatic teen angst films like The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles. Yeah, those have the 80's written all over them. But, what about Horror in the 80's? Equally, if not more, cheesy.
Lucio Fulci has brought us some of the most classic horror films of all time. The House by the Cemetery doesn't hold a candle to his most notable film, Zombie (Zombi 2), but it can hold it's own.
Here, we get a story about a family who's decided to move to a remote location in Boston so the husband can continue a deceased colleague's research on Dr. Freudstein. This is in no way an original film. It takes little things from other films and mashes them together and tada, 87 minutes of pure entertainment. Does that make this film pointless to watch? Not at all. It is actually quite interesting to see all these subtle inspirations come together. The opening scene is practically cut and pasted from Halloween, but it's still fantastic.
You know, I was going to say the acting is pretty awful. It's true, but what makes it worse is the dubbing. Prepare to laugh the entire time you hear Bob speak. His acting on top of the dubbing is quite possibly the funniest and worst thing I have ever seen in a horror film. Bob is right up there with that annoying kid from Troll 2. They should get together and start a support group for most annoying kids in film. To add insult to injury, just watch everyone's facial expressions during the bat scene. What was the direction for that scene? Look terrified, but shocked, but also confused? Bob's facial expressions are pretty bad throughout. I also can't forget the scene with the two children in the woods. You're just going to have to see that unknowingly piece of comedic genius yourself.
Fulci has never been one to shy away from blood and gore. The makeup in his films is great. Freudstein may look like a dried out, month old turkey, but he's still comes off as creepy. Freudstein's lair, aka the basement in the house the Boyle's are staying in, is full of fresh limbs. Bloody hands all over his surgery table. Throughout the film there's head's falling off, a knife through a girl's head and much more additions to this rather subtle gore film.
The soundtrack is a campy classic. There's this haunting score comes in whenever Freudstein attacks. Think "Holiday Road" without vocals, slowed down and played backwards. It's definitely one of the main reasons to see this movie.
So, The House by the Cemetery isn't the greatest horror film of all time, but it one you can't miss. If you really enjoy that campy cheesy feel, which was pretty much 70's and 80's slasher films, you'll absolutely love The House by the Cemetery. If you've already seen it, then you know it's time to sit down for another viewing.
Rotten Tomatoes: 4.7/10
Come for the glowing eyes. Stay for Bob.