I really can’t remember whether I had seen the remake of this movie first of second, but I guess it’s really not important. I was just trying to think of something to say to try to introduce this movie with an extra sentence or two. I do remember the first time seeing it was back in the early days of my Netflix membership and not being too impressed. I was a little more interested in movies by Takashi Miike back then though, so take that opinion for what it was. Seeing that it was available on Netflix Instant, but only until March 1st, made me watch the shit out of that fucker! Oh, and it was based on a book that I didn’t read! Score!
These are what studly babes looked like in 1979. Some things never change! Ain’t that righty Beardy McBoobs?
We see the police at a house on Long Island, cleaning up from a multiple homicide. We know it involved a gun, and people of all ages getting killed, and the film then cuts to a newlywed couple, played by James Brolin and Margot Kidder, exploring the house, looking to purchase it. They like it, and sure enough, move in. Knowing about its gruesome past, they have their priest stop by to perform some sort of “exorcism” of the house, to cleanse the memories of what took place. Only being in the house a few minutes, the priest notices swarms of bugs collecting on the outside window, only to have them swarm into the room as well. He eventually makes it out, but not without becoming ill in the process. Some subtle spooky things are happening throughout the house, and it seems that James Brolin is becoming angrier and angrier, so Margot Kidder decides to investigate. Turns out the house was built on some sort of Indian burial ground or something? They decide to move out, obviously, and, ya know, stopped living there. The end!
The fatal weakness of the house? You can leave it. That’s it. Just don’t be in the house and you’re safe. Is that so fucking hard to do? It has doors.
Much better than I remember, but still not perfect. It’s certainly one of the best “haunted house” movies out there, and was able to play the whole “based on real events” card before it became as commonplace with horror movies. The strange thing about this movie is that the reasons it was good are the same reasons that I couldn’t enjoy it completely, those reasons being the intensity of the paranormal events. For example, when the priest is trying to cleanse the house, a door slams shut, and then swiftly reopens as a disembodied voice shouts, “GET OUT”. Or maybe the scene where Margot Kidder investigates strange sounds, and when she looks out the window, she sees a strange pig-like creature with glowing red eyes looking back at her. And similarly, this happens at one point to James Brolin’s character as he looks into the house, seeing the pig creature with even more clarity. There were no two ways about it, these things were happening, and these things were definitely being seen and heard.
“Why am I chopping wood? No reason. No reason at all. Completely arbitrarily smashing this axe into one. Honestly, no reason. Can I stop? No…okay, well only long enough for you to realize I’m holding this axe for no reason. I mean, you might NEVER see it again….MIGHT never…I didn’t say you WILL never, just saying might….”
On the other side of things, there are scenes where the walls drip blood. It happens towards the end of the movie, and whose blood it was or where it came from was never explained, but still, that’s a little too cheesy. Also, there’s a hidden room in the house the dog always barks at, and just exudes an overall sense of unease. In the climax of the film, James Brolin climbs the stairs above that room, only to fall through them and into a pit of an oily black liquid. Is this supposed to be evil juice? Is this the blood of the “Indian burial ground”? Or maybe that pink shit from Ghostbusters 2? No one knows, and it’s completely unnecessary. If this movie had been a little bit shorter, and had been a little more selective with which phenomena were shown to take place, it would get a full moon. Sorry, James Brolin, you’re still a stud.
Wolfman Moon Scale