In honor of my new blog focus, I give you the first in my series of non-writerly posts. Today I’m letting you in behind the scenes to one of my hobbies – horror movies! I LOVE cheesy, campy, over-the-top straight-to-dvd horror films. Whether they creep me out or make me laugh, I can’t get enough. And if there’s sequels...Even better! Leprechauns in space? Check. Radioactive waste with a life of its own? Heck yes!
This Week’s Freaky Friday Pick... DARK HOUSE.
A 2009, 85 minute ride through a technologically enhanced haunted house. I saw this last week while skimming the TV’s dead zone – you know, those high numbered channels nobody watches. The title caught my attention and I squealed in delight as I read the description...
“A troupe of actors hired for a haunted house attraction soon find that they are working in a true house of horror.” – IMDB.com
How could I resist? The multi clichés in that single sentence alone drew me in. When I discovered that the “haunted house” would be rigged with completely realist 3-D holographic images (can you say Star Trek, anyone?) the nerd inside me screamed for attention. Since I’ve been talking to my husband about the need – NEED – for holographic television for years, this was the perfect tie in! (By the way, my prediction is 10 years on the holographic TVs, mark my words, I was right about Tivo and DVRs. J Fore more on this future technology go HERE)
The beginning started out with a little girl sneaking into a fairly spooky Victorian house. Despite protests from her friends, she walks inside alone and finds a bloodbath. Children are discarded around the house like trash. In the kitchen, a lone woman stands with one hand down a garbage compactor, her other hand mangled.
Flash forward fourteen years later. We find the main actress in a college classroom studying to be...you guessed it, an actress. Cut this with scenes of her at the therapist’s office. Some mumbo jumbo about not being able to act on her meds, doc recommend she return to scene of her fears, blah blah blah. It doesn’t get good until we get back to that house. So, how do the writers get her there? Easy...
A circus ringmaster / sleazy salesman, our plot progresser, (yes, I made up that word, but it works) enters her acting class and announces that he’s turning the Victorian house into a special attraction – a haunted house. Main actress seizes the opportunity to face her fears with her friends and convinces classmates to go. Now onto the good stuff...
The entire house is rigged by an anti-social technological genius who gives us the scariest, goriest images we can imagine in a “controlled” 3-D environment. Unfortunately, the spirit of the dead murderess still haunts the house and places a “virus” in the computer system. It crashes, giving her total control of the system. The snafu, of course, how can holographic images commit murder? Well, duh, she has super ghostly powers, she can make them solid!
The film has more plot holes than a piece of cheese eaten by a mouse just off a hunger strike, but that doesn’t stop it from having a special place in my Campy Horror Movie Hall of Fame. The critics on IMDB give this 4.8 out of 10, but I say it deserves a solid B-. The technological concept (though, it lacked any founding in science) and the special effects (who doesn’t appreciate computerized blood) bring up the value. The acting wasn’t great, but I’ve seen far worse, and the gothic friend/witch had the perfect amount of dry sarcasm to win me over. So, if you like your horror funny with a tinge of the “Ew” and “Cool” factors than this one is for you.