An old mansion is used as a location for movie shoot - a mansion where seven occult murders were committed. After being warned about messing with things in the house, the director decides to actually use things related to the murders in his production for authenticity. This summons an evil from one of the graves near the house, and it's about to put an end to this movie shoot.
Armed with a badass title, excellent cast, fun plot and... sadly, poor writing, "The House of Seven Corpses" is a title I had high hopes for. I have been curious about it for quite a few years. It's just a great name, isn't it? Like a mix between old Vincent Price flicks and Italy's hayday. Surprisingly fitting, since that's how I would explain the movie as well, just not with the greatest of the two. Think of America doing a total Italian cheesefest.
A film crew is on location at an old, dusty mansion to shoot a thriller. The caretaker is also on set and when he tries to warn them of the horrific past - seven occult murders - the director just sees it as a chance to make the movie even more authentic. Among other things, he adds the Book of the Dead to his movie. What he wasn't expecting was that this gives life to a ghoul that's back to kill whoever is disturbing his rest.
I'm sorry for that cliché plot description, but you know how it is. Horror is horror. "The House of Seven Corpses" is, unfortunately, not a great movie. It's quite poorly written, and much of the time nothing really happens. There's choppy editing, too. However, the movie manages to not suck completely by having a great cast (John Ireland, John Carradine, Faith Domergue) and an atmosphere that movies can no longer achieve. The fact that the movie has such a top grade cast is quite amusing because it makes it really hard to accept how poor the movie actually is. But as time goes by, you do get interested in what's happening and eventually, once the ghoul is up and walking, you are actually entertained.
The movie actually does remind me of some of the cheesier Italian zombie movies. It doesn't shy away from showing the effects even though they're not great, the rotten style of the ghoul (yes, I don't want to call it a zombie), the location, the atmosphere. God knows I have watched (and liked) plenty of TERRIBLE Italian horror movies, so maybe the similarities is what makes this one entertaining?
It really isn't a good movie. It has good acting, but that's essentially it. The ending is fun in a cheesy zombie/slasher kind of way. There isn't too much going on before that, and that's why the movie NEEDED the great cast, like John Carradine. The new Severin release is fun, though you might question the need for a blu-ray. However, when it's a combo release with DVD/blu-ray, I can't complain. You should definitely pick this up if you have an interest in classic cheesy cult movies, especially since it comes with a John Carradine interview from 1983. The interview almost works as a sort of retrospective of Carradine's somewhat small horror career, as he died just a few years later. A cheesy movie and an excellent interview makes it a worthy buy, if you ask me.