måndag 4 januari 2010
I tend to get nostalgic from time to time, for the good old days. With that I mean all of the nice exploitation that poured out of Italy in the seventies and eighties. Those days are gone now, but now and again I find some movie from that period that I've missed and Umberto Lenzis La casa delle anime erranti aka The House of lost souls is such a movie. Just like people can be lyrical about a favorite movie that they havent seen in 20 years, I tend to be a bit more positive towards just a little glimpse of those days. One out of four movies that Lenzi and Lucio Fulci (Two each) directed that were supposed to be shown on Italian TV but were in the end deemed too violent and instead shown at the cinema. None of the movies are excessively gory, but still features a lot more violence than your average tv-movie. And any movie whose first kill is the annoying, wiseass little kid is a favorite in my book.
The story is nothing special, yet functional. A group of geologists have been spending a couple of months in the Italian mountains looking at rocks (I'm amazed no one killed the little annoying kid and buried his body under some rocks. No one would've found him) but are waylaid by landslides on their way home. The find a small hotel late at night which looks a bit run down, but the owner lets them in. One of the geologists (The kind of girl that always appears in an Italian horror movie. Screaming and crying all the time, on the border of hysterics) has this condition where she is able to see things from the past (choice dialogue: The doctors gave you a reasonable explanation, they said you had psychic powers) and sees a woman and a small boy being killed by a psycho with an axe. Yeah, you know where all of this will end up. It seems the former manager was a nice fellow who liked to murder his guests and now the ghosts of his victims are out to kill our lovable geologists in the same way as they were killed: Decapitation.
The movie starts a bit dull, and its not helped by some really bad acting and even worse dialogue. But then, at the 35 minute mark, something magic happens. The little annoying fuck follows a ghost boy and ends up with his head in a washing machine and is wonderfully decapitated. After that, anything remotely bad was simply forgotten and I enjoyed the movie to the fullest. Yes, the acting is horrible, especially our hero who is played by Joseph Alan Johnson, writer and star of the "classic" slasher Iced and there is another fella here who looks exactly like the cokehead from that movie but I cant verify it with Imdb. I'm gonna have to make some screenshots later. Umberto Lenzi might not have had much of his heart in it, but even then he is still a professional and the movie looks good for its budget. The gorescenes are obviously toned down a bit and a promising scene with a chainsaw cuts away at precisely the wrong moment but we do get a bunch of nice decapitations. Add to this a halfway decent score by Claudio Simonetti using a pseudonym and we get a cozy little Italian exploitation movie. Not as good as Hell's gate or Ghost house (both shot during the same timeperiod) but good entertainment on your tv or on the Iphone.