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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, June 12, 2023

The House on Tombstone Hill aka. Dead Dudes in the House (1989)

This movie starts off in the forties where we see a young woman casually drinking from a straw while an elderly lady paces back and forth over the body of a man. After that scene it skips forward to the present and by that I mean the eighties. Some “dudes” show up at a house with their lady friends. Apparently one of them got it on the cheap and they hope to fix it up for fun and profit. Hey, it was the eighties! They make some jokes, smash a tombstone that is in the front yard, and generally make assess of themselves. 

When they finally go inside a couple of things happen. One the old lady from earlier shows up. She was apparently awoken as a vengeful spirit when they trashed her headstone. She threatens them and then sneaks off upstairs. They also discover that all the doors and windows are locked, and they are now trapped inside. Then the old lady starts to kill them off in gruesome ways. Their only hope ends up being Buddy, their friend who they sent on a beer run. Lets just say that doesn’t work out so well for them. We also get a couple of random guys that show up and sneak in because I guess they wanted a bigger body count and had to add some more victims. Stuff happens and folks get murdered. Then the movie ends in the most eighties horror way… which I’m not going to spoil here. Though I don’t recommend you watch this movie. Yeah, I’m confused too. 

It isn’t like I hated House on Tombstone Hill because I didn’t. But I also didn’t like the movie. This is a prime example of a filmmaker seeing what other popular much better movies were doing and then trying to copy it. Here we have a wisecracking killer in a lot of makeup, the old lady is clearly a younger actor made up, that smacks a bit of Freddy Kreuger. Then you have them all trapped in the house being picked off by a ghostly figure they can’t kill who then reanimates their dead friends to chase them around ala. Night of the Demons. Those are the most obvious examples but there are more if you pay attention. This movie comes off as a pale copy of a copy of those movies and only reminds me of better flicks. The fact that the director is best known for making those redubbed versions of public domain movies like Night of the Living Dead makes the lack of originality not a huge shock. 

Dead or alive Bob is a dick!
The acting and dialogue are okay for a low budget flick like this. There is nothing special here and some of the performances are over the top, especially that of Bob who continues to be a dick even after he is dead. But that adds a bit of charm to a flick like this. The kills are also solid for the lower budget with a machete to the hands, a gut stabbing, a slashing across the face, and my personal favorite getting sawed in half by a window. In that way it does feel like an eighties horror flick and that was appreciated. 

Sadly, this isn’t enough to help with the glacial pacing that the movie suffers from. We get bursts of activity with long stretches of boring yelling at each other. The characters keep wandering off to get murdered without the story even trying to explain why. They just do it. There is no reason for a movie with the thinnest of plots clocking in at over ninety minutes. A good editor could have helped cut some of the chaff and maybe made this a better watch. In the end it is a mediocre effort that will only remind you of movies you would much rather be watching. I can’t recommend The House on Tombstone Hill. 

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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