April 23, 2009
With the horror genre in an obvious slump -- and so many other horror Web sites oohing and aaahing over the latest casting announcements from upcoming horror remakes -- it seemed like a good time for ESplatter to look back in time at some of the memorable -- but sadly unjustly forgotten -- splatter movies that remain unavailable in the U.S. after all these years.
1969's "Haunted House of Horror" (review here) was produced by Tigon -- who put together a number of other forgotten out-of-print horror films, including "The Beast in the Cellar" and "Blood on Satan's Claw".
In this 1969 release, Frankie Avalon suffers one of the most gruesome deaths captured in a late 1960s movie -- yes, a knife to the balls. A bad movie all around, "Horror House" (aka "The Haunted House of Horror") gets chilling during its last half hour and actually delivers some very memorable scares. It makes sense that the film is a bit schizophrenic: director Michael Armstrong had the movie taken away from him, with overly toned down scenes filmed by another director. Armstrong definitely has talent, as he went on to helm "Mark of the Devil" the next year.
The plot is pretty basic: Teenagers gathered in an old mansion are being murdered one by one. The survivors must discover who among them is the killer before he finishes off everybody.
Why the kids keep returning to the house is a little confusing. But the final unveiling of the killer -- and confrontation with good guy Swinging Londoner Frankie Avalon -- makes the film a more than worthwhile watch. "Horror House" is a never-in-print oddity that has showed up on cable TV from time to time. Worth catching if just for its last half hour. Click here for our review.
Talk about this story on ESplatter's Message Board
Gotta scoop? Drop a line to Lucius Gore, editor