DON'T FORGET THE FEAR SHEILD AND BUG SPRAY!
A double review of "House of Ghosts and "The Giant Spider"
By Super NES-S Originally posted at B- is for Best
Before I write my review, I just wanted to take a moment and apologize to the filmmaker, Christopher R. Mihm, for not writing this sooner. It takes me awhile to write since I don't do it very often and I often rewrite about five times before typing.
There has always been something special to me about classic black and white movies from the '50s and '60s. I may not obssess over them like The B-Movie Avenger does but when I was younger I used to watch them with my father from time to time, usually around Halloween on AMC and when I did, even the worst of them tended to catch my attention. I always loved the cheesy effects, the unusually good acting for many of them (although some of it may have come across corny) and tactics that were used to make it seem scarier. I also loved that not every movie had a fucking love story or triangle or something besides exactly what was on the screen in front of you. When most filmmakers attempt to recreate something like this in modern day it just doesn't work...at least that's what I thought until the B-Movie Avenger brought me into the Mihmiverse.
"House of Ghosts"
In "House of Ghosts" we meet a couple that invited some people over for dinner and some entertainment. They are trying to keep a secret as to what the entertainment for the evening is going to be but it finally slips out that they have paid for a medium to come to their home and he had very fair prices. While all this goes on a winter storm is starting outside and they are warned to stay inside by a deputy sheriff. The couple invites their guests to stay for the night until the storm blows over right as the medium shows up. Will it be everything they paid for? Will they get the chance to speak to their dead loved ones or is there something more hiding in the closets of this haunted house?
This movie was great. It had all the elements of the old haunted house movies, especially classic film "House on Haunted Hill," but also reminded me quite a bit of "The Twilight Zone," with itss dramatic cliff-hanger cutaways. The goofiness of some of the gags brought me right back to those old movies I used to watch when I stayed home from school. The cinematography is wonderful. Even though it uses up-to-date digital film, the editing was done in a manner where it could pass for a digitally remastered film complete with film scratches.
The acting was what you would typically find in a 1950s movie. It's exaggerated and very theatrical, almost as if they are doing a stage show. The characters were fun to say the least. When shooting an entire movie in one location it's only right to have interesting characters.
Its really hard to pick a favorite character in this film. Everybody here did a wonderful job with their characters. Mary, (the unwanted actress) and her husband Arthur (the washed up director) reminded me of a more argumentative Lucy and Ricky. Mary seems like a liberated woman of the '50s with her off handed comments and sexual innuendos toward Ray. The not so obvious, obvious gay couple, Harlan and Ray, were a hit too. Just like in the '50s they tried not to reveal that they were homosexual but in this movie they are almost making fun of it which I thought was pretty clever.
The props in this movie, although cheesy, were practical, which was appreciated and it kept it authentic to the genre that they were going after. Unlike a lot of scary movies that I've seen today this movie was very family friendly. I actually watched it with my children and they enjoyed it as well. It's nice to have something on my shelf that my kids can watch and enjoy that is not a cartoon.
I give this movie two middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. I really have not one thing to complain about with this movie. Everything from the intro to the ending was wonderful.
While being a fan of the 1950s and '60s classics, I was never a fan of bug movies. I personally hate bugs and the one that I hate the most has got to be the spider. Now, on a personal level, since living with my husband the murder rate for spiders has gone down for me. He's more of the catch-and-release type when it comes to them and I'm more kill-on-sight-with-a-torch-and-pitchfork. Anyway, this brings me to the next movie that I will be reviewing...
"The Giant Spider"
Imagine seeing a giant spider that's at least as big as two barns...no three barns. Wouldn't you shit your pants just a little bit? Well, that's exactly what happens to the folks in a small town in "The Giant Spider" and, of course, nobody wants to believes the a little boy who first laid eyes on it. What will the people do to stop this giant arachnid? Or will these nice naive people be eaten by the mutant?
Like I said before, I'm not usually the type to watch giant bug movies, so I'd honestly have to say that this was a first for me because I absolutely loved it. The effects done with the spider were exactly what you would expect with a 1950s giant monstrous bug, utilizing an actual tarantula. But, the icing on the cake was the closeup shots of the creature's face, which looked like they put a Halloween mask on the critter! I loved that while they were paying tribute, they were also poking fun at the era. There isn't one thing here that I could pinpoint and talk about without getting somewhat repetitive, so I wont bore you with that.
I have to say that I love that Christopher R. Mihm is in all of his movies somewhere. He does a wonderful job both with his writing, directing and even his acting. I'm amazed that this man can make such great movies on such a little budget.
I give this movie 2 middle fingers chopped off and sanded to the bone. It's truly a great movie and you would be missing out even if giant bugs are not your thing.