We dare you to go inside…
Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Aka La casa 3 aka Evil Dead 3
Reviewed by Deep Red
How come this film is also known as Evil Dead 3? What about Army of Darkness (1992)? Well, when The Evil Dead (1981) was released in Italy it was called La casa (The House) and Evil Dead II (1987), La casa II. More films followed and the next film in this unofficial series was this. Ghosthouse was changed to La casa 3 aka Evil Dead 3. The next film was Witchery (1988) aka La casa 4, then Beyond Darkness (1990) aka La casa 5. House II: The Second Story (1987), the sequel to House (1986), was La casa 6 and House III: The Horror Show (1989) was La casa 7 aka Evil Dead 7. House 4: The Repossession (1992), as far as I know, was never called La casa 8 though.
Another interesting fact is that Ghosthouse uses the same house location as Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery (1981).
Anyway, is Ghosthouse any good?
It’s bloody good actually. Obviously it has nothing to do with The Evil Dead or Evil Dead II. It’s an Italian/U.S.A. film shot in the U.S.A. about a very haunted house. It’s pure 80s. The atmosphere is 80s, the effects are 80s and the cast, just pure 80s. But there’s something very cool about this one. I think the name Umberto Lenzi probably has a lot to do with that as the gore is pretty unrestrained in true Italian horror tradition, maybe worth checking it’s uncut. The acting is quite bad but it doesn’t matter (well it might to some) as there’s plenty going on around it and that makes it fun to watch. Effective soundtrack too, again very 80s.
The main antagonist is a creepy little girl who has an even creepier clown doll. Plot-wise, well, it’s a house haunted by a girl and her clown doll and a group of people find themselves in deep shit. I don’t really want to reveal the whys and wherefores as most people would want to discover that for themselves, it ain’t Shakespeare or anything but it works in my opinion.
Cashing in on the Evil Dead name is something you either have a problem with or couldn’t care less about, I’m the latter in this case as the film is pretty inventive and gutsy and it’s a long time after the fact. I’ve got to say the House by the Cemetery house is pretty cool to see in new circumstances but no, this doesn’t beat Fulci’s masterpiece, not a big problem though, Fulci’s film is one the greatest horror films ever made. This achieves a lot more than I would have thought it would and has instantly become one of my favourite 80s films so that must tell you I thought it was pretty damn good.
I’m trying to think of how to put it best. It at times feels like a bad 80s horror, which if you’re into that sort of thing, which I am, can be a lot of fun, but at the same time it keeps doing things that place it much higher up the scale. If that makes sense, does to me. The little tune that keeps playing is very Argento-esque too by the way. It’s shot in the U.S. as I said but it’s very Italian. Wipes the floor with many 80s films that I hold in very high regard. I highly recommend it to 80s horror fans, Italian horror fans, it’s a fine example of a style that is long since gone but which some of us in the horror corps appreciate in a big way even today.
Stars Lara Wendel as Martha, Greg Scott as Paul, Martin Jay as Jim, Mary Sellers as Susan, Ron Houck as Mark, Kate Silver as Tina, Kristen Fougerousse as Henrietta Baker, Alain Smith as Sam Baker, Susan Muller as Mrs. Baker, Willy M. Moon as Pepe and Donald O’Brien as Valkos.