Director – James Riffel (Mass of Angels)
Starring – Douglas Gibson (Midnight Mass), J.D. Cerna, and Naomi Kooker
Release Date – 1991
Rating – 3.5/5
Blu Release – 3.5/5
Tagline – “This house wasn’t repossessed…It’s just plain possessed”
Vinegar Syndrome is fucking killing it with their line of blu releases. The slipcovers are fantastic, the films look amazing, and the special features are very entertaining. A few years ago I was watching movies from the Toxie’s top Ten box set I decided to watch Dead Dude in the House aka The House on Haunted Hill. The cover art shows a group of white twenty-somethings dressed like an early 90’s boy band holding weapons and from the tagline I was under the impression that it was a haunted house scenario. A sort of a more modern version of Amityville Horror but with a Troma twist. I’m sure I’m not the only one that thought that either and was suckered in by the look of artwork alone. The film was entertaining enough but the artwork just didn’t work for the film. A few months back Vinegar Syndrome got their hands on this and released it on blu and I was lucky enough to get a review copy. Thanks guys!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a group of twenty-somethings, a different crew than the dvd artwork, as they move into a home. Their plans are to renovate the home and have it in move in condition as quick as possible. Unbeknown to them, that the houses former occupant, an elderly woman that murdered her assumed husband in the 1940’s, is still roaming the house. As each members of the group venture off on their own they find an unfortunate demise at the hands of the elderly lady. That individual then returns to life as an undead servant for grandma. The group has to learn to fight together in order to survive, but who can they trust when their friends are undead fiends?**Spoiler Alert**
I was surprised by this flick. It was a pretty decent little movie. I honestly purchased Toxie’s Top Ten set for this movie and to have it in my collection of Troma films. According to Lloyd Kaufman, owner of Troma, this film is considered a masterpiece among himself and Troma fans. I can see why. However, the movie is deceiving. The acting in this one is actually pretty well done. The cast, though no one cast member stands out, actually works very well together. The scenes flow very well and their reactions are almost authentic. It’s a damn shame they never wont on to make a name for themselves in the horror community.
The story for this one works but does have some draw backs. If you are expecting a hip-hopish horror comedy you are not going to be happy. However, those of you that watch this after the Vin Syn release you will not be mislead like I was. Once you get passed that the film is actually pretty entertaining. It borrows elements of a haunted house style film and mixes it with the typical slasher flair. It works for the most part.
Finally, the film has several deaths. The blood is great and the practical effects work for the scene but there is plenty of room for improvement. The kills themselves are fun for the film but they are easily forgettable. Overall, The House on Tombstone Hill is a fun Troma release that looks great on blu from Vinegar Syndrome. Fans of Vin Syn and Troma need this release for their collection.
Newly scanned & restored in 2k from its 16mm original camera negative
“Three Dead Dudes” – featurette with actors: Mark Zobian, Victor Verhaeghe and Douglas Gibson
Audio interview with director James Riffel, moderated by Chris Poggiali
Extensive behind-the-scenes still gallery
English SDH subtitles