Ghosthouse / La casa 3 (1988)

2.5 out of 5

Ghosthouse is an unofficial entry into Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series of movies. It is directed by Umberto Lenzi, here working under the pseudonym of Humphrey Humbert, and is produced by Joe D'Amato's Filmirage.

The film, which benefits from the familiarity of location, given that it shares its haunted house location with Lucio Fulci's House By The Cemetery, really isn't that bad and to an extent harks back to an earlier golden age of Fulvia's Italian horror. However it is something of a pity that some minor pacing issues do somewhat detract from any potential impact of the uniformly excellent set pieces throughout and most potential scares misfire somewhat as a result of an inability of the build-up to suitably raise the tension.

There are, also, a few pointless tangents. For example, a madman character portrayed by stalwart Donald O'Brien, who pulls Roy Cropper faces every time he is on screen, adds a needless layer to the wonderfully realised supernatural elements which, at their best, coalesce around a young girl and her toy clown gonk that are reminiscent of the tic-tac-toe playing twosome on the old BBC test-cards from the seventies. The results, therefore, sadly do not quite transcend the sum of the film's parts.

Objects fly through the air, taps bleed and characters meet cruel and bloody deaths to a suitably eerie and disquieting score. Lara Wendel, the girl from Tenebrae, stars.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics