Halloween Havoc!: THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES (TCA, 1973)

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TCM is airing THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES late Friday/early Saturday at 1:30 AM. Do yourselves a favor. Go to sleep. Do not set the DVR. This little opus has nothing to offer. When Faith Domergue gives a film’s best performance, you know you’re in trouble.

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The movie is much ado about nothing. John Ireland plays a low-budget film director making a horror flick in the spooky old Beal mansion. Faith is his leading lady opposite hammy Charles Macauley (Blacula). John Carradine’s on hand as the house’s caretaker, so you automatically know he’s a red herring. It’s all about the actors reading lines from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which causes strange things to happen. The only strange thing to happen in the first hour or so is Faith’s cat being found cut in half. Other than that, it’s like swimming through molasses. Seriously, nothing happens until the last ten or fifteen minutes, and when you finally get there, it’s disappointing.

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Plodding is the best way to describe THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES. The blame lays directly at the feet of producer/writer/director Paul Harrison. This was his first and last film as director, unsurprisingly. Mr. Harrison’s biggest claim to fame is writing 17 episodes of the children’s show H. R. PUFNSTUF. He should’ve stuck with Sid & Marty Krofft. The rest of the acting’s just lousy. We do get some all-too-brief behind the scenes glimpses of low budget filmmaking, but not nearly enough. If you’re a real insomniac and can’t get to sleep, this might help. Otherwise, go count sheep.

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