With an impending remake almost upon us I figured it was time to watch the “classic” made for television version. There seems to be significant nostalgia from the horror community around this film, especially for those who saw it on ABC during its original television run. I am not one of those people, but curiosity and the need to watch a horror film each day has led me to this viewing. That and the need to do something for five hours as I traverse across the country from D.C. to L.A. in a 737 jumbo jet.
A young woman and her husband move into a house that was previously occupied by her family. The house has secrets, including a dimly lit room with a blockaded fireplace. Paying no attention to the caretaker’s warnings, the young woman immediately begins doing all the dumb things that get people in horror movies into trouble. Starting with opening the fireplace that has been sealed 4 deep with bricks and cement.
Eventually she discovers a basement where evil gnome-like demon creatures live. They mess with her. No one believes her. Nothing new here.
Surprisingly, even with the constant rumble from the jet engines, this film is an effective chiller. The gnomes were both scary and funny. They use cute little voices to talk, like you would expect a gremlin too. The suspense is setup nicely and the house itself should be celebrated as it adds depth and creepiness well beyond the budget of the film.
Of course, this movie was made for TV in the early ‘70s so it contains plenty of cheese. The woman does a lot of implausible stuff. Like continuing to take a shower after the lights mysteriously go out. And typical of house films, the victims never leave the damn house. But who cares? It’s all good scary fun.
After watching this, I am moderately interested in seeing a remake. But just moderately. And that’s just because of Guillermo Del Toro’s involvement.
Snore Factor: ZZZ