I recently re-watched Ti West’s The House of the Devil. I remembered liking how spooky it was, but I forgot how much I liked the storyline. The narrative both pops and lulls as it unfolds toward a dark ending about free will and Satanism. The gore is bloody and satisfying. The heroine is strong and resourceful. The villains seem distant but are many and close by. So spooky!
Admittedly, I might be biased because Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favourite movies and The House of the Devil pays an intriguing homage to the Unholy Trinity. Its ending is very different than its predecessor’s, however. It is unresolved yet satisfying, which I liked. I am very much a Ti West fan!
West, Ti. The House of the Devil, MPI Media Group (theatrical) / Dark Sky Films (DVD and VHS), 2009.
A marriage made in heaven … and a honeymoon in hell!
The Bride, also known as The House That Cried Murder, is a horror tale reminiscent of a Tales From the Crypt story. Told in a dreamy and moody way like only horror movies from the 1970s can, it begins with a betrayal that makes watching the traitors suffer at the hands of the vengeful victim feel like a satisfying, rewarding punishment.
If you like the slower pace of older movies, then this one is for you. I do think that the frights and ending are worth it, while bearing in mind the time and place when it was made.
Watch the film, if you haven’t yet and if I have peaked your interest:
Pélissié, Jean-Marie. The Bride / The House That Cried Murder, Bryanston Distributing (USA), 1973.
“Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was full of traps, it was a delicate tight-rope walking assignment. I found that very interesting. Aldrich gave it a very special style, a kind of dark glittering style which fascinated me. It’s always the charming ones of evil intent who are the dangerous ones; the others you can see coming. But you can’t see Miriam [de Havilland’s character] coming, and she’s really dangerous.” – Olivia deHavilland
“[After Crawford’s departure] The story, the project, everything about Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte was too good to scrap. Bob Aldrich put on persuading armor, packed handcuffs and a fountain pen, flew to Switzerland, and brought back Olivia…Olivia and I played lovers in Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte. She was a fine replacement. She and Bette worked beautifully together; [Olivia] and I had never worked together before.” – Joseph Cotten
After watching the video I posted yesterday about the original 1980s My Bloody Valentine, I was inspired to watch the 2009 remake. Like the first one, the remake’s plot was weak, but weaker. Plot aside, it was awesome! Good gore from the start of the movie. It had my attention!
The remake reminded me of another of my favourite gore flicks, the 2013 Texas Chainsaw. They both dove into graphic gore prettty quickly and sustained it throughout the movie. And the gore was vivid. Your face got in it. And that is when I realized that these movies were both made for 3D.
The gore effects were intended to freak out the audience wearing 3D glasses, so weapons were swung at them and blood was made to splash on them, like audience participation.
The thrill of the splashy gore outweighed the weak story lines of these movies for me, although I will confess that I love Texas Chainsaw because it turns into a sympathy-for-the-devil narrative in the last third. I am always a sucker for a horror movie where I’m cheering on the villain in the end!