Monday, April 25, 2016

La Casa 4 (1988) d/ Fabrizio Laurenti

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It's been a minute, but we have returned with genre goofiness from the Boot just for you, as promised. Does this mean we won't be doing an Italian-themed month of reviews in Wop-tober? Hardly the case. This mutt, a Joe D'Amato produced sequel to Umberto Lenzi's La Casa 3 aka/ Ghosthouse (1988), unrelated genre fare rebranded as "House" movies to coincide with Sam Raimi's legendary Evil Dead movies, which just so happen to have been distributed as La Casa and La Casa 2, respectively, in Italy, at the time. Laugh all you want, there were several more to come after this one. Vidmark unleashed it upon unsuspecting American home video enthusiasts as "Witchery" in 1988. I'm pleased to report that nothing works in this movie, from the direction, to the pacing, to the special effects, right on down to the acting. Buckle up...
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"T' ain't a finer stewing onion in all of London than this!"
In my best estimation, it would seem that Gary (David Hasselhoff) is a horny, young photographer who's taken his writer/girlfriend Leslie (Leslie Cumming) to a remote Massachusetts island and a run-down resort hotel where she can research famous witch lights...or gates to Hell...or something paranormal or other, as it's incredibly difficult to anybody to understand most of her dialog. Hard to tell if she's drunk, handicapped, or just affecting the most puzzling portrayal ever committed to celluloid, on purpose. Either way, when she's not emotionlessly mumbling her lines and pacing the hallways, she's denying Gary access to the poontang like some kind of virgin. The hotel formerly belonged to an old German woman (Hildegard Knef) with an all-black wardrobe who may have turned her toes up decades earlier as the result of a potent witch hunt, as she was tragically pregnant with child (cue: slo-mo flopper out upstairs window). Only she seems to be still flitting mysteriously about the old place, and she's likely plotting a course for gruesome, bloody retribution, as these witch-types usually are.

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"Dis is a message from Aquaman to yer pal Jeremy Wade. 'E sez knock it off or else."
Meanwhile,  with Mater Rose (Annie Ross) having designs on buying the property,  her Brooks clan is arriving with a pair of horny realtors (including Hasselhoff's then wife, sultry blonde soap opera star, Catherine Hickland) via boat to assess the purchase, restoration costs, etc. There's her husband Freddie (Bobby Chanpagne), and their two children, the adult Jane (Linda Blair), who's very pregnant and having weird visions, and bashful young Tommy (Michael Manchester), who looks authentically petrified to be in front of the camera. Naturally, things go sour in a hurry, and in a most graphically violent and innovative manner, if not always (okay, ever) a coherent one. The lady in black and her spinning jeweled pin unlock a very seventies tele-visual effect-laden doorway to another dimension, where taunting witch-bullies eat still-born fetus parts, old women get hung upside down in a roaring fireplace, unable to scream with their lips sewn shut, and puffy nippled virgins lose their hymen to a yuck mouthed, leering Satan. You can assuredly bet that Linda Blair's character will be possessed and lip syncing gibberish with a cock metal hair do before the end credits roll, as well. That's a given...

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Bert was the last Cockney chimney sweep she'd ever cross...
With confusing and inept fare such as this being exported from Italy in the late eighties, it isn't hard to see that the earlier Golden Era for the genre was shrinking rapidly in the rear view mirror, and an inevitable flat line was on the horizon. Claudio Fragasso's La Casa 5 aka/ Beyond Darkness (1990), also produced by D'Amato, would come next. Nobody's any good in this one, with Leslie Cumming of Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1987) fame cementing her position as the worst on screen, scene after laughable scene, and perhaps Hasselhoff delivering the only cringe-less performance, albeit a pedestrian one. Despite the constant flow of negativity that's just been bellowing out of me concerning Witchery, and the inevitable single Wop I've got to lay upon it, you might just have a blast taking this one in with your buddies, if rotten fun is occasionally your fancy. You know what I'm saying. Scream Factory will be releasing it as a Blu-ray on a double bill with it's predecessor, Ghosthouse, in June, so look out for that.

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"Rock and roll crazy naaaaaaaaht! You are the hero toniiiiiiiiiiiight!"
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CowboyX said...

This was terrible

beedubelhue said...

Hahaha! Yes, yes it was.


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