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STUDIO: Full Circle Filmworks
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 72 minutes
• Set tour featuring interviews with cast and crew
• 20 questions with actress Valerie Alexander
• Link to the director’s podcast
• Trailers and clips
An enthusiastic shot-on-video horror effort that walks the line between unwatchable and enjoyable mess.
Written and directed by Sean Weathers, starring Valeria Alexander, Buddy Love, Blue, Illa, Monica Williams, and Johnny Black.
On the eve of her 21st birthday, Liz’s mom throws her a birthday party. But as the night goes on, a night of celebration turns into a night of zombies, voodoo, and tedious special effects.
The first thing you should know about The Original House of the Damned is that it’s not the Maury Dexter House of the Damned from 1963. No, this is the “Sean Weathers Cult Classic,” as the DVD cover boldly declares. You know, the original one from 1996. Shot on video, TOHOTD is Weathers’ directorial debut and a nice effort to make an homage to single location comedy-horror films like Evil Dead. It doesn’t quite make it there though. It’s obvious that Weathers is a great lover of horror films, but everything in his film falls flat from the humor to the acting.
On the eve of her 21st birthday, Liz (who is still mourning the death of her father three months earlier) learns that her mother, Emily, is a voodoo witch psycho. In order to retain her youth and beauty, Emily must kill Liz before midnight on her 21st birthday. This would be an easy task, even after Liz’s grandpa warns her, but for some reason Emily invites a bunch of kids over the house for a surprise party. And what a motley crew they are. One kid freestyles a lot, another one is a lesbian aiming to get in Liz’s pants, and another might be mentally challenged or gay or be schizophrenic he’s just a hodgepodge of emotion!
One by one the party goers are killed off in vaguely supernatural ways. In between the killings, Weathers inserts a plethora of hilarious and unnecessary shots in which objects in the house move on their own. Shoes walk across the floor. A knife hovers. Junk falls off the top of the fridge. Doors close on their own. These shots go on for what feels like forever and may have been inserted just to stretch out the film until feature length was reached.
In the end, the ghost of Liz’s dad helps her break the spell and flip the script on her mom, who has been out on a date all this time. Emily clearly needs to get her priorities straightened out if she wants to be a successful voodoo witch MILF. But by the time Liz’s friend rise from the dead and oatmeal starts oozing out of their mouths, it’s too late for Emily.
Weathers explains in one of the features that he chose to shoot in black and white to give the film a timeless feel. I wish he had learned about white balancing beforehand because half of the film is washed out or too dark to tell what the hell is going on. These visual annoyances don’t add to the frenzy of the chase scenes or the suspense, it just makes it really hard to watch. At least the performances redeemed the film, right?
Not in the least it. Besides Valeria Alexander, who delivers an adequate performance as Liz, none of the actors manage to present anything interesting. There’s a sense of improv going on, which works if the actors have anything interesting to say. The only time any of them did anything remotely interesting is when one of them raps as a zombie. Hey, I’ve never seen that before. Then it’s back to more cinematography and terrible performances. Roll credits.
I don’t want to come down too hard on Weathers’s debut film. He banged it out indie style and had no-budget, I assume, so he deserves some credit for that. He stayed in the game too and still cranks out shot-on-video horror flicks. I bet he got better at it too. TOHOTD though is a clunker through and through – with zero redeeming qualities and an obnoxious DVD package that feels like one-big advertisement for Weathers and his Facebook page. About the package…
The set tour features director Sean Weathers and producer/cinematographer Aswad Issa discussing several aspects of the film, as Weathers walks through the house in south Boston the film was shot in. The duo talk about the decision to shoot in black and white, their influences, and shooting inside a confined space.
20 questions with Valerie Alexander is a droll and somewhat awkward interview with the lead actress. She talks about what she’s been up to since the film wrapped in 1996 and how she jacked up her knew during filming. It would have been a nice if Weathers didn’t put a jumbo advertising plea to friend him on Facebook across the entire bottom 1/3 of the screen during this feature.
Another feature is a link to the Full Circle Media Podcast, hosted by Weathers. And more pleas o friend him on Facebook.
There are a slew of trailers and clips from Weather’s other productions like Hookers in Revolt and Lust for Vengeance. One trailer is called “The Unfinished Works of Filmmaker Sean Weathers.” Slow down, kid.
The transfer is decent for a film shot on video in 1996.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars