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BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Haunting of Whaley House (2012)

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MSRP PRICE 14.95

RATING Not rated

STUDIO The Asylum Home Entertainment

RUNNING TIME 90 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES

Director’s commentary

“Making Of” featurette

True Ghost Stories (featurette)

Lynn Lowry – Cult Icon (featurette)

Director’s Video Diary (featurette)

Trailer

The Pitch

An 80’s style supernatural horror-comedy with a 90’s attitude.

The Humans

Written and Director: Jose Prendes. Actors: Stephanie Greco, Lynn Lowry, Alex Arelo, Arielle Brachfeld, Jason Owsley, Howard McNair.

The Nutshell

A group of teenagers break into “America’s most haunted house” for some late night hijinks, but get more then they bargained for when the horror turns out to be real!

The Lowdown

Anyone who’s a fan of the kind of fun haunted house horror-comedies they made in the eighties will immediately recognize that writer/director Jose Prendes is one as well. It’s that classic and simple formula of placing a group of teenagers in an enclosed dwelling for the purpose of taking them each out one-by-one by a supernatural force of some kind. Films like Night of the DemonsThe Outing and House (the William Katt one, not Hausu) were clearly inspirations for Prendes, as he very amusingly weaves together a gory ghost tale all his own.

It’s about a girl named Penny (Stephanie Greco) who works as a tour guide at the “most haunted house in America”. She gathers a group of friends together after hours one night, even though she’s been cautioned not to go near the place past sunset because it is actually haunted with pissed-off ghosts who get really “possessive” about uninvited guests in their home. But where would the fun be if characters in horror movies listened to the warnings they are given? The house basically doesn’t like being fucked with at all and if you so much as break a teacup, a homicidal spirit will ram a chair leg into your goddamned chest!

 

The cast features a group of young unknowns, but there’s a cameo from B-movie starlet Lynn Lowry of They Came From Within, The Crazies and Cat People fame for you older horror fans.

There’s a little bit of a Ghostbusters meets Poltergeist with a touch of Revenge of the Nerds thing going on in the character of Ray (Jason Owsley) – an over zealous ghost-geek, who brings a famous television psychic named Keith Drummond (Howard McNair) along to make the spirits even angrier.

Also, some post-modern hipster references to Fulci and Argento adds a smidgen of a Scream-esque nineties vibe to the movie’s dialogue, but there’s still plenty of gore and one scene that’s obviously in the movie just so a really hot blonde can show off her amazing tits, that’s very 80’s in all the best ways you can think of.

 

I also must credit Prendes for making an Asylum horror movie that isn’t a direct spoof of a current blockbuster or features a giant three-headed shark fighting a giant four-headed alligator of some sort. Not that I don’t love those types of Asylum films, because I do, but The Haunting of Whaley House is original, yet still feels like the kind of movie I would search for in the new release horror section at the local video shop back in the day, right alongside Hell Night and Superstition. Then I’d invite a bunch of my friends over and make a pizza party night out of it. You remember those days, right?

The Package

The cover art packaging of the film makes it seem like a really serious supernatural thriller, which it isn’t. It’s a horror-comedy from beginning to end. There’s a director’s commentary, four featurettes and a trailer, which means you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about The Haunting of Whaley House and more.

[rating:3]