Monday, March 31, 2008

Dead Dudes In The House (1991)

Little old ladies scare the shit out of me sometimes. Dead Dudes in the House is the story of eight friends (five dudes) that purchase a house off the beaten Jersey path, a house that probably defines the term "fixer-upper". Oh, the house is gorgeous, an enormous vast manor that would fit perfectly within the plantation era south. Sure, the doors stick a little and the windows open and close on their own (and are made of unbreakable glass), but these are problems one can deal with when purchasing a house well under market value. Why has the house been unoccupied for forty years? Who the fuck cares! I got it for ten grand. Why is there a gravestone in the front yard? What's with that noose hanging from that tree? Again, ten grand! Totally worth it dude.

What these dudes don't realize is that forty years ago a psychotic old lady murdered her husband while her, apparently also psychotic, daughter sat idly on a beautiful couch, absent mindedly fussing with her anachronistic hair-do. What they also don't realize is that after callously knocking over the old hag's gravestone in the front yard, they woke the bitch up.

For a Troma picture, this one's I put it below The Toxic Avenger, but above every other Troma picture I've seen(which, to be honest, isn't much). Unfortunately, they skimp on the tits and ass which is to say, they don't include any. At least they turn this oversight into a bit of a gag. The characters are largely forgettable with the exception of Bob (played by Victor Verhaeghe) who gets all the best lines ("I always smoke a cigarette before a big job!") and gets to act like a loveable asshole to boot.

The basic story (and feel) reminded me of Night of the Demons crossed with The Evil Dead, minus any of the filmatic acumen that accompanied those pictures. This one had a stagnant camera, mediocre lighting, dreadful performances, etc. Once inside the house, these kids can't get out. The old lady appears immediately and picks off the dudes one by one (and somehow gets everyone to go their separate ways!). As each dude (or girl) is killed, they become a zombie and join in the killing. Who, if anyone, will survive until dawn?

The gore effects sold this thing to me. In particular, the scene where the old lady waits patiently by an open window with a fucking machete as one poor dude climbs up a ladder to help the other dudes. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever seen an old lady with a cane wield a machete with much success. The best death is reserved for the best character, Bob, who is cut in half by a window that repeatedly slams itself on his back. I loved zombie Bob who clearly knows his way around a needle and thread.

A quick note on the DVD artwork. I fucking hate it. They inexplicably hip-hopped it up. Those guys on the cover weren't even in the fucking movie. Perhaps, it's in celebration of the New Kids On The Block reuinion tour? It's a disgrace.

What else can I say? It's a typical Troma picture. It's derivative as hell (how many riffs on the "Here's Johnny" scene from The Shining can one movie possibly have?). Still, I'm recommending this one, which is shocking to me (no nudity). It's not particularly scary, except for the old woman who says creepy things like "I know where your boyfriend is. I should know, I killed him." Really, there shouldn't be anything scary about her. She's an old lady with a fucking cane! Why, then, am I so terrified? Maybe it's her closeness to death that sends chills down my spine. Perhaps, the moth ball smell? I'm not trying to be ageist here, but I hope I'm long dead before they lock me in a nursing home with all those crazy old broads.


brian said...

Steve, I watched 'Bobby Z' which was ok for a dtv production, but not really worth writing about. I still need to watch 'TCM; The Beginning'. What else do you have???

elmo said...

Yeah, I swear I suffered through this when I lived with Steve, but the art does nothing for me. It looks like an ad for "In Living Color".

brian said...

I actually watched this on VHS, which has far superior art work. I'd purchase this movie on DVD for 5 bucks or less, but NOT with that cover.

Sam said...

Big ups to the New Kids reunion! Woot, woot!