Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Hearse (1980)

Had you been in the room when I saw the name of today's movie, you may have heard me opine that it was going to be dreadful.  It turns out that I was wrong.

I mean, it's not good enough that I'd actively recommend seeing it, but it is on the whole a competently made - if highly derivative - spooky movie.  In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it's the first movie in this Cult Terror Cinema set that actively attempts to be scary.  I mean, I quite liked Horror High, but scary it was not.

Now as I said, it's a pretty derivative film, and a lot of the 'scares' are things you've seen before if you've watched more than a couple of horror films.  We have the glimpses of things that aren't there, the surreal dream experience, the camera stealthily slinking up behind someone ... all the usual tricks to generate a sense of menace while not actually having anything happen until the end of the film.

To be honest, it's at the end of the film, when the heroine finally works out what's really going on - a long time after the audience probably has - that the movie rather falls apart.  The last 5-10 minutes are a significant tonal shift, and the method by which the villain is vanquished, well ... I can truly say I've seen worse ways ("mock the ghost for being short" springs to mind) but it's not good.

Overall, this is an inoffensive effort in the "haunted house (or is it?)" genre.  I can't recommend seeking it out, but if you watched it alone at night in a darkened room, you'd probably get a few chills out of it.

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