The House on Skull Mountain (1974)

Article 3783 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-11-2011
Posting Date: 12-23-2011
Directed by Ron Honthaner
Featuring Victor French, Janee Michelle, Jean Durand
Country: USA
What it is: Blaxploitation ‘old dark house’ movie with voodoo

Right before her death, a family matriarch sends for four great-grandchildren who don’t realize they are part of the family. They arrive in time for the woman’s funeral and await the reading of the will. Then they begin to die…

We’ve had blaxploitation vampires, Frankenstein monsters, and Mr. Hydes; why not an “old dark house” movie as well? Then throw some voodoo into the mix. Sadly, the script seems as if it was doing the bare minimum to bring the premise to life, and there are times when this movie seems to be an exercise in stretching out the undernourished script to feature length; there’s an endless driving sequence, one of those “romantic montages”, and a long voodoo ceremony to fill up running time. The first half is the weakest, because we also have to deal with an annoying and insensitive jive-talker who is fortunately the first to go; afterwards, the movie improves a little, though it doesn’t rise above the ordinary. There is, however, at least one striking visual that makes for the best moment in the movie; there’s a scene with a woman looking into a mirror that becomes juxtaposed with a skull that shows some momentary cinematic cleverness, and it almost makes the movie worth catching.


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