House of the Living Dead (1974)

Article 4546 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-28-2014
Directed by Ray Austin
Featuring Mark Burns, Shirley Anne Field, David Oxley
Country: South Africa
What it is: Strange family doings

A woman comes to the South African plantation of her fiance, and finds herself dealing with witchcraft, hostility, murder, and a mysterious recluse brother who is doing strange experiments.

There are elements of interest in this movie, not least of which is its setting on a South African plantation. There’s also some plot elements that are a little on the offbeat side. Unfortunately, the problems overwhelm the movie. The mixture of witchcraft and mad science never quite gels. Much of the movie is a compendium of cliches of the “mysterious mad family in a decaying mansion” subgenre. The movie often tries to milk fear from things that just don’t scare; neither an old woman looking through a window or glowering looks from a series of paintings are the stuff of horror. But worst of all, the movie is turgidly paced and very dull for most of its running time; there’s something very depressing about a movie that almost makes you lose interest completely due to its endless opening credit sequence, for example. When you get right down to it, the interesting elements aren’t enough to compensate for the general dullness of this entry.


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