HOUSE ON STRAW HILL (1976)
Article 5107 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by James Kenelm Clarke
Featuring Udo Kier, Linda Hayden, Fiona Richmond
What it is: Erotic thriller
A paranoid and somewhat disturbed writer hires a female typist to help him write his second novel. Then the murders start…
In the early eighties, the forces that be in the UK banned a number of videos that had fallen through the cracks of censorship and were deemed to be a threat to young video-watchers. This movie ended up on the list, and the comments on the back of the Blu-Ray disc jacket make a big deal of its “banned” status and emphasize the movie’s depravity and controversial nature. This may make the movie a cause celebre for those against censorship, but it doesn’t necessarily make it a great or even a good movie. I’m thinking it was mostly banned for the sex; it is more explicit in that regard than other non-porn movies of the period (though it seems rather mild when compared to some Eurosleaze movies). As for the blood and gore, the nastiest scene is just a slightly more explicit version of the shower scene in PSYCHO; there’s a bit more blood and more nudity. My problem is that all the sex and gore seems to be nothing more than gratuitous filler to pad out a plot that is threadbare, uninspired, and a little obvious. Furthermore, it ends with a final twist which (if you’re paying any attention at all to the timeline of the story) is incredibly ludicrous. And, when all is said and done, in comparison to some of the other titles on the Video Nasties list, this one is relatively tame. The curious may want to give it a watch, but it’s hardly essential viewing.