Four teens venture up to Old Lady Death’s house to find the remains of her dead decomposing body they believe to be lying in the house. What they end up finding is far worse then what they could’ve imagined
This has been described as ‘a Halloween short of badass proportions’ by the star Damian Maffei, but I wish I could share his sentiments. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good moments present (I really liked the music, and felt that it was nice and varied), however, there was a lot that needs improvement (even some really basic elements which quite frankly made me sigh and shake my head). The first and foremost point to make would be that there was pretty much zero originality, and I always feel a bit resentful watching a film which I could have sworn that I’ve seen a million times before – a group of young people go into an old house for a laugh and end up being tormented by random horrific events. It’s simple, it’s basic, surely you can’t go wrong with that!
The amount of clichés used quickly start to build up as the minutes tick by. There’s the classic shower curtain scene. Check. Creepy dolls. Check. Old (seemingly) abandoned house. Check. Maggots. Check. And of course, our old favourite, the characters making the decision to split up as that’s obviously the best course of action when looking around a ‘haunted’ house. It’s a rookie mistake if ever there was one! And if that wasn’t bad enough, The House That Cried Blood also commits yet another cardinal sin of horror movies – it features the ‘final girl’ running up the stairs to escape. Duh! I know this is somewhat of an internal joke amongst horror film fans (plus it made for a great ass-shot as the girl was wearing a short skirt), but come on!
As far as comparing The House That Cried Blood to other horror movies, there are several that jump out at me. Obviously, the fact that it’s set on Halloween makes a certain classic seventies slasher spring to mind from the get go. Although, this short film has a more supernatural element to it than Halloween does, and the way the strange dead beings wander about, scuttling through the shadows remind me of the Japanese horror, The Grudge. This is especially true when we see mysteriously pale arms and faceless girls lingering in the dark corners. There’s a rather blatant Nosferatu shadow reference which was a delight to see, and also the horribly contorted ‘old lady death’ at the end looked like something out of an exorcism movie (most recently The Devil Inside).
It was a nice mixture of things, and I do like the fact that it didn’t tie itself down to rigid boundaries regarding the ‘evil beings’.
The writer and director Frank Sabatella claimed that, ‘my goal with The House that Cried Blood was to create an eerie atmosphere through use of location, old fashioned scare tactics, and frightening imagery’. He wanted a ‘70s styled, slow build approach to a creepy, nightmarish finale’. I suppose I do think that he achieved his aim, although perhaps there was a little too much talking (aka build up) and not enough action. The scary story at the beginning of the film was pretty long, considering the length of the entire thing. We have a fair wait before any of the eye-gouging begins, and even that feels like too little, too late. This film made me ask many questions whilst watching, such as why does this young woman allow a little girl to stab her to death? Why does this young woman stand there, uselessly screaming for what seems like an eternity? Call me old fashioned, but I like characters to behave in at least a vaguely realistic way. It is for this reason that I say don’t go out of your way to watch The House That Cried Blood.