@Lcfremont visits The House with 100 Eyes...
The Poughkeepsie Tapes was kind of the next Hostel in the sense that word of mouth would have you believe it was the movie that was so fucked up that you would never be the same after seeing it. I can only speak for myself, but The Poughkeepsie Tapes proved to only be excruciating in the fact that I had to keep watching it. Enter The House With 100 Eyes. It’s hard not to compare the two films because they both operate on the idea that a bunch of videotapes randomly ended up in the hands of someone who decided to piece all of this nonsense together and make a full film out of it.
Coming together as the journey that a husband and wife team make in an effort to do something extraordinary, a snuff film with three kills, this is a movie with tons of potential. That’s right kids, you will see three kills in one night and it will all be 100% authentic. With a very subtle touch of comedy, we watch our protagonists go on the prowl for victims and see them banter with one another. After finally securing “two girls and a stud” for their groundbreaking movie, the couple successfully ply the young kids with alcohol and drugs under the guise of simply doing a porn film for $500 a piece. The token “fat” girl has the unfortunate gift of knowing that something isn’t right and tries to leave the situation. She is then taken to a room where she will be tortured and maliciously fat shamed. This girl is referred to as “piggie" and “fattie" and forced to eat her own fat. All at the hands of a man who will not be winning a Mr. Fitness contest any time soon. This was exceptionally grating because it’s just so exasperating to see the regular, soft, balding American guy demand that women live up to specific standards despite the fact that they can’t be bothered to do the same.
The interesting thing about this movie is that they do force you to spend time with the characters in an effort to make you sympathetic to the victims and, perhaps, to the killers as well. The woman, Susan, is very sweet and proper and it’s easy to believe that you would be confused by her referring to you as sweetie as she restrains you to a chair so her husband can torture you. Unfortunately, like all female serial killers, she seems to have some sort of nursing background and a proclivity towards killing people with poison. Boring. Shannon Malone really did a fantastic job of bringing a human element to her character and I actually felt a teeny bit bad for her when she learned something ugly about her husband. Also, I have no doubt that her bundt cakes are delicious.
The husband in question, Ed, is a lot like a greasy car salesman or a guy you see on late night informercials. He’s just this side of charming, but there is something a little bit off. He explains that in seventh grade he began capturing and torturing cats for fun. Now, his house is a giant cage where all of the rooms are sound proof and escape proof. Just in case you didn’t quite understand that he’s a psychopath, you are treated to a scene of him masturbating to his own snuff film. Granted, there is absolutely no gratuitous nudity in this film, but everything else that is gratuitous becomes overwhelming and not in a good way. At this point I would like to point out that Ed is played by Jim Roof who is also one of the writers and the director of the movie. The makeup and special effects are definitely something to write home about, but the smarmy overacting overshadows it at times.
Although not an entirely new and clever concept, it is, mostly, well done with some truly wonderful practical effects. Despite putting in the effort to make the viewer care about the characters, none of them are very likable and this does not lend itself to a satisfying denouement. All of this being said, however, Roof has done something very interesting on varying levels and it will be fun to see what else he brings to the horror genre.
Available on June 16 2015.
Images provided by Artspolitation films & IMDb.