Delve Deeper

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review - The Shunned House (2003) (R) - Christian Matzke

The Shunned House is an anthology film set in the same house during the 1930's, 40's and the present. The film combines three Lovecraft stories: The Shunned House, the Music of Erich Zann, and Dreams in the Witch House. The film is directed by Ivan Zuccon, the director of The Unknown Beyond and the Darkness Beyond. Zuccon has the best of both worlds, setting his story in the present but flashing back and forth between a number of periods in this house's past. A restrained use of CGI allows for some wonderful transitions between these time periods as well.

This film does a pretty great job of combining the three stories. I'm especially happy with it's handling of Dreams in the Witch House. The concept of interdimensional travel from that story really becomes the keystone for the whole film. The house is a major character (ala The Shinning, or HPL's The Street), and my god, what an incredible location. This rivals the old house in The Shuttered Room for potential, but here that potential is fully realised.

The acting is pretty good all around. While Lucio Fulci's influence is clear, I would say there's some David Lynch in there too, along with Mario Bava and Michele Soavi. There's some brief nudity and some extensive blood letting, but nothing too gratuitous (well, okay maybe a little but it's fun!).
I am very excited that this film will soon be available in the U.S. and I highly recommend it to folks looking for a good Italian horror styled Lovecraft adaptation.

review © Christian Matzke 2003

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