The House by the Cemetery (1981)

The House by the Cemetery (1981)

The Dr. Will See You Now

Giovanni Frezza and Silvia Collatina in The House by the Cemetery (1981)

Dr. Norman Boyle (Paolo Malco) has agreed to take over the research of his recently murdered partner which means he, his wife Lucy (Katherine MacColl) and their son Bob (Giovanni Frezza) relocate to an old house in Boston. Whilst Norman sets about work and Lucy sets about the house young Bob makes friends with a young girl called Mae (Silvia Collatina) who no one else can see and who seems to be trying to warn him they shouldn't be there. And it seems she is right as a lot of creeps stuff starts happening and people start dying.

Watching movies out of context can some times be a rewarding experience when you watch something from decades a go which still grabs you from the opening scene till the end credits stop. But it can also be a miserable experience when you watch a movie from say the 80s and it no longer works. This is the case of "The House by the Cemetery", a movie which seems to be popular amongst fans of director Lucio Fulci who watched it back in the 80s but watched now is a laborious horror movie which in many ways is reminiscent of the slow horror movies of the early 70s.

Paolo Malco and Katherine MacColl in The House by the Cemetery (1981)

The trouble with "The House by the Cemetery" is that for the most it is familiar as we have a couple and their child move into an old house which creaks and groans in the night. Of course spooky things start going on and they get more intense as the movie goes on with a lot of the spooky behaviour seeming to focus on the young son Bob and the girl Mae who no one else can see. It is all so cliche and having that 70s horror movie style despite being made in the 80s this side seems drawn out whilst failing to really disguise where it will lead.

That is not the only problem which "The House by the Cemetery" and it is because of its laborious nature the focus turns to the horror which probably did seem extreme for its era. But again watching it now the shock factor no longer exists and whilst there are some nice touches including a gravestone in the floor of the house much of the horror, the violence and lashings of blood ends up underwhelming. Watching this makes me wonder how far director Lucio Fulci would have pushed the barrier if he was still alive and making movies now when the barrier has long been pushed past what was shown in this movie.

What this all boils down to is that "The House by the Cemetery" didn't do it for me and lacked the pacing and shocks to be effective for a new audience who stumble across it now. Yet in a strange way I can see how it would have appealed to audiences back in the early 80s with that slow 70s pacing which eventually launches into some now comical horror scenes including one hysterical one involving a bat in the basement.

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