It's better than its reputation
Movie Lover: call me Z
somewhere out there
-- May, 12, 2006
This cheapo drive-in ghost-house flick isn't very highly regarded, but I like it; it's not very well made and is occasionally laughable, but it has some pretty spooky stuff, too. The story is Haunted House Movie Plot #1 - somebody makes a bet that they can stay overnight in a notoriously haunted house. A group goes into spooky ol' Hanley House to spend the night and soon doors are closing by themselves, doors are knocked on but no one's there, and there are all kinds of spooky noises. One of them is a medium and they have a seance, where they learn that only evil spirits come to Hanley House. So, they all try to leave, but none of their cars will start and when they try to walk out all the paths lead right back to the house. The spookiness intensifies and the ghost tells them where some bodies (and their separately-buried severed heads) are hidden: they want to be buried so they can rest in peace, instead of pieces. Despite some awkward filmmaking choices (close-ups held too long, goofy acting) and general artlessness, there are some creepy scenes and the movie has an obscure weird charm to it. One problem, however, is that somebody (assuming Alpha, since they released the DVD as a "special edition") has messed around with the movie a little, tinting it all blue and adding a few cheap red digital effects between scenes, as well as (I think) adding some sound effects. Altering movies is never a wise idea, but at least it's not intrusive enough to ruin anything, and I'm glad this one's available in any form.
"The Haunting" meets "Last Year at Marienbad"
Movie Lover: Dennis Lewis
-- March, 18, 2005
If Alain Resnais had directed "The Legend of Hell House," the result might come close to "Ghosts of Hanley House": frequent use of portrait-style close-ups of the principals; a lengthy scene of keys being turned in ignitions to prove that, yes indeed, the car batteries are dead; the inexplicable inclusion of stock footage of a cougar (the animal, not the automobile). The movie does take a fresh approach on how to conduct a seance and offers a unique tip on the proper way to address a ghost. Baby boomer who enjoyed watching "Shock Theater" on Saturday nights will appreciate this.