The House on Forgettable Row

THE HOUSE WHERE DEATH LIVES

2.5 Stars  1980/15/80m

A.k.a. Delusion

“More people died there than lived there.”

Director: Alan Beattie / Writers: Beattie & Jack Viertel / Cast: Patricia Pearcy, Louis Basill, Joseph Cotton, John Dukakis, Leon Charles, Patrick Pankhurst, Alice Nunn, Abraham Alvarez, David Hayward.

Body Count: 8


Better-than-usual actors elevate this low budget slasher that tries to pass itself off as a classy psycho thriller.

Young nurse Meredith (Pearcy, heroine of nasty killer worm flick Squirm) is hired by disabled millionaire Cotten to help around his large mansion house as he copes with the death of one of his sons and awaits the arrival of his estranged grandson.

There, she is acquainted with the bolshy cook, the mysterious gardener and the alcoholic butler. She also discovers Cotten’s retarded second son is permanently locked in the room next to hers. When he dies after ‘falling’ out his window, it’s not long before suspicion is cast upon the strange grandson Gabriel (who has lived on a remote farm since birth) whom Meredith finds herself attracted to.

The strange accidents continue until a rushed ending that sports an original – though to the experienced viewer, predictable – twist. Although there’s no explicit violence, a couple of disorientating murder scenes spice things up and feminists can rest easy as not ONE of the victims is female.

Director Beattie sensibly avoids the usual slasher clichés in favor of his characterisations but doesn’t go far enough for the film to escape its roots and so it becomes just another hardly-known killer-in-a-big-house opus.

Blurb-of-interest: John Dukakis (nephew of Olympia) was one of the sailboat kids in Jaws 2.

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