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La Casa 3 – Ghosthouse (1987)

La Casa 3, Ghosthouse

As all horror fans know: Beware of the clown.

Directed by:

Umberto Lenzi (as Humphrey Humbert)

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 90 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: Italy, United States

Greg Scott plays Paul, a ham radio operator who receives a peculiar message through his radio: there are pleas for help, screams and peculiar background music. Paul finds the message startling, but is even more concerned when the message repeats at the same time the following night. Using his computer, he works out where the source of the message is and takes his girlfriend Martha (Lara Wendel) to find it. On arrival, they discover that the messages are coming from an old and creepy isolated abandoned house.

At the house, Paul and Martha meet a group of four students, who have parked their camper at the house and have been looking around inside. One of the students is indeed a ham operator and one of the voices in the radio message sounded like him, but no-one in the house actually sent the message – the students haven't even put their aerial up yet. Paul and Martha stay at the house with the students, and it is not long before strange things start to happen. It seems the house has a history involving gruesome murders, an apparently possessed child, and a demonic clown doll – and the killing is about to start again.

“Ghosthouse” is an Italian-made, shot in the US, classic low-budget B-movie that shouldn't work. Most of the effects are abysmal, the cast is dire, and the plot is full of holes. Everything looks cheap, from the fake stuffed bat hanging from the house to the bomb-shelter crypt of the little girl. And the haunting “nursery-rhyme” music is just plain irritating. However, although the film is every bit as bad as it sounds, it makes for surprisingly good entertainment – some of the scares really are scary, the failings of the film are funny rather than disastrous, and that creepy music lingered in my head for hours after the movie ended. Utterly bad but greatly entertaining.

It's Got: The Clown. Music that is unforgettable (no matter how hard you try).

It Needs: Just about everything, although if it had everything it wouldn’t be the same.

DVD Extras Just the basics with this single-disc release. Extras: Picture gallery, Filmographies, Trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10

Alternatives:

Candyman., Child's Play, Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th

Summary

Wonderfully abysmal low-budget B-movie shocker – not to be missed by fans of the genre. May appeal to the wider audience because it provides a howling good laugh. For entertainment value it’s more like 7/10.

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