1988 was a big year for horror. Several powerhouse franchises including Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hellraiser, and Evil Dead received new entries. Now if you’ve never heard of the 1988 follow-up to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2, that’s because there wasn’t one.
That technicality didn’t stop the filmmakers of Ghosthouse from branding the Italian-American flick as La Casa 3 and marketing it as a direct sequel to Evil Dead 2 or La Casa 2 in Italy. I can only assume that moviegoers expecting another installment of Ash slaying deadities were severely disappointed, but Ghosthouse isn’t all bad.
Directed by Umberto Lenzi, known mostly for cannibal and giallo films, Ghosthouse follows a handful of ham radio enthusiasts to a deserted house where they are picked off one at a time by a creepy ghost girl and her even creepier demonic clown doll.
While the film suffers from stilted acting and a wandering plot that never quite hits its stride, it features loads of practical effects and gore that remain visually impressive almost 30 years later. Flying toys, acid pits, exploding jars and a fire-spitting furnace are just a few of the horrors tormenting the expendable cast.
Between kills and hauntings the film slows to a crawl, but the ever-present synth score coupled with a genuinely unsettling lullaby does a fantastic job of creating a general unease even throughout the slowest scenes. Although if you’re feeling particularly impatient the gang over at Rifftrax does a wonderful job speeding things along.
At the end of the day, the film works well for what it is. Embrace the camp, ignore the acting and enjoy Evil Dead 3… I mean Ghosthouse.