‘Buy this house… and mortgage your life!’
The Nesting – aka Phobia and Massacre Mansion – is a 1981 American horror feature film directed and co-written by Armand Weston. The movie stars Robin Groves, Christopher Loomis, Michael David Lally, Gloria Grahame. Genre veteran John Carradine has a cameo role.
Director Armand Weston had previously directed so-called roughie films such as The Defiance of Good, The Taking of Christina and Take Off (a take on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray).
Writer Lauren Cochran (Robin Groves) suffers from agoraphobia and, in a bid to overcome her ailment, she rents a stately mansion in the country from Colonel Lebrun (John Carradine). It transpires that the old place used to be a brothel where some prostitutes were murdered after World War II and Cochran has a mysterious connection to the place.
The Nesting is one of those odd films that, whilst not particularly good in a conventional sense, tends to stay in the mind. It does, of course, boast great original artwork (by director Weston himself) that graced the UK pre-cert Vipco release and probably suckered in this particular viewer as an eleven-year-old keen to watch every horror release going.
It also has a sleazy, atmospheric charm, especially during the opening brothel-based scenes and a great scythe to face moment which had this young viewer bemused as to how it had escaped a place on the Director of Public Prosecution’s banned list. Of course, watching it now it all seems pretty tame…
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA
“Weston makes the most of the eerie locales and builds atmosphere in a palpable manner. There are some tremendous set-pieces – notably an attempt to rescue Groves from a treacherous looking roof – and a slow burn approach which is unusual in the splatter-oriented horror films of the period.” Troy Howarth, DVD Maniacs
Cast and characters:
- Robin Groves as Lauren Cochran
- Christopher Loomis as Mark Felton
- Michael Lally as Daniel Griffith
- John Carradine as Col. Lebrun
- Gloria Grahame as Florinda Costello
- Bill Rowley as Frank Beasley
- David Tabor as Abner Welles
- Patrick Farrelly as Doctor Webb
- Bobo Lewis as Catherine Beasley
- June Berry as Sapphire
- Ann Varley as Gwen
- Cecile Liebman as Helga
- Ron Levine as Leland Lebrun
Armour–Stiner House, 45 West Clinton Avenue, Irvington, Westchester County, New York
The Nesting received a limited theatrical release in the United States by William Mishkin Motion Pictures beginning in May 1981. It was later released on VHS by Warner Home Video and then on DVD and Blu-ray by Blue Underground in June 2011.
MOVIES and MANIA rating: