THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES (1973) Reviews and overview

 

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‘Eight graves! Seven bodies! One killer… and he’s already dead!’

The House of Seven Corpses is a 1973 – released February 1974 – American supernatural horror film written, produced and directed by Paul Harrison (a writer on children’s TV show H.R. Pufnstuf).

Main cast:

John Ireland (Incubus; Satan’s Cheerleaders; Welcome to Arrow Beach), Faith Domergue (So Evil, My Sister; Cult of the CobraThis Island Earth), John Carradine (The Nesting; Las Vampiras; House of Frankenstein), Carole Wells (Molly and the Ghost), Charles Macaulay (Blacula; Tower of London), Jerry Strickler, Ron Foreman, Dennis Record, Marty Hornstein, Charles Bail, Lucy Doheny, Jo Anne Mower, cinematographer Ronald Víctor García, Jeff Alexander, Wells Bond [as The Ghoul].

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Plot:

A director is filming on location in a house where seven murders were committed.

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The caretaker warns them not to mess with things they do not understand (the murders were occult related), but the director wants to be as authentic as possible and has his cast re-enact rituals that took place in the house thus summoning a ghoul from the nearby cemetery to bump the whole film crew off one by one…

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Previously released via badly cropped, censored and muddy transfers, the film was finally be available in HD by Severin Films on 11th June 2013, transferred from original vault materials and featuring an exclusive archive interview with horror icon John Carradine (a DVD/Blu-Ray first) and an audio commentary with co-producer Gary Kent and film historian Lars Nilsen.

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Reviews:

“Although slow at times, the adequate number of “film-within-a-film” proceedings keep things interesting as the actors sport fancy dress and do a lot of bloody stabbing in front of the camera. There is an overall uneasy, eerie feeling, and the film commences with the appearance of a gruesome rotting ghoul (conjured up by Domergue during a shoot) that creeps out of the cemetery grounds for revenge.” George R. Reis, DVD Drive-In

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“The movie is slow moving and doesn’t really pick up to the latter half. The dialogue is pretty good and the characters are amusing. There is an eerie atmosphere, downright creepy scenes and excellent death sequences. It’s a film which at times captivates the attention and keeps one interested enough not to shut off the movie.” Scared Stiff Reviews

“Occasionally intriguing but ultimately shoddy schlock-horror. The film generates a modicum of atmosphere in the middle, in its resolutely low-tech fashion, but it suffers from a fatal lack of internal sense, both in its story and its opportunistic scene constructions. One shot of a zombie crossing a clearing is repeated three times. Ed Wood would have laughed at that one.” This Island Rod

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“After the opening credits this film is sorely lacking in murders until after the first hour. The one exception to this is Cleon, whose bissected body is found during an exterior scene filming. It seems slapping the poor cat wasn’t enough.” Cinema Cats

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“Though there’s an abundance of potential victims in the movie, they don’t start dying until an hour and ten minutes – at which point they all go down in a single sweep.” Peter Dendle, The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia

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“While there are things to enjoy about The House of Seven Corpses, it is completely forgettable, mostly because it’s patently unscary.” Daryl Loomis, DVD Verdict

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“As they’re picked off one by one, the production is put on hold which is a shame since the director of the film-within-the-film gets some great lines as he shouts at his truly rubbish cast: “You’re supposed to be going into a trance, not having an orgasm!” Jamie Russell, Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema

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“The problem is that none of the characters are interesting, and most are downright annoying. The dialogue is contrived. John Carradine’s role is too small and Faith Domergue’s too big. John Ireland (I Saw What You Did) tries his best, but he has the worst lines. The whole thing should have been more campy, but director Harrison played it straight.”David Elroy Goldweber, Claws & Saucers

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“Low budgeter with a decent cast forced into a wasteland of shoddy material.” John Stanley, Creature Features

Cast and characters:

  • John Ireland as Eric Hartman
  • Faith Domergue as Gayle Dorian
  • John Carradine as Edgar Price
  • Carole Wells as Anne
  • Charles Macaulay as Christopher Millan
  • Jerry Strickler as David
  • Ron Foreman as Ron
  • Dennis Record as Tommy [credited as Larry Record]
  • Charles Bail as Jonathon Anthony Beal/Theodore Beal
  • Lucy Doheny as Suzanne Beal
  • Jo Anne Mower as Allison Beal
  • Ron Garcia as Charles Beal
  • Jeff Alexander as Russell Beal
  • Wells Bond as The Ghoul

Filming locations:

Utah Governor’s Mansion in Salt Lake City

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WikipediaIMDb | AFI

Posted by Will Holland