THE HOUSE OF LOST SOULS (1989) Reviews and overview

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The House of Lost Souls is a 1989 Italian horror film written and directed by Umberto Lenzi (Nightmare City; Cannibal Ferox; Seven Blood-Stained Orchids; et al). The Dania production stars Joseph Alan Johnson, Stefania Orsola Garello and Matteo Gazzolo.

The film is one of a four-part series made for Italian television under the umbrella title ‘Houses of Doom’. Genre directors Umberto Lenzi and Lucio Fulci each contributed two films for the series: Lenzi made The House of Lost Souls and House of Witchcraft, while Fulci offered House of Clocks and The Sweet House of Horrors. However, the movies were deemed too violent for TV and so were sold around the world for VHS release.

A group of young geologists who spend the night in an abandoned hotel haunted by the previous landlord’s murders of his family and all the hotel’s guests.

The bloody past come back to life with eerie occurrences like ghostly cries of pain, the appearance of corpses and tarantulas, and blood dripping from the ceiling.

Soon, the murders begin anew as the geologists are killed in bizarre and horrific ways, including one unlucky teenager who loses his head in a washing machine…


“The budget is obviously tiny, evidenced by the minimal locations, but this works in the films favour as the longer we spend in the motel with our doomed protagonists the more Lenzi allows the atmosphere and the environment to close in. The pace is respectably swift, and once the first head rolls the film never really lets up until the fiery finale.” Cosi Perversa

” …The House of Lost Souls is a pretty unoriginal affair – marred by an uninspired script and characters who behave annoyingly stupid. It does have its cheesy charms, however, and the creepy ghosts, stylish visions and inventive decapitations keep it interesting. If you liked Ghosthouse and the rest of Lenzi’s late 80s efforts you’ll probably enjoy this one too.” Johan Melle, Euro Fever

“The gore is kept to a minimum, most of it being gleaned from a series of decapitations, but it’s just about enough to satisfy the more bloodthirsty folks in the audience. Some of the ghostly apparitions are quite creepy, notably the wide-eyed Buddhist monk, but added to the other factors, what could have been memorable is actually cheesy and unintentionally hilarious.” Sarah Law, Gorepress

“The gore scenes are obviously toned down a bit and a promising scene with a chainsaw cuts away at precisely the wrong moment but we do get a bunch of nice decapitations. Add to this a halfway decent score by Claudio Simonetti [editor: recycled from Demons] using a pseudonym and we get a cozy little Italian exploitation movie.” Joachim Andersson, Rubber Monster Fetishism

Choice dialogue:

“How much longer is this torture going to go on, anyway?”

“We’ll have a big party. Spaghetti and chianti!”

Main cast:

  • Joseph Alan Johnson – Iced; The Ghosts of Sodom; Berserker; The Slumber Party Massacre
  • Stefania Orsola Garello
  • Matteo Gazzolo – Body Puzzle; Specters
  • Laurentina Guidotti
  • Gianluigi Fogacci
  • Hal Yamanouchi – Phantom of DeathEmanuelle and the Last Cannibals 
  • Licia Colò
  • Costantino Meloni
  • Charles Borromel – Absurd
  • Dino Jaksic
  • Marina Reiner
  • Beni Cardoso
  • Fortunato Arena
  • Massimo Sarchielli – Mother of Tears; Castle Freak; The House of Clocks
  • Fabio Branchini

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