Alien Zone aka House of the Dead – USA, 1978 – reviews

‘Eventually we must all pass through the…’

Alien Zone is a 1978 American horror and suspense anthology feature film directed by Sharron Miller from a screenplay by David O’Malley (Dark Honeymoon; Fatal Instinct; The Boogens). The movie stars John Ericson, Ivor Francis, Judith Novgrod.

It was reissued in 1980 as The House of the Dead and also released on VHS as Zone of the Dead and Last Stop on 13th St.

Plot:

Mr Talmudge (John Ericson) is an adulterer who after sleeping with his mistress takes a taxi. He is dropped off on the wrong street when going back to his hotel. He takes refuge out of the rain when an old man invites him in. The latter turns out to be a mortician, who tells him the stories of the people who have wound up in his establishment over the course of four stories…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Even with its half-baked stories, wooden performances, and out-of-place muzak score, The House of the Dead benefits from the charms of a horror anthology. If you don’t like one of the segments, the next one is never far behind. It ends on a fairly strong note, with the final segment being the most reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, and a satisfactory conclusion to the wraparound.” Broke Horror Fan

” …it’s a low-budget regional stab at an Amicus-style horror anthology. Unfortunately, it pales badly next to its model; it’s chock full of bad acting, poor writing, and misconceived stories […] The best performance comes from the man playing the mortician in the linking segments, and even he is saddled with a tiresome speech in which he explains how every character in each of the stories he’s told…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“None of these segments are extraordinary, but watching all of them in succession accompanied by a wraparound story makes it feel like an event. It doesn’t have the intense weirdness factor of something like Night Train to Terror or the genuine horror chops of Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt, but it’s still a lot of fun.” The Video Basement

“The segments are all fairly mediocre (and a bit boring) with a couple more memorable than the others, the masked children will haunt my dreams and the segment with the rival criminologists from each side of the pond was entertaining (if predictable) enough.” Hollie Horror, Letterboxd

” …a diverting novelty.” John Stanley, Creature Features

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

Main cast:

  • John Ericson … Talmudge
  • Ivor Francis … The Mortician
  • Judith Novgrod … Miss Sibiler
  • Burr DeBenning … Growski
  • Charles Aidman … Detective Malcolm Toliver
  • Bernard Fox … Inspector Wendell McDowall
  • Richard Gates … Cantwell
  • Elizabeth MacRae … Mrs Lumquist
  • Kathie Gibboney … Julie
  • Leslie Paxton … Marie
  • John King III … Marie’s Husband

Filming locations:

Ponca City, Stillwater and Yale, Oklahoma

Trivia:

The shooting title was Five Faces of Terror

Leave your comment here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.