The House on Tombstone Hill aka Dead Dudes in the House – USA, 1988 – reviews


‘Where trespassing is a matter of life or death’

The House on Tombstone Hill is a 1988 American horror feature film about a group of teenagers who are killed by an old woman and then return from the dead.

Written and directed by James Riffel as J. Riffel, the movie stars Mark Zobian, Victor Verhaeghe, Sarah Newhouse and Douglas Gibson.

Having been shot in 1988 as The Dead Come Home, the movie was eventually released on VHS in 1991 by Troma Entertainment as Dead Dudes in the House with a very misleading cover that depicted several actors who do not appear in the film. Unfortunately, this imagery put many people off watching the movie for many years.

Ed French, Bruce Spaulding Fuller and Erik Schaper provided the special makeup effects.


A group of teenage friends have decided to repair and renovate an old house located in the middle of nowhere in the hope of turning it into their ‘cool’ crash pad. But shortly after arriving, a strange and seemingly senile old woman is found to be lurking around the premises.

Uncertain of her intentions, the group of trendy homesteaders go about their business but soon find themselves up against a very unexpected geriatric evil, hell-bent on keeping them as permanent residents in ‘her’ house, dispatching them in a series of creatively gruesome ways.

To make matters even worse, shortly after meeting their demise, their mutilated corpses return from the dead, determined to help their elderly assassin and her fiendish daughter finish off the others…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Content-wise, this film has all the elements that have since become synonymous with Slasher films. The special effects are well-executed and the kill scenes sufficiently gory. And the narrative does a great job maintaining the mounting tension. Another strength of this film is the enthusiastic performances from the cast.” 10K Bullets

“The kills themselves are entertaining, with some employing construction tools to keep up with the theme of remodeling […] There’s a lot of blood in The House on Tombstone Hill, keeping up with horror requirements, and Abigail is an enjoyably unusual enemy, with Gibson playing up the monster’s sadistic tendencies, giving the feature some scary movie voltage.”

“Like the run-down dwelling depicted in the film, The House on Tombstone Hill has a variety of faults: undeveloped characters, bad acting, poor pacing, to name a few. Yet its willingness to lean into the ‘80s schlock and cliches with a touch of humor make it an entertaining B-movie.” Broke Horror Fan

“The mix of ghosts, zombies, and very gory deaths is a good concept but the characters, acting, direction and thrills just sit there and do nothing. The gore includes a window that chops a body in half, decapitation and dismemberment, and much more.” The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre


In September 2018, Vinegar Syndrome released the movie in the USA as a Blu-ray + DVD combo. Special features:

  • Region free Blu-ray/DVD combo
  • Newly scanned & restored in 2K from its 16mm original camera negative
  • “Three Dead Dudes” – featurette with actors: Mark Zobian, Victor Verhaeghe and Douglas Gibson
  • Audio interview with director James Riffel, moderated by Chris Poggiali
  • Extensive behind-the-scenes still gallery
  • Reversible cover artwork
  • English SDH subtitles

Cast and characters:

  • Mark Zobian … Ron
  • Victor Verhaeghe … Bob
  • Sarah Newhouse … Jamie
  • Douglas Gibson … Mark / Old Lady (as Douglas F. Gibson)
  • J.D. Cerna … Steve (as John Dayton Cerna)
  • Naomi Kooker … Linda
  • Eugene Sautner … Joey
  • Rob Moretti … S
  • James Griffith … Ricky
  • Leighann Belair … 1940s Girl
  • Albert Jaccoma … 1940s Dead Man (as Albert J. Wingate)
  • Darrell Gibson … Old Lady Double
  • Bruce Spaulding Fuller … Bob’s Legs on Ground
  • Pam Lewis … Old Lady (voice)

Technical details:

94 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

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