‘Buy this house… and mortgage your life!’
The Nesting is a 1981 American horror film about an agoraphobic writer who rents an isolated house so she can concentrate on her writing. Also released as Phobia and Massacre Mansion
Directed and produced by Armand Weston from a screenplay co-written with Daria Price (Dawn of the Mummy storyline). Weston previously directed ‘roughie’ films such as The Defiance of Good, The Taking of Christina and Take Off (loosely based on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray). His last directorial credit was another sleazy movie, Blue Voodoo in 1984.
The Nesting Company production stars Robin Groves (Sliver; Silver Bullet), Christopher Loomis, Michael David Lally and former ’50s star Gloria Grahame (Mansion of the Doomed; Black Noon; The Todd Killings; Blood and Lace). Genre veteran John Carradine has a cameo role.
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 place of ill-repute where some ladies of the night 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 Armand 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.
The movie has a sleazy, atmospheric charm, especially during the opening brothel-based scenes and a great scythe-to-the-face moment which had this young viewer bemused as to how it had escaped a place on the British Director of Public Prosecution’s banned list. Of course, watching it now it all seems pretty tame…
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA
“This movie reminds me of Superstition and I mean that in the best of ways. When the supernatural decides to kill someone in both of these movies, it does not mess around. It dispatches people in the most extreme ways, such as ghostly hands pulling someone into a lake or a scythe right to the brain. Even better, there are numerous dream sequences and reveals of the past…” B&S About Movies
“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.” DVD Maniacs
“The Nesting sort of drags in general; it’s certainly too long at 103 minutes and is wildly uneven. When it wants to be a straight-up haunted house horror show, it works well; the score is definitely a high point when the film is in this mode, as the frenzied music shrieks to create tension and mood. I suppose the main problem is that it just doesn’t want to be that type of film enough.” Oh, the Horror!
” …occasionally amusing, but you’ve got to put up with a lot of dull, predictable crap in between the good stuff. It’s also undone by a lousy ending. Groves’ wisecracking boyfriend grates on the nerves too. John Carradine is around long enough to say a couple of lines before having a stroke and disappearing for a good chunk of the movie.” The Video Vacuum
Cast and characters:
Robin Groves … Lauren Cochran
Christopher Loomis … Mark Felton
Michael David Lally … Daniel Griffith
John Carradine … Colonel LeBrun
Bill Rowley … Frank Beasley
David Tabor … Abner Welles
Patrick Farrelly … Doctor Webb
Bobo Lewis … Catherine Beasley
June Berry … Saphire
Ann Varley … Gwen
Cecile Liebman … Helga
Ron Levine … Leland LeBrun
Bruce Kronenberg … Young Abner
Jim Nixon … Young Frank
James Saxon … Earl
Jeffrey B. McLaughlin … Butler
James Hayden … GI #1
Jery Hewitt … GI #2
Cliff Cudney … Sheriff
Lee Steele … Doctor
Gloria Grahame … Florinda Costello
Armour–Stiner House, 45 West Clinton Avenue, Irvington, Westchester County, New York. This is a unique octagon-shaped and domed Victorian-style residential house.
1 hour 43 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
The Nesting received a limited theatrical release in the United States by William Mishkin Motion Pictures (the company that released most of Andy Milligan’s movies) in May 1981 as Massacre Mansion. It was later released on VHS by Warner Home Video and then on DVD and Blu-ray by Blue Underground in June 2011.
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