Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Satanic Babysitters in the 80’s, or Thoughts on The House of the Devil

Jocelin Donahue, who would go onto appear in Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) and Furious 7 (2015) srars as Samantha, an 80’s coed who takes a babysitting job at a remote mansion that is actually The House of the Devil (2009, see what I did there).  From writer and director Ti West of The Innkeepers (2011) and filmed in thrifty 16mm to enhance that late 70’s, early 80’s vibe, the movie has an old school John Carpenter feel, along with feathered hair and land lines.
A proponent of the less is more school of filmmaking, Ti West’s movie is a slow burn, where patience is rewarded as tension is built brick by brick with a minimum of jump scares that become more effective because the film lulls you into a sense of complacency.  A standard babysitter in peril movie on the night of a lunar eclipse, the house becomes a character as Samantha explores the ominous hallways, creepy stairways, and bathtubs full of human hair.  It’s all fun and games until she finally wakes up tied to the floor in the center of a pentagram.
Equal parts Rosemary’s Baby (1968) by way of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) with a dash of Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971), The House of The Devil also features Tom Noonan from Wolfen (1981) but most remembered as the first Francis Dolarhyde from Michael Mann’s Manhunter (1986) as Mr. Ullman and Mary Woronov from The Devil’s Rejects (2005) as Mrs. Ullman.
Look out for Dee Wallace from The Howling (1981) in a quick cameo as Samantha’s landlady, and enjoy the nostalgic soundtrack by Thomas Dolby and The Fixxx.  Also take note of Night of The Living Dead (1968) playing on the black and white TV, a nice touch.

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).