Friday, October 01, 2010

31 Days of Halloween - Day 1 - Movie 2

I told myself that this year I was going to watch some of the movies included in the various Mill Creek sets that have come into my possession. I'm already regretting that decision after one movie. You've probably seen these DVD sets; a thick plastic case with really generic horror art on the covers and even more generic title descriptions like "Horror Classics" or "Chilling Classics." In addition to radically misusing the word "classic" these sets contain 50 movies, 48 of which you've probably never heard of, and with good reason. All to be had for about $15.00. For the most part it's the movie watching equivalent to playing Russian roulette, only with 5 bullets and 1 empty chamber instead of the reverse. That one empty chamber is the equivalent of a movie that's watchable on the level of The Brain that Wouldn't Die.

Tonight I selected The Murder Mansion (1972) aka Maniac Mansion, aka La Mansion de la Niebla, aka avoid this movie if you can. This is a Spanish/Italian film which on the Mill Creek DVD is incredibly murky to look at and incredibly hard to hear the mediocre dubbing. The European origin of the movie means that you can expect the flow of the story to diverge wildly from storytelling methods done in America during the same time. The movie introduces the characters by having them speed past each other on the road. Then later, these same characters on another road, all get lost in the fog and wind up taking shelter at the least inviting house imaginable. There's extensive character backstory for one of the refugees for no reason. The handsome man with the motorcycle hooks up with the babe. There's a bunch of talk about how they all feel like the fog has transported them to another world which paired with a spectral undead chauffer and his elderly woman passenger, who may, or may not be the strange attractive woman already occupying the decrepit house, leading you to believe this movie has potential. There are a few nice visuals that reinforce this notion, but the movie is mostly boring and confusing (possibly because of the aforementioned poor quality of the print I was watching, or possibly because I fell asleep for about fifteen minutes in the middle, though it seems like I only missed people being assigned their rooms for the night in the spooky old house). In the end, some Scooby-Doo explanation is given for the mysterious goings on that comes out of nowhere, and really explains nothing.

The best part of this movie was the bowl of popcorn that I made to go with it.

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