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Retro Review: The House by the Cemetery (1981)

Back after a lengthy absence, this Retro Reviewer felt compelled to return after viewing Lucio Fulci's 1981 "haunted house" thriller, The House by the Cemetery.

Drawn to the film because I -- like most horror fans -- love a good haunted house story, this reviewer was shocked and awed to find the flick more of a slasher movie with supernatural undertones than your typical haunting on film.

The plot follows the Boyle family, who move to a mansion near Boston so the father can conduct some research. But the son, Bob, begins interacting with a young girl who helps him -- and the family -- unlock a sinister secret in the basement.

As I alluded to, the audience gets a horror mashup that delivers on all counts. On the slasher front, we get Female Chest Nudity within the first 30 seconds, and oodles of kills; all gory as EFF! The House by the Cemetery has some of the best slasher murders ever put on film, and it doesn't shy away from the red stuff. RESPECT! Also, the killer is pretty bad ass too.

As for the haunted house elements; we find out what is going on at the film's bitter end and, although I saw it coming, I enjoyed how The House by the Cemetery played out. This film is creepy and nasty and made my night.

The film left me with some unanswered questions; like why did everyone in the community think the dad, played by Paolo Malco, had been to town before? And what was up with those knowing looks between him and the babysitter, Ann? But these loose ends didn't hurt my overall enjoyment of the film.

The House by the Cemetery is a Good, and worth seeking out on Shudder if you're in the mood for some gruesome entertainment.


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