Mill Creek Entertainment // 1962 // 1029 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // October 19th, 2009
A terrifying force that cannot be resisted is here...
With the release of Robert Rodriguez's and Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse in 2007, there came a flurry of releases on DVD cashing in on the resurrected interest in grindhouse films. Two years later, and they've apparently done the impossible: released all grindhouse movies onto DVD. Undeterred, Mill Creek sat down, thought for a moment, and came up with the term "gorehouse." They then gathered together twelve movies they couldn't sell under any other banner and threw it out on the market.
Now, cobbling together a set of bad movies is harder than someone might assume, but there's one rule for any aspiring film distributor to keep in mind: the movies should be entertaining. Whether they're genuinely scary or so bad they're funny, the bad horror film should entertain. The Gorehouse Greats Collection manages to break that rule twelve times. In alphabetical order, you'll get: Blood of Dracula's Castle, Blood Mania, Brain Twisters, The Devil's Hand, Madmen of Mandoras, Nightmare in Wax, Prime Evil, Satan's Slave, Stanley, Terrified!, Terror, and Trip with the Teacher.
Whether it's with the mind-numbingly dull Terrified!, the reprehensibly violent to animals, yet still boring Stanley, or the half-hearted exploitation of Trip with Teacher, there's nothing truly worth watching here. No one is going to get scared and if you crack this out at your buddy's house for a night of drunken riffing, someone is going to hurt you.
There are only one or two bright moments in the whole set, scattered like rhinestones in a trough of pig shit. At best, you'll be bored; at worst, you'll be vaguely offended. Anyone who likes animals should stay away from Stanley, a movie that features a snake massacre, which is a kind of irony considering how preachy the movie is about how people shouldn't hurt animals. Trip with the Teacher tries to be like, say, I Spit on Your Grave, by being shocking and violent and so on. However, it doesn't have the guts to be shocking or violent. Rather than being offended at what you see on screen, you'll just have to be offended at what they were going for. The fact that they were trying to be sick is, in itself, pretty offensive. I guess.
Time and again, I was continuously reminded of other, better movies. Nightmare in Wax is about a crazed wax museum caretaker who was running around killing people. I could have copied that synopsis from House of Wax. Brain Twisters seemed to be taking a lot from Strange Behavior, which isn't even a good horror movie to copy. At best, you'll get warm feelings of nostalgia as Gorehouse Greats reminds you of another, slightly better movie.
The best movie in the whole thing is Prime Evil, which is so cheerfully stupid and so wonderfully '80s that it passes my entertainment rule. Other movies, like Blood Mania, forgot they were complete crap, and struggled to be arty.
There are no extras, which is a shame, because I would have liked both an explanation and an apology for several of the movies. Who thought it was a good idea to write a bunch of characters who were unlikeable and annoying for Terror and kill off the most likeable characters first? Who changed the title of They Saved Hitler's Brain to Madmen of Mandoras? That was the best part of the film!
The transfers are universally subpar, with a notable exception being Blood of Dracula's Castle, which, for the first 10 minutes or so, was almost unwatchably bad. Some of the movies are widescreen (anamorphically so) and some are full screen, and all look pretty blah.
Pick and choose the ones you're curious about from Netflix, Prime Evil might go down well with a little heavy drinking, and just stay away from the others. Even at eight dollars, these movies aren't worth it.
Guilty of making Judge Charles long for Strange Behaviors, a movie he hates.
Review content copyright © 2009 Dylan Charles; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 1029 Minutes
Release Year: 1962
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* IMDb: Blood of Dracula's Castle
* IMDb: Blood Mania
* IMDb: Brain Twisters
* IMDb: The Devil's Hand
* IMDb: Madmen of Mandoras
* IMDb: Nightmare in Wax
* IMDb: Prime Evil
* IMDb: Satan's Slave
* IMDb: Stanley
* IMDb: Trip with the Teacher
* IMDb: Terrified!
* IMDb: Terror