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Case Number 09106

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Horror House On Highway 5

Timeless Media Group // 1985 // 173 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 21st, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson says this isn't to be confused with the "Horror House" on Highway 6. They turned that into a bed and breakfast, what, about seven years ago?

The Charge

"I can't see a @#$%-ing thing!"
—Judge David Johnson

Opening Statement

This obscure horror movie tells the story of some people I don't care about getting killed by some dude in a Richard Nixon mask.

Facts of the Case

This is about what I was able to cobble together plot-wise: a group of college students who like they're in their mid-40s haul off to the desert to test-fire a rocket for science class. Little do they know, there's been string of bizarre murders, perpetrated by a lunatic in a Nixon mask. Who is thus masked crazy? Why is he killing people? Why is it so hard to see?!

The rest of the film proceeds like your garden-variety low-budget slasher. One by one the college kids meet their demise by some kind of stabbing or puncturing—highlighted by one man's intimacy with a rake—until there is just a final, panicked girl left (played by Irene F.—yeah, I'd also want to remain anonymous if I were in this movie).

Then, in scenes very reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre she tries to escape the titular "Horror House" while the maniac desperately tries to catch her. It all culminates in a long, drawn-out weirdo conclusion. Whatever, this movie blows. Oh, wait, I need to save that for The Evidence.

The Evidence

This movie blows.

Actually, to be more specific, this DVD blows. This disc has one of the worst transfers for a film I have ever seen. Apparently, the original VHS version was just shifted onto DVD, with no remastering whatsoever. Worse, said VHS version was broke-ass to begin with, and the result is a movie that is nearly impossible to watch. The video quality is that bad.

Usually I save the technical wrap-up for the end of the review, but this needs to be said sooner rather than later because the godforsaken picture impacts the viewing experience so profoundly. With at least a passable transfer I'd be watching a different film. Though, to be fair, the film itself would be just as crappy, but it wouldn't have strained my eyeballs trying to decipher the on-screen crappiness. And I wouldn't be in such a surly mood.

The flick suffers the most in dark scenes (which are excessive), where, seriously, the action is about 90 percent indecipherable. The lamentable color saturation and the abundance of dirt and grain impede all attempts at visual comprehension. And as an added bonus, frequent video flaws pop up that make it look like your DVD player needs its tracking corrected. Heh, tracking. Remember that?

Alright, enough about the picture quality. Thankfully (if that's the word) the movie itself is so dumb the piss-poor technical treatment doesn't end up seeming that criminal. There's nothing new or interesting going on here. The pacing is so tedious that the trek to get to this old, uninteresting nothing is far too grueling. The gore quotient is surprisingly high however, with some inventive effects work: standouts include a scene where a woman's wrists are slit and start pouring torrents of blood and the aforementioned rake-in-the-head scene. Besides that, you're looking at rock-bottom acting, a boring story, and flea market production design.

Packaged with the film is a 90 minute "documentary" called the "History of Hollywood Horror Films." In reality, it's a whole bunch of clips and trailers for old-school horror movie string together with no real semblance of order (except maybe chronological).

Oh, almost forgot. Another thing that sucks about this DVD: no scene selection.

Closing Statement

The movie's bad, sure, but if it were physically watchable there would be a chance it could have qualified for Bad, But in a Good Cheesy Bad Way. The abysmal video will surely cause discomfort and pain to the viewer.

The Verdict

The accused is pimp-slapped.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 30
Audio: 70
Extras: 75
Acting: 50
Story: 50
Judgment: 45

Perp Profile

Studio: Timeless Media Group
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 173 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Bad
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• "History of Hollywood Horror Films"


• IMDb

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