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Bloodbath At The House Of Death
cast: Kenny Everett, Pamela Stephenson, Cleo Rocos, Gareth Hunt, and Vincent Price

director: Ray Cameron

88 minutes (15) 1983
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Nucleus DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Spoofs are this year's black. In the last few years the rise of the spoof has been as tremendous as it is has been boring. Every successful film, it seems, has its parody. The Scream movies, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and even 300 have been victims to this lazy craze. But 25 years ago the late comedy genius that is Kenny Everett starred in what can only be described, paradoxically of course, as an original spoof.

Bloodbath At The House Of Death is a rip-roaring yarn. Scripted by the much respected comedy writer, Barry Cryer (Two Ronnies, Kenny Everett Television Show) this film throws out horror clichés like a machine gun with the trigger stuck. The cast read like a veritable who's who of the British TV comedy circuit of the day. Pamela Stephenson, Graham Stack, and Everett's erstwhile TV partner, Cleo Rocos all have their parts to play, but is the genius of Vincent Price as the 'Sinister Man', disciple of the Devil, who steals the show.

The plot is simple: Dr Mandeville (Everett) and his assistant Dr Coyle (Stephenson) are investigating mysterious happenings at an old manor house - wonderfully named Headstone Manor. Their presence stirs the scary guys from their stupor, but in keeping with the madcap humour of Everett and in Cryer's comedy style, the Satanists are a bit out of practice. You could write a checklist featuring horror movies of the day and tick them off one by one as they are parodied to within an inch of their lives in this classic movie. To give you a start: An American Werewolf In London, The Shining, Jaws and Alien, the last of which evokes memories of Everett's appearance on Wogan with the ridiculous Alien t-shirt.

This a film best described as a comedy/horror. There are some gruesome scenes but Everett continually brings his brand of comedy to proceedings and between him and Price the film is carried along on a relentless train loaded with gore and 'bad-taste' humour. Anyone who expects Bloodbath At The House Of Death to be a cultured horror film should steer clear. This is a typically British comedy, sprinkled with the zany antics of Everett and company. There are no Oscar-winning performances - and there is no apology made for the obvious jokes and toilet humour which at times pervades the movie, because that is the point. And anyway, how often to get see decapitation by tin opener?

Bloodbath At The House Of Death has the potential to develop into a cult classic, if it is not already there. This is a must for any disciple of Everett, and for any fans of Price, especially those who would like to see the lighter side of the great man.

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