The 101 Horror Movies has checked me into another spooky hotel. If the Overlook from The Shining was a study in creepiness and getting your under skin, the Louisiana hotel featured in this film is a blunt instrument more fixated on gore and gruesome.
Lucio Fulci’s film has none of the subtlety of Kubrick’s masterpiece and instead drenches the screen in blood.
And for the most part, I actually liked it!
Liza (Katherine MacColl) has recently inherited a rundown hotel, that has been closed for decades, and has a rather dark history. A man, accused of being a warlock was killed their, in a rather graphic sequence which sees him being beaten and ripped into with a chain, before he is nailed to the wall.
As he dies, he claims that the hotel is built upon one of the 7 gates of hell and only he can save them.
Course now that he’s dead, I guess that means we’re all doomed.
The story is loosely assembled to say the least, as two people Liza has worked on restoring the house die in short order, one of them after seeing a strange blind girl in one of the windows, and the other after breaking through a wall and discovering a series of underground chambers.
Soon enough Liza begins seeing things she can’t explain and becomes increasingly agitated by the occurrences in the hotel. Despite that, she doesn’t leave, simply saying she can’t.
Dr. John McCabe (David Warbeck) is her disbelieving sidekick, until the climax of the film when after McCabe, who has read about this in a mysterious book, called Ebion, that appears and disappears, proclaims the underground passage as one of the gates to hell. Things go sideways, and the dead start to walk, and rampage, putting us into a zombie film for almost the remainder of the film.
Until the two of them stumble through a doorway and give us the last scene of the film, which I really enjoyed.
The film is bloody, has some shocking death scenes, including one with rather hungry spiders, but there are so many plot holes and inconsistencies that it’s better off not to think about them.
One of the things I didn’t care for at all was the film’s score, it was too synthy, and I don’t think it worked very well.
The effects, gore were really well executed, and a lot of fun, it’s too bad the plot holes kept popping up.
Between the two of them, I’d still rather stay at the Overlook (which I am currently revisiting in novel form – I haven’t read it since I was a teen!).
Have you seen any of Fulci’s other films? What are your favorites?