Ghosthouse / Witchery – Double Feature (Blu-ray Review)

Ghosthouse-WitcheryClown dolls. Witches. Hasselhoff. What more could you want? Prepare yourself for one of the most bizarre double bills imaginable with Ghosthouse and Witchery! Released in Italy as part of the infamous La Casa series, these two highly unusual horror films come to Blu-ray on June 30, 2015 from Scream Factory. Ghosthouse. Witchery. A duplex of doom, brought to you on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory.  Both bring a sense of 80s fun-horror elements to them along with some disturbing and creepy set pieces and scenes in their own right.  And if you dig some good practical gore effects, they come with the package too.  Both films definitely fit a theme and work great together in this nice double feature package from Scream Factory.

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Your tour of terror begins with Ghosthouse, in which a group of visitors to a seemingly-deserted home find themselves tormented by demonic spirits – including one particularly freaky little girl and her creepy clown companion. Soon, our hapless heroes find themselves powerless to conquer the evil of the Ghosthouse – where death holds the mortgage and if you move in… there’ll be Hell to pay!

Who dug up this awesome little movie?  I had never heard of Ghosthouse prior to this review and within seconds I found myself in love.  Even if I didn’t find myself scared, this movie did a darn good job of executing its haunting scenes and crafting a surreal vibe.  There was much to be appreciated in some of the craziness in the movie.  It also featured some really awesome, super groovy practical gore effects.  The film is sorta relentless and really lefts loose on axes to the head and chopping people apart.

From the super 80s awesome score to the creepy little girl with her clown doll, this movie really has a lot to deliver.  I did not expect myself to have this much fun with the film.  Its got good elements and unintentionally funny elements (the lead actress is exceptionally horrible).  This is a movie I definitely want to share with friends and one during the fall season I’ll definitely want to revisit.

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Then, a new address brings new frights as the immortal David Hasselhoff and The Exorcist’s Linda Blair turn up the terror in Witchery.When a terrible storm leaves a motley assortment of people stranded on an island resort, they soon find they have more to worry about than not packing rain gear! A horrible witch unleashes her wrath on the unwanted visitors – and no one is safe from her unquenchable thirst for death!

When I got this two’fer from the Factory of Scream I was expecting everything I said about Ghosthouse to be what I’d say from Witchery.  And the film does include plenty of that, it just doesn’t deliver and move like the previous film did.  It has some rough patches of just being dull and boring and not working.  Even though, there are some super fun moments and awesome gore effects to keep this being slightly worthwhile.

With a cast sporting Linda Blair and David Hasselhoff, I thought there would be some good camp going.  Hasselhoff is amusing for a few seconds, but he’s actually kind of boring in this movie which is a disappointment.  Blair is fun, and she gets to relive her Exorcist craziness as she becomes possessed in the film.  Overall, there are some highlights and takeaways from the movie, but ultimately it just can’t all string itself together like the mouths that get gruesomely sewn shut in the film.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Clarity/Detail:  Both films feature comparable video transfers and quality.  Neither are going to blow the roof off the place, but look better than they probably ever have.  Detail on rickity old haunted houses is fine from wood grains, to paint cracks and textures of fabrics.  The image is a lightly soft, but good enough to do the trick and be a little bit impressive in its own right.

Depth:  Both film’s 3 dimensionality is average.  Movements are smooth and background detail is about as good as it could be.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and provide some good shading.  Detail is only hidden if intended.

Color Reproduction: Colors can be a little tame for the most part.  Some stick out with some poppiness to them on verge (but not) bleeding through.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones on both are natural and consistent.  Some smoothness is present in further out shots, but close ups can show you stubble, texture and puncture wounds with ghoulish clarity.

Noise/Artifacts:  Both prints feature their share of grain, specs, dirt and scratches.  Nothing really distracting.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Both films feature 2.0 tracks that really do the trick.  There are good jump moments and volume/pitch adjustments and placements throughout.  The balance of vocals/music/effects is on the side good enough to sound pretty.  The score for Ghosthouse in particular sounds fantastic here in this 2.0 track.  Mainly because I loved Ghosthouse‘s themes, but Witchery‘s sounds good too.

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and clear.  Some of the ADR in the film is canned sounding.

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The inside of the cover insert features some promotional photos and lobby card images for both films.

Ghosthouse Trailer (HD, 2:53)

Witchery Trailer (HD, 3:01) 

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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