Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Rundown of the 13 Best Horror Movies I’ve Seen in the Past Year
[7 of 13]
THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (February 2009)

Ti West’s The House of the Devil is an interesting sort of oddity: it’s a film set in the ‘80’s, executed in ‘70’s style horror. Strains of the cinematic approach taken by West can still be detected in late ‘70’s fare like John Carpenter’s Halloween. In point of fact, if the slasher sub-genre hadn’t appropriated the very specific set of elements that it did from Halloween, subsequently running riot with them, we might have seen more of this subtler kind of film in the ‘80’s.
For a lifelong horrorhead, West’s House plays like a particularly well-made yet forgotten gem from that period, dusted off and rescued from some cobweb-laden cinematic vault.
West’s exacting approach to the material-- erstwhile babysitter gets into nasty trouble on the night of an eclipse-- is quite ably assisted by a solid cast that includes Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, and The Signal’s AJ Bowen.
We even get a sonic blast from the past, courtesy of The Fixx.

Granted, I’m honestly unsure how this will play to today’s generation of cinemagoers, whose definition of “horror” is understandably informed by 21st century Hollywood trends.

Then again, one never knows.

Whatever the case, for any horrorheads out there who experienced the Betamax revolution firsthand, The House of the Devil should play like a case of déjà vu that never was. (There’s actually a limited VHS edition of The House of the Devil out there, for any hardcore old school horror collectors.)

Parting shot: The Signal-- whose review can be found lurking in the Archive-- was on the ¡Qué Horror! 2008 rundown.

(The House of the Devil OS courtesy of

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