Would you accept a wager to spend a night in a haunted house, with a Ferrari as your prize? It’s a far cry from the atmospheric Castle of Blood, but the ‘actors’ in Ghosts of Hanley house just shrug their shoulders and join the participants in this potentially lucrative bet for what may turn out to be a night of terror.
The interior of Hanley House seems entirely at one with its history: eerie rooms and half-lit corridors, dotted with gothic statues that may have joined forces with unquiet spirits to drive out the living. Local legend tells of a house that’s become uninhabitable, with couples who were unwilling/unable to remain within its tainted walls.
This may sound like perfect viewing on a cold, stormy night but those in search of a few chills should definitely look elsewhere.
Louise Sherrill’s ‘regional’ horror film – shot in Texas – is so inept it turns Edward D. Wood Jr into Stanley Kubrick. The acting, photography and lighting are wretched in the extreme, with talking heads gazing uneasily past the camera, uttering inane lines of dialogue while the plot lurches from the sublime to the painfully ridiculous, using visual references to The Haunting in search of any vestige of credibility.
The promise of a fairly suspenseful opening is soon lost and when Sherrill tires of interior shots, she moves the camera outside where the intrepid band are greeted by a freak of nature: sunlight and shadows in the middle of the night.
This abomination appears on the Alpha DVD label, courtesy of a dupey, damaged print, with poor sound that may compel your ears to strain so that priceless one-liners may not be lost: check out “First it was my baseball bat”. Unbelievable!
As usual, Alpha’s cover art is excellent so it’ll look good on your shelves, but a couple of quid may be too high a price for a film that fails on damn near every level.