Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Hearse (1980)

Such a strange and pointless movie! The plot is as follows: A woman who strongly resembles Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich but with slightly less extreme hair inherits a house in the country and decides to live in it; upon arrival, she discovers that the town is populated exclusively by male sex offenders and potential rapists who eye her lasciviously with varying degrees of both lust and disdain, barely concealed and in equal measure. Each scene is fraught with tension, as you repeatedly wonder whether you're about to learn that naive, trusting Jane just invited the wrong man into her house. There are vague mumblings about pacts with Satan and lovelorn ancestors, and a little girl with pigtails curtly informs Jane, "Your house is haunted and you're a ghost." I kept expecting something to happen that would begin to propel the plot forward, but instead the main character just trips around making questionable choices, and occasionally a creepy hearse driven by an even creepier driver appears and then disappears - making his rounds before he drops by Oliver Reed's place in Burnt Offerings, no doubt.

There's something to be said for the nostalgic, Vaseline-on-the-lens magic of any horror movie shot circa 1980, but there are other, better films from the era that you should check out before you take a spin in The Hearse.

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