Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movie Review: Haunts (1977)

HAUNTS - 1977 thriller from Herb Freed

Written by Herb Freed and Anne Marisse
Directed by Herb Freed

A small-town sheriff's bowling night is interrupted when the raped and mutilated corpse of a local woman is found in her home. This, of course, leads to the usual paranoia and mistrust that one would come to expect...but no one is more paranoid or more mistrustful than Ingrid, a devoutly religious farm woman, who is suspicious of every male that she comes in contact with. This is spawned from some vague and long ago childhood trauma that is flashed upon the screen ad nauseum throughout the film.

When more bodies begin piling up, Ingrid seems to be intimately connected to the killer somehow. One of the corpses is found in her chicken coop, and the weapon-of-choice seems to be a pair of scissors that was lifted from her sewing basket. She has reason to suspect her uncle Carl, but it could just as easily be that new creepy choir boy Bill, or the too-bad-to-be-believed Frankie: you know he's bad because he dresses in layers, wears leather gloves, drinks Budweiser, and listens to atrociously cheesy mock-rock music.

Although it started off promising enough--murder in a small town--it quickly went south in my eyes, and never headed to True North again, despite the twist ending. It's not stylized enough to be giallo, not sleazy enough to be a slasher, and not scary enough to be horror. Part of the problem may be that Haunts is typically packaged as an exploitative slasher movie, as opposed to a psychological thriller, but even that wouldn't change the fact that this movie rests securely on its laurels as a mediocre, not-particularly-effective psychological thriller that plods along in some places at a snail's clip.

I can't recommend it, but it does seem to have a fan base to support it.

Of course, so does Uwe Boll.

Rated PG
97 Minutes


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