A sleepwalker roams an apartment building and kills its tenants using work tools…
4k movies reviews
It was on this film that the eminent creator of the American horror Tobe Hooper would later shoot his remake. Of course, the original should not be compared with the second interpretation of the story, but I am sure that most viewers first got acquainted with the work of the two thousandth, rather than the seventies, due to the frequent television show and the abundance of releases on information media of the recent opus, when the first copy is a kind of rarity. Well, the two films are incredibly different âfromâ and âbeforeâ, they have only small moments in common: a certain secretive maniac in a ski hat and black clothes, construction tools as murders, the scene of action is an apartment building, a small detective trail. At this, in fact, the connection breaks, and it does not affect the audience with hints of intrigue, those who remember Hooper’s version very well.
This movie is constructed in an unusual way, in its germ for the first twenty minutes there will be the same type of shots with a slow, cold-blooded series of savage murders of different girls and women living next door to each other at the hands of a mysterious man in black, muttering some song under his breath and dragging toolbox. By the way, I have no idea why it was necessary for Russian-speaking distributors to give out such an illogical translation of “The Nightmare of the House in the Hills”, when in the original it is a very well-aimed, sonorous and logically justified “Murder with a Toolbox”. So, the scenes are performed – I’m not afraid of this word – masterfully due to excellent camera work and editing inserts to convey the embedded emotions of growing horror. The scene was especially successful in terms of frankly naturalistic horror, where the madman aims, misses, slowly loads and again marks his nail gun at the victim, driven helpless in agony. The colors seethe in all their barbaric glory unambiguously.
Speaking of colors, it is impossible not to notice that the mentioned first third of the story, with memorable brutal murders, is also shared by nudity. She came out quite harmonious in the editing cuts, similar to the tricks of a sick villain, acceptable in balancing between hiding strategic vulgar moments, but giving out some bold hints for her age.
These two named pillars of undisguised eroticism and shameless demonstration of the permissiveness of a maniac must have forced a ban on the show at the time of the film’s release. Together, a real tragic base is also involved here, which occurred in the late 60s with real murders, apparently not forcing the public to ignore itself.
In addition, the director, making his film, made it not just saturated with authentic ecstasy for a sadist, taking the main role of a sick psychopath, so along the way he secretly mocks the established opinion that nothing threatens the tenant in his own house. This is expressed by the extreme ease of the killer’s methods of infiltrating unsuspecting victims one after another, reinforcing the picture with the relentless sound of melodic country ballads in all acts of violence. In fact, it turns out that very bloody scenes are shown before the viewer, and behind the scenes another romantic song is sincerely sung, causing disgust for the audible words of love against this contrasting background.
In total, the entire overall timing of the narrative is sharply divided into three equal parts. The first is a rough, harsh slasher, moreover, well-mounted, but not oversaturated with implausible departures of limbs, but only actively rampaging fake blood.
The second intermediate facet of the film “hides” the former protagonist – a maniac, and turns into a likeness of a detective, demonstrating new characters. Actually, an intriguing detective just did not work out at all. This is the weakest side of the director and script. The fact is that the police are exposed in their investigation as complete clumsiness without a hint of reasonable actions, they are registered as unrealistic personalities, as if they are five years old and they are unfamiliar with deductive methods for calculating who could kill several residents of the house at once with the help of tools, easily and simply penetrating through a locked door, and even without arousing suspicion among others, moving along the corridor. That is, the employees of the homicide police department are registered more stupidly than just a teenager – a deplorable sight. In addition to the named unsuccessful aspect, the director clumsily tries to deceive the audience purely visually, juggling allusions to one of the heroes of the film, when the difference between the actors is utterly obvious in terms of physique.
And the final third of the running time again turns into a completely different genre, this time into a psychological thriller, where there will no longer be a maniac in a mask, no tools, and the whole mystery subsides, revealing frank claustrophobia in a frightening tandem between a bound kidnapped victim in the house of a crazy killer , approximately in terms of energy reminiscent of the finale of the âTexas Chainsaw Massacreâ of the sample of 74, crushing with its hopelessness, only with the difference that here the house is not far from the city, namely, it frightens with its proximity to ordinary people across just some street. There will be long monologues of a madman, his story about him, about his views on the world and why he did all this before. Of course, nevertheless, some surprise will be prepared and the apogee is not so predictable, though it is not something shocking for the viewer, at least the modern one, who has seen a sufficient number of thrillers.
In conclusion, summing up, I can say that the cinema, firstly, is rare and old, standing on the rudiments of horror subgenres: slashers and maniac thrillers. Secondly, it is well filmed and glued together in a series of shot changes, sometimes resembling either a clip or a long constellation shooting. Thirdly, the central character of the broken-down killer and the kidnapped girl are perfectly played by a couple of actors, it’s hard not to believe them when you watch their harmonious work in tandem. And surprisingly, filmmaker Cameron Mitchell (who has starred in more than two hundred films in his lifetime, including with Marilyn Monroe in Hollywood’s golden classic How to Marry a Millionaire, and Italian horror master Mario Bava’s Blood and black lace”) is not inferior to the young partner, albeit only portraying a silent victim.
But at the same time, the film still has blunders, both in an unreliable script with a flagrantly inconsistent police investigation, which in fact will not be disclosed at all further in terms of the content of the plot, and the behavior of some characters. That is, for a short prologue-slasher you can praise, for a detective – to put “failed”, and for the final psychologism in a thriller, the movie is quite consistent with its direction.
Especially for me, as a lover of obscure old films, The Nightmare of House in the Hills, directed by Dennis Donnelly, left a positive rating after viewing, though not higher than the average score, but not everyone will like it due to the abrupt transitions from genre to genre mentioned above, with a clear failure in sagging interval.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (76.2 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
English SDH, French, Spanish.