This incomprehensible offering squanders a decent premise by bogging it down with so many inconsistencies that the end result is an incoherent mess. Taken a bit more seriously, the basic plot line of Mausoleum could have been shaped into a real gem, but as it stands, only the most forgiving genre fan will find much of interest here.
The story revolves around a woman named Susan who inherits a family curse and becomes possessed by a demonic spirit with the ability to summon psychedelic lighting and dry ice wherever it appears. When both her husband and her psychiatrist begin to suspect that something is amiss, they embark on a race against time to defeat the evil invader, while Susan keeps herself busy by getting naked and killing off any man who hits on her.
Though John Carl Buechler is on board for this ride, the special effects are a decidedly mixed bag, ranging from a handful of nicely executed gore gags to one dreadfully sloppy sequence in which demon-mode Susan forces a victim to float through the air, during which the harness used to suspend the ersatz Mary Poppins from the ceiling is not only clearly visible on screen, but remains in the frame for the entire stunt so that we can see the apparatus moving along its track as the doomed woman levitates. The various stages of Susan's transformations are likewise disjointed. The more subtle touches work best; a scene in which our hexed heroine sits silently in a rocking chair with her disfigured face obscured by shadows is one of the few genuinely creepy images in the film. However, when the demon is on full display, the mounds of latex on Susan's face make her look like she's ready to audition for GWAR.
Ex-Playboy bunny Bobbie Bresee offers a decent performance, but it's made abundantly clear throughout the movie that the film-makers' primary emphasis is on her multiple nude scenes. Bresee is certainly easy on the eyes, but her rather ambiguous and prototypically banal brand of attractiveness ensures that she shifts throughout the film looking alternately beautiful and bland, depending on the lighting.
The biggest problem with Mausoleum is that so little of the film adheres to its own flimsy logic. The crux of Susan's monstrous manifestations seems to be her anger at being a viewed as a sex object, since she wreaks violent vengeance upon multiple men whose crass advances mark them as near future victims. Yet, she actively seduces two of her casualties, and has sex with one of them before dispatching him. Her motives become even more dicey with the random killing of a female character, whose only sin is stopping by the house to drop off some paperwork.
The set-ups for the murders are so transparent that they play out like scenes from a porno script, particularly the arrival of a delivery driver who Susan invites in to "use the phone". I kept waiting for a pizza man to show up and ask Bresee, "who ordered the extra sausage?"
A comic relief monologue by a sassy African-American maid ends up being one of the most memorable moments in the movie, but since this is the only time the film actively courts intentional humor, this portion ends up being perplexing and out of place. Still, it's a genuinely funny sequence, so we have to at least give Mausoleum credit for succeeding on that front.
The scene in which Susan's breasts morph into snaggle-toothed, blood-thirsty mammary monsters pretty much defies critical analysis, so I'll let that dubious plot point speak for itself.
Despite a few strong touches along the way, the film completely falls apart during the last reel, and once we discover that the secret weapon needed to defeat the demon is a crown of thorns (?), any chance of Mausoleum finding a steady footing is erased immediately. The final scene attempts to insert a game-changing twist, but since said twist makes absolutely zero sense, the effectiveness of this fade to black is debatable. The incessant maniacal chuckling which concludes the film seems to suggest that Mausoleum has descended into such heady depths of idiocy that all you can really do is laugh about it. Of course it goes without saying that the song that plays over the closing credits is atrocious beyond belief.
There are a few inspired moments here, but only the most ardent early '80s horror completist will glean much satisfaction from this thoroughly baffling exercise. Rest assured, the "so bad it's good" label can be readily applied to Mausoleum, so if your tolerance for that school of film-making is high, I can recommend this to you a bit more enthusiastically.
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