4 November 2000 | verna55
A 'cut above' the usual slasher.
Four college-bound students arrive too late for on-campus housing and are then forced to rent rooms in the creepy old hilltop mansion inhabited by a weird family hiding a dark and disturbing secret. Yvonne De Carlo is the mysterious matriarch who always stays upstairs and always seems to be guarding the attic, and Brad Rearden is her strange son. Cameron Mitchell and Avery Schreiber are detectives called in to investigate when a brutal murder occurs at the eerie place. There's also a nice role for sixties scream queen Barbara Steele. I"ll admit, before I actually saw the film I thought, considering the release date and R rating, that this was just going to be another one of those bloody teen slasher flicks. I couldn't have been more wrong! There actually is a plot, a surprisingly low body count, and even the few characters that do get knocked off are appealing in their own strange way, so you can't help but care what happens to these people. And above all, there is some terrific suspense sequences. It usually takes alot to get my adrenaline running, but at some points in the film, I literally jumped out of my seat! Any horror movie that can do this for me is truly something special. It appears to have been made on a small budget, but the cast handles it all so professionally that it hardly matters. Indeed, there are some real professionals involved, including horror mavens Barbara Steele and Yvonne DeCarlo. Unfortunately, it's a tough movie to find and not likely to be sitting on the shelf of your local retail/rental store, but it's well worth the extra effort.