The House of Lost Souls

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A group of Geology students travelling through Italy get lost and have to spend the night in a remote Hotel. They are greeted by a silent man who they take as being the owner.

Soon strange visions haunt the travellers. Dead bodies appear and disappear, blood drips from the ceiling, spiders crawl over beds and ghosts materialise out of thin air

With the main road out snowed in, two of the students go into the small town to try and find out the history of the Hotel.

It seems that over 20 years ago the owner (not the man who welcomed them it turns out) killed off the guests at the Hotel. And 8 years ago he killed himself in prison. Since then the Hotel has been empty!

More snooping reveals the 'ghosts' are his victims, whose bodies were decapitated

and the heads never found!

But while they are away sleuthing their friends are being killed off in mysterious ways.

And soon heads are rolling again...

This cheese fest from our old friend Umberto "Nightmare City"/"Cannibal Ferox" Lenzi was made for Italian TV and was part of four 'House' based films. Two made by Lenzi and two by late legend Lucio Fulci.

So although we have more gore on display than you would normally get on TV films from other Countries...we are far away from those glory gory days of early 80's Italian theatrical movies.

The cast is bland (though the lead actress, Stefania Orsola Garello, is very pretty) and their dubbing is worse than your average Euro flick, and some of the dialogue is either amazingly bad or just amazingly badly translated.

A rather bizarre conversation between two of the students goes thus:

"How's it going"?

"Couldn't be worse thanks"

Stefania O. Garello's character is given pointless 'psychic' ability. But seeing as all the characters later 'see' things as well

this seems completely redundant.

But this ability does give us another bizarre bit of dialogue when her boyfriend comforts her, after the opening 'vision', with; "The Doctor's gave you a reasonable explanation

. They said you had psychic powers." (!)

Yeah, that's a reasonable medical view all right!

Fans of Euro trash will instantly recognise Haruhiko Yamanouchi (better known as 'Al' Yamanouchi), from such trash items as "2020 Texas Gladiators, "Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals" and "Endgame", as one of the ghostly victims in Garello's opening 'vision'.

He plays a rather bizarre axe wielding Buddhist in full orange robes! Not your normal Italian tourist!

The music will also be recognisable to Euro fans. Hark! What is that we hear? Yep, it's Claudio Simonetti's music from "Demons"

And what is this playing on the radio? It's Claudio Simonetti's 'Craws' raven flying ditty from "Opera"!

Luckily (though still sign-posting this films cheapness) it turns out that 'Claude King', who is credited as composer

Is really Claudio Simonetti slumming it!

Oh, and look out for the snow that is so bad that the main road out of the area is blocked. Don't look too hard though. As you won't actually see any! Everywhere is green and rustic brown. Such is the way of cheap cheese.

But enough of this waffle! What about the 'meaty goods' I hear you cry!


We are not wading through blood and body parts I'm afraid, but a couple of scenes deliver.

The decapitations are fun and a couple even take you by surprise. Sadly one of them, with a slow build up via a creeping chainsaw blade, results only in a splash of blood and has the viewer weeping for those glory days of gratuitous Italian gore.

But one death makes this whole film worthwhile. It is a glorious thing! A thing of whacked out wonderment! And it involves a homicidal washing machine and an annoying child

What more could anyone ask for? It's a bizarre treat which also delivers a gory payoff that had your humble reviewer cheering away most happily with himself.

So overall we have a pretty standard TV style flick with boring characters, bad dubbing and dreadful dialogue. But it has to be said that Lenzi does give us some interesting set pieces, a crazy plot, weapon wielding Zombie Ghosts and a killer with a spin cycle!!!

So don't rush out and see it, but at least amble along at a comfortable pace. It's worth that at least.

Reviewed by 42nd Street Freak