Horror House on Highway 5 (1985)
Director: Richard Casey
Writer: Richard Casey
Starring: Phil Therrien, Max Manthey, Irene F., Michael Castagnolia, Susan Leslie, Randy Daitch,
"Hey Joe, tell your Dad to eat shit!"
Not the house.
Um...Well. Really? What the hell? There's really no way to make my brain stop hurting. Between the crazy Nazi scientist, the brain maggots and a killer dressed as Richard Nixon! This film's like a drug trip without the drugs. Add to it that the acting ranges from hammy over acting to non-acting on a somnambulist level. Then there's the soundtrack, it'll have your ears bleeding. It ranges from ridiculous surf music to what sounds like a cello getting murdered by a one-armed strangler. If your not careful this trip to Horror House On Highway 5 could lead to Lovecraftian madness.
After the titles, which really don't prepare you at all for the coming insanity, we meet Dr. Mabuser (Therrien) and his slow sidekick Gary (Manthey). The Doc is instructing his goofy sidekick about what certain Tarot cards stand for. Then as we try to wrap our heads around the fact that the good Dr. Mabuser insists the the death card means love the film cuts to another scene that seems to have nothing to do with the Doctor and his pal. Only minutes in and my brain was already angry with me. A somewhat plain looking woman is doing some housework when some dude in a Richard Nixon mask scares her. Is Tricky Dick her boyfriend or maybe her husband? We're never told. But the credits list her name as simply Housewife, so judge for yourself. Maybe someday I'll write a prequel fanfic about these two...or maybe not. Anyway nonplussed by Tricky Dick's antics she decides to take a shower (naturally) and sends him out to the car to get something. An unseen killer hiding in the back seat offs Tricky Dick. The woman finishes her shower and we get a very unwanted look at her in a gratuitous t&a shot. Thankfully the killer shows up now wearing the Nixon mask and after a brief case that ends with the woman gingerly falling onto a glass table, shattering it. Her wrist cut open by the glass, after a bit more of stalking she's dispatched by the killer.
Plugged or not plugged?
Next we cut to to a college classroom full of the oddest looking collage "kids" ever assembled. The sweatiest professor (Daitch) I've ever seen is telling his "students" about the town of Littletown and a deceased Nazi scientist named Bartholomew, who supposedly created the V2 rocket. He wants three of his students go to Littletown and research Bartholomew and make replicas of his rockets. The three that are "lucky" enough to get this assignment are: Louise (Leslie), who's like Velma from Scooby Doo (Right down to the can't see without her glasses weakness), Then there's Mike (Castagnolia) the stoner, who looks a helluva lot like a young Dario Argento, and lastly there's polka dot dress wearing Sally (Irene F.). Sally goes to see Dr. Mabuser whilst Louise and Dario Argento take the Mystery Machine to Littletown for some rocket making.
Meanwhile Richard Nixon stalks a couple of victims in the moonlight. This scene is probability my favorite scene in the film. It features a girl who appears to be auditioning for My Cousin Vinny 2 and her boyfriend, a drunken David Naughton wannabe. Drunken Naughton also has some of the worst acting in the film and the best lines. With Nixon outside their car our drunk friend gets out a hollers "Hey, I'm gonna fuck you, man!" Then socks Dick in the face. Tricky Dick beats the hell out of Mr. drunk and then gets run over. Not that'll stop the 37th President of the United States! Drunken Naughton dies from his injuries and his gal pal runs off. Long story short: everyone seems to end up at said Horror House. Dr. Mabuser, Gary, Sally, Louise and Dario, all of them and Richard Nixon too! Brain maggots, attempted drilling and boob ironings ensue. Boob ironing!
Our 37th President
Did someone slip me drugs? This film is plain nuts! Once in awhile you come across a film that not only makes you question the filmmakers sanity but yours as well. There's the killer wearing a Richard Nixon mask who's played Ronald Reagan! How about Louise's non-acting. Mike discovers a dead and very fake looking cat in the back of the van. Louise reacts to it like someone just told her library card was out of date. Making it even stranger is that earlier in the film when she's sitting poolside there's a cat sitting next to her that looks like the dead one! Another weird thing about her is that halfway into the film some scenes she's wearing a very obvious wig! There's an unseen "thing" in the house's basement that makes swooshing nosies and cuts people. We never get to see it or even told what "it" is. You have to witness Dr. Marbuse's black magic Boob ironing ritual with an iron that appears not to be plugged in. To top it all of the ritual ends with Three Stooges style antics and sound effects! There's so much more madness in this film besides what I've mentioned. You sort of have to experience it for yourself.
Doing a little digging online that Bill Pope credited as William Pope, playing the first guy to wear the Nixon mask before getting killed and listed simply as the Gentleman in the end credits is the same Bill Pope that's cinematographer on such films as Spider-Man 2 and 3, The Matrix films, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Richard Meltzer who plays the drunken tough guy turns out to be a pioneering rock critic who got his start in the early '70's!
Beyond the door
It's in no way what you'd call a "good" film. But it's so damn weird and unhinged that it becomes something that you really can't categorize. If you what a quick weird film high you may want to take a trip to Horror House on Highway 5. Be warned though, you may not comeback the same.