House of Clocks DVD Review
Written by Neon Maniac
DVD released by Media Blasters / Shriek Show
Directed by Lucio Fulci
Written by Gianfranco Clerici and Daniele Stropa (Story by Lucio Fulci)
1989, Region 1 (NTSC), 84 minutes, Not rated
Starring:Keith Van Hoven as Tony
Karina Huff as Sandra
Paolo Paoloni as Vittorio Corsini
Bettina Milne as Sara Corsini
Peter Hintz as Paul
Al Cliver as Piero
Carla Cassola as Maria
A homicidal elderly couple live in a large, old villa in the isolated countryside. He likes to collect clocks, she likes to garden and murder. One night a trio of thieves gain entry into the villa by claiming they have car problems. When the thieves make their larcenous intentions known, the handyman comes in with a shotgun and bloody mayhem ensues. The handyman, old woman and old man are killed; and as the old man lays dying, his clocks sympathetically stop working.
When the thieves are finished stripping the house of valuables, the clocks begin ticking again. Only now, they're running backwards. Time goes backwards, events undo themselves and the elderly couple, along with their loyal handyman, come back to life to take revenge.
Although originally made for Italian TV, this movie still has its share of gore. It is toned down, but Fulci was able to work most of his favorite and famous tricks into the movie. You do get spilling innards, more blood than you could ask for, and even zombie arms. Yes, zombie arms. No, this is not a zombie movie, but apparently Fulci spared no expense for his TV premiere. The only thing absent was one of Fulci's classic eyeball gags, apparently too disturbing for Italian TV.
I would consider myself a fair-weather Fulci fan at best. If he's good, he's good; when he's bad, he's really bad. This is how I've always viewed him as a filmmaker. House of Clocks has changed my view in that regard. This is a very middle of the road movie, neither bad nor good, but entertaining enough to watch. It was decent. While it probably will leave some of the hardcore gore hounds wanting more, the effects were adequate enough. The lack of Fulci's over the top gore and the straight ahead storyline may even make this film more accessible to fans of the genre who are not familiar with Italian horror or are put off by gratuitous use of sheep organs.
Worth a rental or a borrow. You probably won't watch this movie more than once, so do not buy it unless you are either a Fulci completist or clock collector. Save your money for Fulci's The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, or the ever popular Zombi 2 instead.
Video and Audio:
Originally shot for TV, the picture is soft, but clear. There is some aging, but nothing too drastic. Very watchable.
A decent 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack. It won't blow you away, but it is clean and easy to understand. The English dubbing is occasionally timed badly, which can be distracting.
The Special Features consist of a handful of trailers for other Shriek Show DVD's, along with interviews with cast members Paolo Paoloni and Carla Cassola. Interviews like these, done many years after the film was completed, can be hit or miss; and on this disc it is mainly miss.
Paolini's interview runs about 5 minutes and it is almost as if he does not remember a lot about the movie. He seems a bit amused someone wants to interview him about it, but really, who could blame him? This is a 16 year old made for TV movie, the details of the film itself have obviously been lost over time. Most of his remembrances are of working with Fulci and living with other cast members during the filming. None of it is particularly interesting or insightful.
Cassola's interview runs about 10 minutes and all she does is ramble on about how much she hated making the movie and how she was amazed nobody brought her warm tea while she was on the set. Oddly, the interview is longer than Cassola's actual screen time.
Both interviews sound awful; there is buzzing and static throughout. Apparently they were filmed at a restaurant because the clink of glasses and silverware covers what the actors are saying. At one point during Cassola's rambling, it sounds like an entire cart loaded with food crashes off screen. That is the most entertaining part of the special features.
There are not many Special Features, but like most low budget Fulci films, there probably is not much more available.
(Neon's Movie Lounge contains a Zenith 42" Plasma EDTV, Oppo DV971H DVD player using a DVI connection, JVC 5.1 DD/DTS receiver and JBL Northridge E Series speakers.)
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