Scream Factory releases two fabulously frightening Italian-American horror films in high-definition with the Blu-ray double feature of “Ghosthouse / Witchery.” Just so you have some background information on these campy cult classics, they were originally released as “La Casa 2” and “La Casa 3” in Italy. “Evil Dead” and “Evil Dead II” were known as “La Casa” and "La Casa 2” when they were brought overseas. “Ghosthouse” and “Witchery” were promoted as sequels to Sam Raimi’s extremely popular films, although they have absolutely nothing to do with each other in any way.
A teenager (Lara Wendel) and her boyfriend (Greg Scott) discover strange radio messages are screams from the future in “Ghosthouse.”
“Ghosthouse” is a low-budget schlock-fest with marginally bad-acting and visuals that should be scary but aren’t. That’s not to say that you won’t find some effective scenes of gruesomeness that will satisfy old-school gore hounds. Some of the sound effects and eerie music make up for the lack of real scares at times as well. This is the perfect example of a movie whose poster art was specifically created to trick the audience into spending money on it.
In “Witchery,” a photographer (David Hasselhoff) and others (Linda Blair, Catherine Hickland) are stranded at a Massachusetts island hotel haunted by a woman in black (Hildegard Knef).
On the other hand, “Witchery” delivers everything you come to expect when gazing on its promotional art. The Hoff doesn’t run around shirtless in red shorts or sing, but he delivers in every other way you could anticipate. The graphicness and gore is amped up big time in comparison to “Ghosthouse.” Seeing a pregnant bouffant-haired Linda Blair hissing and cackling while possessed comes pretty close to more disturbing than her portrayal of Regan in “The Exorcist.” If they would have added green pea soup and some facial lesions, I think it might have surpassed her appearance in William Freidkin’s classic film.
“Ghosthouse” isn’t rated but would probably merit a PG-13 rating by today’s standards. There’s some profanity, violence and gore, and frightening and intense scenes. “Witchery” is definitely rated R and contains sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity, alcohol, and frightening and intense scenes. One particularly unnecessary sequence shows the devil having his way with the virgin in a satanic ritual. It was way more graphic than it needed to be as anyone who’s seen “Rosemary’s Baby” can attest to its effectiveness will tell you.
The only extras we get for Scream Factory’s “Ghosthouse / Witchery” Double Feature are the trailers for the movies. It would have been nice to see some new interviews with Hasselhoff or Linda Blair, but that’s probably asking a little too much. Still, I would imagine someone from the movies would have taken the time to discuss their experiences behind the scenes.
If you’re looking for an entertaining and humorous experience with a roomful of friends, Scream Factory’s “Ghosthouse / Witchery” Double Feature won’t let you down. It will supply you with plenty of heckling material and even some wincing moments of gore and gruesomeness. Once again, it’s another fine addition to anyone’s horror library.
Scream Factory’s “Ghosthouse / Witchery” Double Feature is available now on Blu-ray.