Let’s talk about family tradition. The Cardona family has it. Starting with the senior Rene Cardona, we got films like the brain-melting Santa Claus, Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy and Night of the Bloody Apes. His son would continue the journey with Night of 1000 Cats, Guyana: Crime of the Century and Tintorera.
Starting with this film, Rene Cardona III would put his own spin on horror films. This movie feels like someone stayed up all night mainlining every single Amityville unconnected sequel — trust me, as I have done this — and then decided to make their own cover version before the booze wore off.
Way back in 1889, a witch had taken over a small Mexican town, but an inquisitor was able to use a sacred amulet to force her into the flames and save his village. When he tosses all of her belongings — including a cursed doll — into a well, he never dreamed that a little girl would find it a hundred years later and put her family through hell.
This movie has it all. Bleeding walls, refrigerators teeming with rats and no small amount of snakes and spiders. It also has Julio, the affable teen who hopes to save the family and the babysitter that he is in love with. He’s played by Pedro Fernandez, who is more than an actor, as he’s a TV show host and singer.
This movie has a great scene where the kids play with a toy car — which has possessed their father’s car — and try to push it into the fireplace. These are the reasons why I love movies like this, the small moments that make me realize just how little reality can intrude within.
If this ever came out on blu ray — and it totally should, because the DVD versions are out of print and are prohibitively expensive — I will add my critic byline to it: “If you thought Ghosthouse was completely inane and ridiculous, have I got an awesome movie for you!”
PS: This pairs nicely with Cathy’s Curse so you get a real North/South exploitation exorcism adventure.