House of Witchcraft (1989)

La casa del sortilegio (The House of the Spell) finds our old friend Umberto Lenzi making a TV movie that fits right into his Ghosthouse style and I, for one, could not be happier.

This is one of four films in the Doomed Houses series of films that also includes his The House of Lost Souls and Fulci’s The Sweet House Of Horrors and The House of Clocks. And he decides that what this movie needs is lots of the hero having visions of losing his head and having it thrown into cauldrons and giant vats of soup. And you know what they say, there ain’t no fake severed head like an Italian fake severed head.

Also: our hero Luke has a tarot-obsessed wife named Martha and if I know my Italian exploitation conventions — and you know I do — anyone named Martha is evil.

Also also: Italian directors hate cats and Lenzi says, “I guess I’ll continue that tradition,” and has a scene where someone throws at TV at a black cat and it exposes on impact.

You better believe that the words La Casa were really big on the posters for this. I mean, by posters it played on TV. Ah, you know what I mean.

Lenzi makes a film that may not be a narrative wonder, but if you made a supercut of all its weirdest scenes, you’d find a priest being beaten to death with a crowbar by a witch, a boyfriend chopped into pieces and dumped down a well and a basement where it snows and the daughter becomes a ghost. And maggots!

“You have to have maggots in this sauce,” screaming Lenzi, mad with cooking energy in the kitchen.

This movie is also called Ghosthouse 4 and for that I love it sixteen times as much.

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