The Houses of Halloween is written by and stars Bobby Roe, Jeff Larson and Zack Andrews and directed by Bobby Larson. It also stars Brandy Schaefer and Mikey Roe. It is a found footage film but it takes a unique and highly effective approach to the genre.
The premise is quite simple, five friends, Bobby, Jeff, Zack, Brandy and Mikey head off together in an enormous RV on a Halloween road trip to visit the most extreme pop-up haunted houses that America has to offer.
Their ultimate goal is to track down the elusive Blue Skeleton, an underground haunt which moves location every year and is invitation only. There is talk on the circuit that the scares offered there are far beyond what is available elsewhere. Jeff believes that the best way to achieve this is to visit the other numerous haunts and try to meet other people who have seen it.
Although the first few that they visit are, in their words, Mickey Mouse attractions, they are still nevertheless pretty scary. However they are after true scares, maybe even physical (it is rumoured that there are places where they will actually restrain you) so they continue their quest and when strange things begin to happen the road trip gets a whole lot scarier than anyone expected. They are forced to consider the possibility that the haunt has found them.
The Houses of Halloween is very well filmed. The camera does fly about a bit sometimes, but only when necessary to build tension and add to the action. There are jump scares aplenty and I did find it rather eye opening in terms the kind of entertainment that the Americans seem prepared to lay on for Halloween.
Even more surprisingly and very probably true is the fact that there are no background checks whatsoever performed on any of the actors involved in the haunted houses, which does seem a little ill advised.
The makeup is excellent and the format is really well thought out, interspersing action with chilling interviews with the employees of some of the haunts. The style means that you never know what is really going on, fake scares, over active imagination or just friends playing a prank.
Very well written and keeps you on your toes to the very end. I would recommend adding this one to your Halloween viewing list this year.
“I’m not afraid of werewolves or vampires or haunted houses. I’m afraid of what real human beings will do to other real human beings.”
-Walter Jon Williams
The Houses of Halloween is available to buy on DVD now