Thursday, May 29, 2014

House of Mortal Sin (Redemption/Kino Blu-ray) - Pete Walker Goes to Church

House of Mortal Sin isn’t the typical knock-out punch to Catholic dogma that movies like The Devils might have offered up in the early 70’s. We let the nunsploitation movies have the honor of truly brining home the bastardization of all that is holy, but I assure you that House is a damning little movie to say the least. Leave it to Pete Walker (Frightmare and Flesh and Blood Show) to create a seemingly normal, church and fill it with the kind of things that you’d find in a horror picture. Perhaps that’s what Walker does best. Hey, here’s a really normal situation that you’ve scene; a typical day in the modern world, and then he smashes it to ribbons with stellar performances of brilliant madmen. While I cannot say that House of Mortal Sin is my favorite of the Walker pictures put out by Redemption, it certainly is a creepy little bugger.

Synopsis from Redemption/Kino:

Who can you trust with your darkest secrets, if not a priest? When you enter the confessional, you naturally assume that no one will be taping your confessions and using them against you in various blackmail schemes. But such is the case with the confessional occupied by Father Xavier Meldrum (Anthony Sharp). When a young woman confesses her private shame, her life is turned upside down by the cunning clergyman. Bodies pile up, suspicions are aroused. And the ghastly chain of events that ensue leave a trail of death and madness no decent priest could pardon.

House of Mortal Sin feels a bit like Frightmare, coming out only a year after Frightmare. It is a picture about homicide in a rather ordinary place with a rather unlikely killer and features some of that beautifully unreal Walker blood. While the ending will feel obvious to the trained horror fan especially to fans of Walker’s previous work, you won’t care. You’ll enjoy the subtle game of cat and mouse, of intrigue, a battle of wits if you will. While this particular movie does not predict some of the more recent crimes uncovered beneath church walls it almost has a keen awareness that something wasn’t entirely right in the houses of God of the 20th century. Sheila Keith is back, with one eye this time, and absolutely fantastic. She has a stern look about it that screams tension and creates some of the best suspense in the entire picture.

The disc includes Part 2 of an interview with Walker as conducted by Elijah Drenner. The audio commentary is by Peter Walker and Jonathan Rigby (author of English Gothic) and there are some Walker trailer included. These have proven to be strong features on the Redemption discs for Walker fans.

Note: 1.66:1 1920x1080p

Fans of Walkers previous other efforts especially the three released through Redemption will definitely find this interesting. I’d rank them Flesh and Blood Show, Frightmare, House of Mortal Sin, Home Before Midnight. While Home Before Midnight may not entirely feel like standard scare Walker, House of Mortal Sin is more in line with his darker, surreal fantasy. Even though fantastical, all his movies have a basis in reality, not wholly unbelievable and that may be the most terrifying part of all.

You can order House of Mortal Sin now as well as the other Peter Walker Redemption titles.

-Doc Terror

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