There's something at the root of some rather strange murders and it just might be a Nazi scientist... a MAD scientist. Oh and he's dead to boot! This isn't quite Ed Wood having Bela Lugosi build a race of atomic supermen. That's closer to a laugh track than it is to a true Horror picture. What we have here is a low budget Horror flick with some workable elements that create some moderately scary scenes and an overall aesthetic that fans of modern independent Horror can connect with. Richard Casey knows how to create visually interesting works. That's why he directs music videos more than full length features. There are tripply moments with some new wave or post-punk music (fans of Hellbent by Casey will understand how that's possible).
This movie is all over the place, and perhaps it should be. Horror House on Highway 5 is a homemade Horror movie. It has some strong scenes especially in the opening that features a killer in a Nixon mask that is somehow reminiscent of the end scenes from Nightmare in a Damaged Brain. I'd go so far as to say if you're a fan of Nightmare, you probably need to check this one out. For as much I find this movie diffuclt to follow, it’s just got enough weird shit in it to keep your eyes entertained.
The transfer is pretty damn great especially given the source material is 16mm. Often a 16mm source will leave the movie feeling blown up (specifically due to the size of the negative). While you may notice it, it does not detract from the picture. I prefer the traditional artwork on this release to the alternate art. You get a making of featurette, a commentary track with the director and even the music video inspiration for Horror House. There's also a full frame version of the movie.
Grab a blanket and some hot cocoa (pay attention and you'll understand why I recommend them).
Order this one from Vinegar Syndrome:
From Vinegar Syndrome:
Note: This release is limited to 3,000 units and is currently only available on VinegarSyndrome.com and through select retail partners (DiabolikDVD). Heads up: we might release HORROR HOUSE ON HIGHWAY 5 & HELLBENT as a barebones double feature in late 2017.
A mysterious killer, wearing a Nixon mask, terrorizes and murders a young couple. A professor assigns his students a project investigating the strange events connected to a possibly dead Nazi scientist, Dr. Fredrick Bartholomew. The doctor’s assistant kidnaps students, holding them hostage and torturing them. Meanwhile, Nixon stalks the night!
One of the most confusing and compelling homemade horror films ever made, future music video director Richard Casey’s debut feature film, shot over years on nights and weekends, is a delirious collage of oddball gore, ludicrous plot twists, and a general milieu of weirdness unlike anything else in cinema history. Newly restored from original 16mm vault elements, Vinegar Syndrome presents one of the quintessential cult movies of the 80s officially on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time anywhere in the world.
Directed by: Richard Casey
1985 / 88 minutes / Color / 1.85:1
Actors: Phil Therrien, Max Manthey, Irene F., Michael Castagnolia, Susan Leslie, Richard Meltzer, Steve DeVorkin, Ronald Reagan
• All extras on both formats
• Region free Blu-ray and DVD combo pack
• Scanned and restored in 2k from 16mm archival elements
• “Return to Horror House on Highway 5” – making of featurette
• Commentary track with director Richard Casey
• “Beach Party with Vom” – music video directed by Richard Casey (the impetus for Horror House on Highway 5)
• Alternate full frame presentation of Horror House on Highway 5
• Reversible cover artwork by Kevin Thomas
And just to be a completist... here's the trailer from 2014 from Brain Damaged Films for Horror House on Highway 6