Monday, September 26, 2016

Horror House On Highway 5

Back in the mid 80’s to early 90’s direct to video movies were all the rage.  I would find myself going to the local Blockbuster Video and heading to there “Hot Single” wall every weekend.  No it was not a place for singles, nor was it porn, it was a wall of films the store only got 1 copy of.  Usually these were of the shot on video horror, or martial arts fair. They almost all had shocking covers and great taglines.  There were a lot of film that came out around this era.  So many in fact it was near impossible to keep up with all the releases. 

Keep in mind this is also before the big internet boom so you didn’t have too much to go on.  You just found a cool cover and rented it.  One of the films to come out around this time was Horror House on Highway 5.  It stands out as not only one of the more memorable titles, but one of the most original pictures of that time.

It’s the story of a group of college students heading out to investigate the creation of the V2 Rocket and the crazy German Scientist behind it, Dr Frederick Bartholomew.  Turns out towards the end of his experiment he went nuts and started killing off the people he worked with. 2 of his old associates are still alive, and Sally Smith, one of the students is going to interview them. One of these associates is Dr Mabuser, who believes maggots are eating away at his brain.  His assistant Gary has 2 things going against him.  He stutters, and he is insane.  Needless to say the interview doesn’t go well and Sally finds herself in this pairs evil clutches.

But wait, there’s more.  The other plot of the film centers around a serial killer in a Richard Nixon mask.  He is out wandering Highway 5. In fact this crazed maniac actually strangles some poor sould on his way to the store in the opening scene.  Basically if you on Highway 5 he’s going to kill you. 
So there you have it crazy killer, crazy scientists, stupid college kids, and even a strange backstory about a satanic Nazi cult.  Throw all this in the blender and add in a ton of shot on video special effects and you have the Horror House on Highway 5. 

Now I must say, there are a lot of really gruesome kills in this film.  The director did go all out on the murder scenes, so there is enough blood in here for the gore hounds.  The plot might be bat shit crazy but nothing that you would not see in a Rob Zombie film.  I think what hindered this release back in 85 was it was too busy to say the least.  It took multiple elements from other films and tried to intertwine them into one film.  Remember this was back in the day of the standard slasher films so most viewers were not ready for something like this.  Now they are.

In today’s age of films this one should, and I believe will stand out among horror re-releases this year.  Luckily its in the hands on Vinegar Syndrome who do a marvelous job at bringing these old cult films to life.  They are releasing it on Blu-ray and also in a Limited edition combo pack limited to 3,000 units available only from Vinegar Syndrome directly or Diabolik DVD  here’s it what you get

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

Bottom line if you’re a fan of 80’s horror, and anything, shall we say out of the ordinary than Horror House on Highway 5 is for you.

Overall 3 out of 5 Stars.

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