GEEEEEEEEEZ – has it really been over ten years since this came out? I remember on the old site, a lot of people hated this. I don’t remember if it was just because it was made by Ti West (which seems to come to mind as a common theme back then) (which I never got because I thought he made good movies) (except for that Cabin Fever sequel) (and that doesn’t take into account that shitty Western he did a few years ago with John Travolta in it) (how’s that for four segues?) or just because people thought it was too slow and not scary enough or maybe they were turned off by the hair in the bathtub scene. I think I countered that with “aren’t you a grown man and how long has it been since you’ve been scared in a movie you sorry choad?” or “do you still cry when you put on your mom’s underwear?” or maybe even “I imagine The Shame of Your Touch has caused everything around you to go to rot. Thanks for commenting!” Yep – that sounds about right because I really liked it.
Now I’ve watched it again and I still think they were on to something good, slowness, hair or not, but I do think they lost some of what they were working on there towards the end. “Petered out” might be the right phrase. It’s no spoiler but it feels like something went wrong with the sound and maybe they ran out of rent money for that house of the devil they were shooting in or Mary Woronov had to head back to the coast to do something more important or something but the whole thing just went to crap.
For as much as I have publicly groaned about the 80s in the past, I liked what they were doing with their 80s-creepy babysitter-alone-in-the-house schtick and even the music she played on her Walkman didn’t bother me too much – or even Tom Noonan for that matter, I guess. I also didn’t really care that Greta Gerwig spent most of her time smacking her lips or licking her fingers or that, in the end, the Devil didn’t show up in The House of the Devil – because we all need more Devil – or even that Lena Dunham started her career here doing voice acting as a horny 911 operator who moans and groans doing unsimulated, humpy and poundy phone sex while her unsimulated, real life kids cry in the background. it just seemed everything went to shit after she ate that pizza. Donahue not Gerwig.
Contrary to popular belief, that image above is not a nurse trying to birth out Donahue’s pepperoni pizza shits nor is it the devil doing some DIY trepanning or a still from the Schitt’s Creek pilot where Alexis goes “Boop” for the first time, so you won’t find that in this one. You will also NOT get to see Tom Noonan and his legendary nine inch dong go apeshit and spray its cascade all over a bunch of East Coast Coeds as his Satanic orgy finishes up its Baphometian climax. And sadly, even though this came out in 2009, you will not see anyone Planking or Tebowing or Flash-mobbing or doing any of that other goddammed stupid fucking shit that was popular to my disgust for five minutes back in the day. So, in a way, that’s a big fucking win!
After the second watch, I still like Ti West’s movies (exceptions noted), I still heart Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep!) and I’ll always be grateful to A.J. Bowen for being one of the two big time actors who let me interview them for no money back in the day.
Filed under: AT LEAST THEY TRIED
As a P.S. mainly to myself, I need to remember that even though – when I started this new place – I told myself I wouldn’t do theme weeks or host festivals or really anything that required the Sagittarius in me to face a deadline or pressure of any sort but the other week I got to overthinking myself and started writing something that may or may not be fun to read but they were fun to write. So, Mr Film Miasma, you lazy douche, pay attention and remember that you made this for a reason: