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Askew Review 15

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(Brain Damage Films) Horror.  100 minutes.  Color.  Not rated.  In this ensanguined rendering of three H. P. Lovecraft’s stories, director Ivan Zuccon weaves together a visual of the macabre and madness that Lovecraft is known for.  Adapted by Zuccon and Enrico Saletti, the script integrates The Shunned House, The Music of Erich Zann, and Dreams in Witch-House to fuse together one unnerving cinematic companion piece.  
      A writer, played by Giuseppe Lorusso, and his girlfriend (
Federica Quaglieri) arrive at a dilapidated former inn to investigate the unusually high number of murders and suicides that had taken place while the hotel was in operation.  Actual time grows a little fuzzy as what begins as a ghost story evolves into the merging of the present with two stories from generations past.
      As aberration ensues in each of the film’s characters, The Shunned House teeters between conventional spookiness and extreme gore.  One rather disturbing scene in particular depicts a musician gnawing off a chunk of her own wrist so she could “play” upon the exposed veins as if they were the strings of her violin.
     Albeit a little confusing, the storyline keeps the audience suspended in anticipation of what’s to happen next. 
     Though filmed on videotape, the picture quality surprisingly isn’t all that lacking.  There are even a few scenes where light usage was artistically regulated.  However, sound quality fluctuates making the already thick Italian accents of the actors even more difficult to understand at times.  Even so, The Shunned House is to be embraced by horror film lovers and H. P. Lovecraft fans alike. - Melanie Falina



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