The House of Seven Corpses (1974)

house7corpsesWhen it comes to dead bodies, The House of Seven Corpses plays home to 993 fewer than Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses. This is an argument against the axiom of “less is more.”

In the first and only turn in the director’s chair from H.R. Pufnstuf writer Paul Harrison, the wonderful old manse of the title has remained in the Beal family for generations, despite so many members of the Beal family experiencing tragic death within its walls. The opening credits demonstrate how they came to leave this mortal coil by drowning, gunshot, hanging and other methods nefarious and felonious.

house7corpses1The premise isn’t very imaginative: When a crew comes to shoot a movie there about the Beals, and stays there instead of at a hotel, they befall the same fates as the family members did long ago. This comes after the discovery of such residential amenities as an on-site cemetery and secret passages, one of which leads to a room containing the Tibetian Book of the Dead and various volumes of witchcraft.

None of this comes as a surprise to Edgar Price (genre mainstay John Carradine), the grounds’ longtime caretaker and clan defender, nor should any of it come as a surprise to you. The House of Seven Corpses operates by the numbers, yet sometimes that’s okay. This is one of those cases: an average, harmless horror movie served up as comfort food. For such a promising title, it should hold more panache, more atmosphere, more thrills. That it doesn’t, however, hardly marks it for automatic write-off; the stay is pleasant enough. —Rod Lott

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One Response to “The House of Seven Corpses (1974)”

  • Caleb Forrest Says:

    I’ve been watching as many John Carradine movies as I can get a hold of. This House of 7 Corpses is one of my favorties. He was da bomb. I like him more than Vincent Price or Karloff.

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