Really, Netflix? With 100 years of films to choose for a 1080p reissue directly into the homes of a petrified populace, and in a time of crisis, THIS is what you choose? I’d written before about the ridiculousness of Amazon Prime selecting Mae West-goes-disco comedy Sextette to lead their 2019 Fall line-up, but in terms of competing to stream the tattiest films imaginable, Netflix clearly responded by saying ‘Hold my beer…’
When Bloodbath at the House of Death appeared in my Coming Soon selection, I assumed it was a South Korean horror film that happened to share the same name, but no, this is genuinely the barely seen 1984 vehicle for British DJ and comedian Kenny Everett, who chose to make a horror comedy for his one and only starring role. Everett was a cult figure in the UK; he’s portrayed in the Bohemian Rhapsody movie in which he chats to Freddie Mercury and is the first to publically play the titular song. He’s also remembered as an acolyte of Margaret Thatcher, appearing at a Conservative Party Conference exhorting the Tories to ‘bomb Russia.’
Not much of Everett’s tv style is revealed in this feature debut, which takes a lead from Airplane! by offering up an endless string of gags themed around recent movies. There’s scene by scene lifts from Alien, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Shining, The Entity and others, occasionally with funny results, but many of the gags in Barry Cryer and director Ray Cameron’s script are head-scratchers today. Everett plays Lukas Mandeville, who alongside his assistant (Pamela Stevenson) attempts to spend the night in a house which is some kind of gateway to hell. The Sinister Man (Vincent Price) is responsible, but he vanishes around the hour mark without interacting with any of the main cast, leaving the film without a villain, momentum or direction.
Bloodbath at the House of Death was a notable flop back in 84, and there’s no obvious reason for its exhumation. There’s a foreshadowing of Edgar Wright’s similarly brash Hot Fuzz here, but that’s more due to the latter film’s deliberately retro style. Stephenson flashes her chest, Everett clowns with a metal leg, various tv faces (Gareth Hunt, Cleo Rocos, Sheila Steafel) acquit themselves reasonably, but the overall effect is still something of a shambles. Of all the films that might expect a streaming re-launch, this is one of the strangest to date.
Bloodbath at the House of Death is now streaming on Netflix UK.