Saturday, December 8, 2007


Lucio Fulci returns to zombies in this 1989 film, and though it's a far cry from the movies that made him a cult film icon, it's still a decent little thriller that's worth a look.

A wealthy old couple lives in an isolated country estate filled with hundreds of clocks, which they refer to as their children. Like most rich folk, they're prone to eccentricities, such as disemboweling the maid after she discovers the corpses locked away in the chapel (the couple's niece and nephew, an ungrateful pair concerned only with their money). Before they can find replacement help, a trio of boneheaded thieves make their way inside for a home invasion-style robbery. Of course, things go awry very quickly and robbers accidentally end up killing the old couple, causing every single clock in the house to stop (including the sand in the hourglass). As the thieves ransack the place, the clocks begin to run backwards, not only enabling the past to relive itself but also setting the stage for revenge.

An interesting wrinkle in both the home-invasion and zombie genres, THE HOUSE OF CLOCKS moves at a slower pace but avoids being completely dull, with a story that won't hold up under much scrutiny but still entertains (the epilogue in which just desserts are served is a bad-film hoot). Gorehounds expecting a bloody spectacle on the scale of ZOMBIE or THE BEYOND will come away disappointed, though Fulci does sneak in a little grue to satisfy fans. More consistent with Fulci's past works are the performances (i.e. laughable dialogue poorly dubbed) and a nice Gothic atmosphere which Fulci lets go largely to waste.

Yeah, maybe it's not as fun as THE GATES OF HELL (or THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, for that matter), it's still a watchable entry in the cannon of one of the all-time zombie-film greats.

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