Bloodbath at the House of Death is a British horror comedy film that was directed by Ray Cameron, releasing in 1984. It stars late comedian Kenny Everett with a featured cameo from the late great Vincent Price.
The film opens in 1975 at a place called Headstone Manor, which is being used as a “businessman’s weekend retreat and girls’ summer camp”. A few minutes into the film, a group of satanic monks enter the house and kill 18 of its occupants.
Now 1983, Doctor Lukas Mandeville (Kenny Everett) and Doctor Barbara Coyle (Pamela Stephenson) are sent to investigate radioactive readings in the area that have been traced to Headstone Manor. Along with several other scientists, Mandeville and Coyle set up their equipment in the house. Elsewhere, a 700-year-old satanic priest (Price) known as the sinister man, prepares a rite in the nearby woods to purge the house of its unwanted guests.Bloodbath at the House of Death is an excellent name for a horror film. It’s somewhat a shame that it’s wasted on this mediocre horror comedy. The opening sets the tone and makes it immediately apparent that you’re in for some very comedic happenings. I’d compare the humour to movies like Airplane, Police Academy and of course Carry On but without being nearly half as funny. It’s very slapstick at times but the general vibe continues throughout. Now, to be fair there are definitely some very funny moments. It’s just that the humour is far more miss than hit and a bit cringe in places. Also, certain jokes haven’t aged too well and may be too distasteful for some.
Kenny Everett in particular steals every scene he is in with a very over the top/eccentric performance. There are only a few laughs to be had throughout but he is involved in almost all of them. The toilet scene with him is by far the best gag in the film. Also, Vincent Price is clearly having a blast. It’s a shame that he wasn’t utilised more.
The one aspect that truly carries the movie is the actors themselves. Everyone is giving it what they’ve got. This is commendable when you consider the muddled plot and extremely basic characterisation. Many of the characters are given basic traits to define them but you can tell they are there to be nothing more than fodder.
While there is some creativity, the effects and gore all look as cheap as you can possibly imagine but it feels intentional and appropriate considering the silly tone of the film. Also, it parodies a couple of classic horror films in fairly predictable fashion. The ending screams “we have no idea how to wrap this up so let’s just throw something cheap together and end it”
Overall, if you know what to expect and don’t take things too seriously then there’s definitely fun to be had with Bloodbath at the House of Death. Not one that will live long in the memory or something you’d ever re-watch but there’s worse out there.
Bloodbath at the House of Death
The Final Score - 5/10