Friday, November 23, 2012

HOMEBODIES (1974)

I'm taking a sabbatical from the series thing.  When you reach the point of saying, "But I can't go out and drink, I have to watch all three BOGGY CREEK movies this weekend!", it's time to admit your problem and make some serious lifestyle changes.  Never fear, I'll be resuming it on and off, but until then, it's time to talk about this fun antique from the swingin' seventies.


The elderly residents of a Cincinnati tenement are being evicted so that their building can be demolished to make room for a fancy new-fangled high-rise thing.  Given that they are grizzled old people with sight issues and agoraphobia, they don't much cotton to the idea.  And, in the grand traditions of horror and black comedy, things escalate, including the body count.  


HOMEBODIES has a lot going for it!  The cast is uniformly solid and delivers on the potential of the deft script.  This is a movie that thrives on characters and the hovel full of zany oldsters is a palace for the character-conscious viewer.  Mr. Loomis, who is so dedicated to his position as building superintendent that he even paints the boarded-up windows!  Mr. Sandy, condensing a room full of papers into a book of memoirs!  Miss Emily (named after the Faulkner story?), locked inside her retiree's room, never seeing the sun!  These are our horde of killers, eventually!


Don't lick your gore chops about the killing, this is strictly lite fare done with William Castle-style wry humor.  I have inveighed against humor in horror before, but the generally-black comedy here really works.  The old lady driving scene is utterly hilarious and the ridiculousness of the situation as the film progresses keeps you engaged and entertained.  I will praise HOMEBODIES for the swiftness of the death scenes that are here.  This film really has a fetish for rapidly falling bodies and those scenes are among its most pleasant.


Perhaps it's a little too long-winded and takes it time getting going, but these grapes are only slightly sour.  Overall, HOMEBODIES delivers solid entertainment that no one will mistake for serious and meaningful (boring) art.  It's a shame that it's restricted to the grey market (as far as I know).  Even a bare-bones DVD release would be worthwhile, as I could see this getting some cult prominence strictly through word of mouth.  If nothing else, check it out for the interplay between angry old people and bitchy seventies Vannah White-type person Linda Marsh.


No comments: