Blu-ray Review: The Hearse

You should always be a little worried when you inherit a house from a relative. Sure it seems like a wonderful inheritance, but you have to ask questions about the place. Is the plumbing up to modern code? Are there any termites? Did my dead relative make a pact with Satan and perform rituals in the house to open up a portal to Hades? It can happen. Those are the questions a young school teacher doesn’t answer when she departs San Francisco for her late aunt’s house in the small community of Blackford in The Hearse.

Jane Hardy (Harry in Your Pocket‘s Trish Van Devere) departs the big city for her aunt’s old place in what she think will be a peaceful country lifestyle. Almost immediately she gets a warning when an old hearse tries to run her off the road at night. But she doesn’t get too spooked by the welcome. Walter Pritchard (Citizen Kane‘s Joseph Cotten) lets her into the place and immediately lets her know he’s ready to sell it for her. But she wants to explore putting down roots. But there’s just something wrong including items moving around her bedroom, doors unexpectedly slamming shut and strange dreams involving the locals. She even sees a ghostly face in a window when cleaning the glass. But she won’t be deterred from embracing the country life. She’s got a local teenage boy wanting to hook up with her even if his friends think otherwise (Happy Gilmore‘s Christopher McDonald). But she finds a sympathetic soul in Tom Sullivan ( Franklin & Bash‘s David Gautreaux). Somehow she feels like they’ve known each other for years. And maybe they have.

The Hearse is a bit more spooky that the Crown International double feature of Blood Mania and Point of Terror that Vinegar Syndrome recently released. The films seemed perfect for a humid summer night when you just want to relax in the air conditioning, drink sweet tea on the recliner and enjoy a ghost story. The Hearse is the best of the trio because it creates a great sense of tension with danger around ever corner, scared locals and satanic worship. Trish Van Devere has the plucky attitude that can easily feel relieved when a scary moment stops. She wants to belong in the community even if kids think she’s a ghost living in a haunted house. The legendary Joseph Cotten plays all the barbs on his real estate broker. Director George Bowers doesn’t let things lighten up too much. There’s always that hearse roaming the roads.

DVD has all the features of the Blu-ray.

Satan Get Behind Thee (20:39) has David Gautreaux discuss how not getting cast in Omen III prepared him for his role in The Hearse. He had been cast in the abandoned Star Trek: Phase II series in 1977. He talks about how his spirituality was brought into playing Tom Sullivan.

Theatrical Trailer (2:27) promises the door between living and dying is now open. There’s talk of devil worshipping and diabolical forces.

TV Spot (0:30) prepares us for haunted houses, driverless hearses and evil.

Promotional Still Gallery (1:03) features clippings from the movie’s release. You can even see a newspaper ad for Where the Buffalo Roam and The Shining. Thanks Martin Brooks for saving such cool stuff.

Vinegar Syndrome presents The Hearse. Directed by: George Bowers. Screenplay by: William Bleich. Starring: Trish Van Devere, Joseph Cotten, David Gautreaux & Donald Hotton. Rated: R. Running Time: 99 minutes. Released: May 30, 2017.

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