Blu-ray Review: The House On Tombstone Hill

How come you never see home flipping shows about trying to fix up a haunted or cursed house? Even Zombie House features no real zombies lurking on the property. All you get is annoying yuppie enablers destroying out of date kitchens. You’d figure someone would make a show featuring people buying the property that’s been on the market for decades because people can’t stop the blood from pouring from the walls and the howling of the undead trapped in the HVAC vents. The House On Tombstone Hill showed how entertaining it can be when it was made back in 1988. You might have seen it when over the decades when it was released on TV and video as either The Dead Come Home or Dead Dudes In the House. But no matter what the title, you’ll remember that home renovations can do more than destroy your bank account.

Back in 1948, a young girl sits on the sofa and sips from a straw as an old woman walks back and forth in the living room. Doesn’t seem like much except there’s a dead body in the middle of the room. Jump to 40 years later, the house is in bad shape and has a new owner. A bunch of college aged kids arrive ready to restore the place to its former glory and become their new party pad. Before they can get inside, one of them kicks over a nearby gravestone. This isn’t a good thing as it wakes up the the old woman from the beginning except she looks even older. What seems like a fun weekend of demolition, woodworking and painting turns into a nightmare. The old lady is not happy with the new owners and turns their tools against them. But this not mere teen body count film since the slain kids come back from the dead to help bring their friends to the other side of non-life.

No matter what title you want to use on The House on Tombstone Hill, the movie hits all the right spots to be a bit more scary than unintentionally funny. The special effect crew with Ed French (Sinister 2) is rather effective including fingers sliced and a squirming legs and torso. There was a reason this received a bit of late night TV action in the ’90s. At one point Troma released the film with the title Dead Dudes In The House is the promotional photo features five guys not in the movie that look like a violent version of Color Me Bad with knives and guns. Don’t be fooled into thinking the film is that kitschy. The House on Tombstone Hill reminds you why you need a good excuse to avoid fixing up a pal’s party pad.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer allows you to see the potential in fixing up the giant house and the nightmare in the executions. The audio DTS-HD MA Mono. The levels are fine so you’ll hear all the screams from down the hallway. The movie is subtitled.

DVD with all features found on Blu-ray at lesser resolution.

Audio Interview with director James Riffel (42:25) is a phone chat with the writer and director. He talks about how he wanted to make a horror film after getting out of NYU since that had the best return on investment. He recounts the incident that inspired him for this haunted house tale.

Extensive behind-the-scenes still gallery (4:33) gives a good sense of what was going on during the low budget shoot. They even had a video assist!

Three Dead Dudes (29:13) catches up with actors Mark Zobian, Victor Verhaeghe and Douglas Gibson. The trio have kept up with each other over the years. One of them remodeled the other’s bathroom. The describe the craziness of the location in the big house. Don’t watch this before the movie since you’ll discover too much about the casting.

Vinegar Syndrome presents The House on Tombstone Hill. Directed by James Riffel. Screenplay by: James Riffel. Starring: James Griffin, John Dayton Cerna, Sarah Newhouse, Douglas Gibson, Victor Verhaeghe & Mark Zobian. Rated: R. Running Time: 94 minutes. Released: September 25, 2018.

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