bloody shower, breathing mirror, burned alive in a car, Joan Bennett, Lisa Eilbacher, love under duress, Parker Stevenson, Slim Pickens, soft rock, they know everything about your house at the local library
This classic TV movie begins with a pair of teenagers sneaking onto the property of a big mansion to fool around, but an invisible force turns the water hose on them! This might be the only bit of humor in the film. Next our point of view travels into the uninhabited house, where the TV is playing a concert by Parker Stevenson who, although very attractive, is not the best singer I have ever heard. He collapses on stage and we go to a hospital in San Francisco, where he befriends a nurse and hires her to go on vacation with him. They drive aimlessly, and end up buying the mansion from the beginning!
This might make you think that the force in the house is concerned with Parker Stevenson’s character, but really it wants the nurse for reasons I will not disclose because spoilers. How the spirit or whatever in the house knew ahead of time that the soft rock singer Stevenson would meet the nurse is never explained, nor do we ever find out what is haunting the house, but this is a minor complaint in horror movie land where we have just learned over time to accept plot holes like these.
We get in exchange for our suspension of disbelief, among other things, a really bitchy ex-girlfriend of our singer taking a shower which sprays her with blood and makes her flee. We also get Joan Bennett as a weird old bag lady who knows what is going on with the house, and she gets boiled to death in a pool inside the house which I never noticed until that scene. Slim Pickens has a nice role as Stevenson’s manager, until he runs afoul of the house, that is. Best of all, we get a lot of scenes where people with the dry look use the word “sensational.” And isn’t that what 1981 was all about?
I wish This House Possessed had been better paced, because the slowness and overly long running time left me enough attention span to look at the IMDb and Wikipedia pages of everyone in the movie while watching. They could have used that extra time to stick in some explanation for what was going on other than the little bit we got from Joan Bennett before she was fricasseed. But I was able to pay attention to both the movie and what I was reading. You would be surprised at how often I do that, and it could explain my seeming forgiveness for all things supernatural and my low standards in cinematic taste. Anyway, watching This House Possessed was a pleasant way to spend a Tuesday morning at home, which is more than I can say for actually living at the possessed house in question. Just remember as always with these haunted house movies: the moral of the story is, if you are driving along, and you feel a mysterious compulsion to buy an impractical old mansion, DON’T!