Kids are scary. Clowns are scary. Dolls are scary. Mix them all together and you’ve got something that’s pretty darn scary. Well….sort of.
Enter Ghost House, a late 80s slice of cheese that has all three of these elements but just misses the mark in terms of being truly frightening. However, it still manages to be entertaining in its own charming way.
Amateur ham radio fan Paul and his girlfriend Martha receive a call of distress and decide to track down where it came from. This leads them to an old abandoned house where they meet a group of vacationers who have taken up temporary residence there. But unbeknownst to everyone, the house is also inhabited by the ghost of a little girl who is oddly attached to her creepy clown doll. And then strange things start to happen.
Let me start off by saying that Ghost House is not what you would call a ‘well put together’ film. The plot is negligible, the acting is atrocious and the special effects aren’t anything to write home about. Hardly a glowing recommendation, right? But you don’t watch a movie like this for the plot or the acting. No, you watch this movie for the sheer goofiness of it. And Ghost House has that in spades.
First of all, there’s a lot of fun horror clichés in this film. The old dark house, people disappearing one by one, blood coming out of faucets, a vehicle that won’t start at an inopportune time and one creepy girl with one creepy doll. This could be tedious, but instead there’s a nice bit of silliness about it all that somehow works in the movie’s favor.
Second of all – that clown doll. It doesn’t really attack, except in one silly scene that’s more laugh-inducing than terrifying, but it doesn’t need to. The thing manages to scare you witless just by sitting there. The presence of the doll is always announced with a creepy backwards nursery rhyme that will get stuck in your head. I’m sure the song alone is enough to recommend this movie. It’s that scary.
Most people who have seen Ghost House remember the film fondly, if only for the doll and the nursery song, and the movie is an enjoyable enough ride. Just don’t expect too much more than that.
Rating: 6 out of 10