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Film Reviews: House of Ghosts (2012) – By Duane L. Martin
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2012 @ 12:18:46 Mountain Daylight Time by DuaneAn eccentric couple, Leigh (Sid Korpi) and Isaac (Mark Scanlan), give a dinner party for some friends, and they’ve hired some entertainment for the evening as well, but when a severe snow storm sets in and traps them all in the house overnight, it’s uncertain as to whether or not whether their entertainment will show up at all. Fortunately for the rest of the film, he does.
The entertainment for the evening is a medium (J. Andrew Wilkins), who brings along a device that’s supposed to open a portal between our world and the land of the dead. The guests all gather around as the machine lights up and its parts spin around inside, but when it’s all over…nothing happened. The medium tells them that he’s opened the door to the other side, now it’s up to them to walk through it. Everyone is underwhelmed to say the least, and Isaac gets his money back after threatening him with legal action for fraud, but once the medium’s gone, things start getting a little creepy. Suddenly, Isaac has a horrible headache and needs to go lay down. Then the other guests start having creepy, ghostly encounters, and people start turning up dead. Will anyone survive this ghostly evening? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.
I had to really limit myself in the description of the film so as to not give away any of the good stuff, but that’s essentially what the film is about. So how was it? Well…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the films of Christopher R. Mihm, he makes retro style, black and white b-movies. House of Ghosts is his latest film, and it’s a new genre for him. His previous films have revolved around mutants or outer space themes, and this one takes us into the William Castle style of ghost film.
Following in that style, Christopher himself introduces the film, much like William Castle would, and talks about a fear shield that’s given to people in the theater. William Castle was a master of theater gimmicks, and this totally pays homage to the days of the theater gimmick, which is awesome.
Now we get to the film, and immediately you’ll notice several things. First, he knows how to make his films look like classic films. Everything from the set design and props to the costumes all give his films a very classic look, and this one looks absolutely wonderful. Something else you’ll notice is the great selection of music that he uses in his films. He uses various selections of music from the period, so it not only adds to the whole vibe of the film, it also makes it a more fun and enjoyable experience.
Something else that’s a lot of fun in this film are the references to various things in his previous films. They’re done in a way where it doesn’t really matter if you get the references or not, but it’s more fun if you do.
The real fun in this film though comes from the encounters with the ghosts. There’s a skeleton in a dress and a wig (one of the guest’s dead mother). Another guest sees her dead son’s ghost, only…he’s changed into something she doesn’t recognize. Yet another guest is attacked by spiders (really fun and goofy looking fake spiders). Then there’s the Angel of Death. This is far and away the most creepy and impressive looking thing I’ve seen in any of Mihm’s films, and it’s used in such a way as to maximize the creep factor.
This film, like other of Christopher’s films, include both an English and an Esperanto dialogue track, as well as subtitles in both languages. I have no idea who speaks Esperanto, but hey, if there’s someone out there who does…there ya go. In any case, I’ve never made it any secret that I think that every movie should include optional subtitles, and all of Christopher’s films do, which is awesome. What makes it even more awesome, is that they’re more than just your normal run of the mill subtitles. He really has fun with them, including adding in little descptive things like “Star Trek close-up” and various sound effect noises and reaction descriptions that are both funny and entertaining. If you watch the film without subtitles, you’re really missing a fun aspect of the experience.
From a production standpoint, Mihm’s films started out great and just keep getting better and better. There are people out there who make retro films, but they’re usually just a one off. For Christopher Mihm, that’s his thing. It’s all he does, and when you watch one of his films, you can really see the love and appreciation he has for those great old classics from the 50′s, and he has a whole lot of fun with the genre in his own films. This particular film is perfectly paced, filled with great camera shots, makes use of some cool editing and effects, and is lit perfectly. I mention the lighting, because in a film of this nature, especially in black and white, it’s easy to end up with scenes that are too dark. The whole film is lit exactly as it needs to be, and makes really great use of shadow in a very expert way in various scenes.
The DVD of this film includes several special features, including a blooper reel, the trailer, “The Real House of Ghosts” featurette, an alternate ending, which will be particuarly funny if you’ve seen his previous films and get the reference, a photo gallery, previews, and a film introduction by horror host, Dr. Ivan Cryptosis. It also includes a behind the scenes commentary with Christopher Mihm, Mitch Gonzales and Cherie “Rhuby” Gallanti, and a separate director’s commentary with Christopher Mihm.
I’ve come to expect great films from Christopher R. Mihm, and I absolutely loved this one. I highly recommend picking yourself up a copy, and while you’re at it, get yourself copies of his previous films as well. Classic b-movie fans will probably get the most enjoyment from them, but they can be enjoyed by anyone who wants to just kick back, relax and have a great time with a film.
If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page here, and while you’re there, check out his other films as well. You won’t be sorry.
Info 101: At the movies 168: House of Ghosts-an eerie thriller
The newest film by local director/producer/writer Christopher R. Mihm has a flaw which is not shared by any recent Hollywood production. It’s too good. This opinion can be twisted sideways to mean it’s not cheesy enough for someone whose reputation is built on cheesiness. “House of Ghosts” is intended to be a tribute to the films of Willim Castle (“The House on Haunted Hill”). It is that and more, featuring the talents of several local actors with whom Mihm has worked in previous films.
In keeping with an established ‘NO SPOILERS’ policy, the film’s outline will be very basic. Isaac (Mark Scanlan) and Leigh (Sid Korpi) are a wealthy couple who delight in throwing parties for their circle of friends. On this particular evening, they have contracted a spiritual medium (Andrew Wilkins). Although this idea is scoffed at, the medium proceeds to open a portal to the afterworld. He warns his audience that there is no way to control who-or what-comes through. His departure is almost heralded by the arrival of a massive winter storm that prevents anyone from leaving the house.
Things take a severe left turn from there as the guests are forced to confront their own demons and mortality. This is where Mihm’s true talent as a director takes over. He has worked with most of these actors so often he doesn’t have to direct so much as guide. More than any other film, Mihm allows the action to dictate the story and the cast to dictate the action. This allows the audience to feel like they’re watching it live and in person.
That is the essencer of what makes this film “too good”. Mihm stays faithful to all of his signatures–a personal appearance, a “Star Wars” reference, backward hints to his previous films and music that is integral to the storyline. Time cannot move quickly enough toward next Memorial Day and the release of his next project-“The Giant Spider”. “House of Ghosts” can be purchased on DVD at www.sainteuphoria.com.
It was Wednesday, May 23, 2012. The skies were darkening, a threat of severe weather imminent, as people lined up around the block to see the world premiere of Christopher R. Mihm’s B&W 1950s drive-in-style B-movie, House of Ghosts.
We had a sold-0ut show, with just a few scalpers out front selling available-at-the-last-minute tickets.
My gown cost me $6.99 at a Goodwill store! I borrowed a genuine antique brooch from my friend Carol Johnson. Many enthusiastic fans arrived in vintage clothing of their own, and they deserve some runway recognition.
PRLog (Press Release) – May 02, 2012 -
Arden Hills writer/director Christopher R. Mihm is the king of new old, good bad movies. Known as Minnesota’s own Roger Corman (“Little Shop of Horrors”), he brings to life spot-on re-creations of the B&W 1950s-drive-
Well despair not. Diehard fans who are kicking themselves for failing to order their tickets early have been issued a reprieve of sorts. Mihm’s message to them: “If you chose to snooze on buying your tickets to the World Premiere of ‘House of Ghosts’ at the Heights Theater, you lost because that show is 100% sold out. We have, however, scheduled a second chance for you to experience this awesome B-movie in another great theater, the New Hope Cinema Grill.”
“House of Ghosts” screens at the New Hope Cinema Grill for a special “dinner-and-a-movie” event! Mark your calendar for Thurs., June 7, 7:00–10:00PM.
“Do NOT delay this time,” Mihm advises. “The Heights holds 400 and it sold out. The Cinema Grill theater holds about 150. Do the math. Get your tickets TODAY if you know what’s good for you! This is an exceedingly rare opportunity.”
Located in a suburb of Minneapolis, the New Hope Cinema Grill is a full-service restaurant (with three showrooms) that offers a variety of entertainment, including movies, live standup comedy, sporting events, and the latest film from writer/director Christopher R. Mihm! The New Hope Cinema Grill is also one of the select establishments serving Surly beer on tap!
This screening of the newest Mihmiverse film is in the perfect setting for the whole family. For only $15.99 a ticket, you’ll be treated to a screening of “House of Ghosts” and a kid-friendly all-you-can-eat pizza/salad/pop buffet. PLUS, alcoholic beverages will be sold on-site to make the evening that much more enjoyable for those inclined to partake in adult libations!
A Q&A with writer/director Christopher R. Mihm and a few of the actors and behind-the-scenes folks from the film will follow the screening. DVDs and other merchandise will also be on sale at the event.
Check out the official movie trailer at
Advance tickets are now available! Check out the events section of the http://www.SaintEuphoria.com merchandise page to order yours right now!
New Hope Cinema Grill, 2749 Winnetka Avenue North, New Hope, MN 55427
With “House of Ghosts,” his first supernatural thriller, writer/director Christopher R. Mihm pays tribute to the works of the master of classic horror, William Castle! (“The Tingler,” “House on Haunted Hill,” “13 Ghosts”)
Rich socialites Isaac and Leigh have a tradition of throwing exclusive dinner parties that include unique (and expensive) forms of entertainment. This time, they’ve booked a spiritual medium who promises to “open a portal to the great beyond” and allow the couple’s equally eccentric guests to contact the “afterworld.” But, before he begins his presentation, the occultist offers a warning: once the door has been opened, no human being can anticipate or control what might come through. Regardless, the group collectively agrees to go forward, only to find itself greatly disappointed by the results… at first. Trapped in the couple’s oversized house by a massive winter storm, the partygoers begin to experience unexplainable and increasingly frightening things. As these occurrences intensify, it becomes apparent that something evil is at work. Can the group survive the night or will ignoring the medium’s warning be the last thing they ever do?
Mike Cook, Justen Overlander, Michael Kaiser, Sid Korpi, Mark Scanlan, Stephanie Mihm,
James Norgard, Catherine Hansen, Andrew Wilkins, Mark Haider, Anthony Kaczor, and
Christopher R. Mihm as himself