Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Horror House on Highway 5


WRITER: Richard Casey

DIRECTOR: Richard Casey

STARRING: Phil Therrien as Dr. Marbuse
    Max Manthey as Gary
    Irene F as Sally Smith
    Michael Castagnolia as The Pothead
    Gina Christiansen as Louise

QUICK CUT: A group of students are given an assignment to do a term paper on a German rocket scientist, and their research into his life is not an easy one.


    Marbuse - A bit of a mad scientist, a bit of a horrible person, a bit of an odd duck.

    Gary- Marbuse's assistant, and none too bright, but there's a good person buried in there somewhere, even if he goes about things in a very "Can I pet the rabbits?" way sometimes.

 We'll leave the light on for ya.

We'll leave the light on for ya.

THE GUTS: Welcome back, Triskelions!  Happy All Saints Day, and I hope y'all had a wonderful Octoberween.  I had a blast doing my movie marathon, and thanks to anyone who joined in!  But it's now November, and I thought I'd slip into watching a really cheap, no budget sorta slasher, with Horror House on Highway Five.  It's from the same guy that did Hellbent, one of my Christmas movies last year, and stars one of Satan's minions.  This also marks Trisk's 250th review.  Wow!

It opens up with Dr. Marbuse showing tarot cards to his dimwitted assistant Gary, and trying to teach him how to read.  He also tries to explain that "La Morte" is love.  "But it's a skeleton!"  "No look, he's smiling!  Love!"  It brings us love!  KILL IT!

Meanwhile, a woman is wandering around her house, when a guy sneaks in wearing a Richard Nixon mask.  Truly terrifying.  But it's just her boyfriend trying to play a prank on her.  Whew!  I'm sure they'll be fine from here on...No wait, boyfriend heads back out to the car and gets killed.  The killer takes his mask, and keeps it throughout the movie.

 I am not a corpse!

I am not a corpse!

So obviously, he moves on to kill the girlfriend, and there's a bit of a chase around the house.  I love the foley work when she falls into the glass table, and it continues to be wonderfully crunchy.  But she eventually dies, and the movies moves onwards.

We cut from there to a classroom where the teacher is assigning groups.  And he writes everything on his board in abbreviations.  That's fine for maybe the group members' initials, but he keeps going and doing it while talking, and it ends up being a jumble of alphabet soup.

He assigns some of his students to do a report on a German scientist called Bartholomew who worked on the V2 rockets during WW2.  He sends some of them off to the middle of nowhere along Highway 5 so they can work on it.  That...that is the most convoluted excuse for a plot setup I've ever heard.  "Go work on your project in this old gravel pit, it's plenty secluded!"  "My parents aren't home, I should be f..." "GRAVEL PIT!!"

 I don't know what's more of a stretch, that plot or him going for the map.

I don't know what's more of a stretch, that plot or him going for the map.


So she goes to his apartment, gets past doorman Gary, and the...writing and acting is laughable.  I don't think Marbuse is too sure of his lines, because he keeps walking off, walking back, and practically repeating everything Sally is saying.


Gary burns lunch so the smoke, and general atmosphere screaming GET OUT causes Sally to leave.  But Moreboozey sends his Renfield off to grab her before she can escape.  Oh good, her professor sent her to a kidnap shack.  Which makes me wonder if he knew this would happen, but that's never explained.

So Gary runs off with the chloroform and sack to grab Sally...but comes back with the wrong girl.  Sigh, if you want someone kidnapped, you gotta do it yourself.  They then take the body out and leave her to wake up on a park bench somewhere and never be seen again.

 Her name's Abby Normal!

Her name's Abby Normal!

We briefly see Louise studying rockets with her cat over in movie B, and surprise of surprises, Sally actually returns to Marbuse's that night like she said she would.

The prof offers to make one of his 'special beverages' he probably learned to make from Bill Cosby.  He hands the mug to Gary to hand to her, and that's a trial and a half.  If you want something done right, DON'T HAVE GARY DO IT.

Sally tries to talk to Gary, make him question the way Margebus treats him, and he makes the leap to, "You're right!  I'LL KILL HIM!!  Where is my hammer??"

 CAP: I am not being suspicious at all, have a drink!

CAP: I am not being suspicious at all, have a drink!

But she's thirsty and asks for her drink already.  And because Gary is it to her, so it all works out for the kidnappers in the end.

They cart her off to some remote location, near the gravel pit, where Bartholomew lived, so they can perform dark rituals on her for some reasons.  Great, Marbuse is a member of the Thule Society.

Gary warms up an iron to use to mark and or burn Sally, but he clearly made a connection with her, as he's reluctant to hurt her.  I mean, besides the drugging and kidnapping.

 CAP: Nothing here makes sense, and looks like kids playing in the clubhouse.

CAP: Nothing here makes sense, and looks like kids playing in the clubhouse.

He does do some burning, but he stops when she passes out.  Marmelade isn't happy about that, so asks for the iron to do it himself.  I'm not sure if it's Gary being Gary, or Gary being rebellious, but he puts the iron in the doctor's hand, and yes, hot side down.

While Morburnsy tries to fix his hand, Gary starts to unshackle Sally and ultimately she doesn't get very far...but let's get back to movie #2 with Louise and the pothead head off to the gravel put to play with rockets.  Which, okay, makes sense, but still feels like such a convoluted explanation.

Louise does a terrible parking job, and Pothead freaks out because, "The chemicals, we could have been exploded!"

 CAP: He still hasn't cleaned his forehead since Ash Wednesday.

CAP: He still hasn't cleaned his forehead since Ash Wednesday.

Back at the gravel pit, Louise is doing all the work while Pothead sleeps.  ...Look, he has a name, I don't remember it, and if the movie can't be bothered to do more than credit him as "The Pothead" then neither can I.

Anyways, he wakes up in the van, and discovers there's a dead cat back there with him.  This.  Will never be explained.

He goes to throw the cat out in the trash, and discovers a dead homeless guy by the barrel...who then disappears.  This.  Will also never be explained.

I sense a disturbing trend here.

 CAP: I am high on Peyote, I scored from La Mancha, that's the name of my dealer you know...

CAP: I am high on Peyote, I scored from La Mancha, that's the name of my dealer you know...

He may be high as balls, but the Pothead has the sensible idea of getting out of there.  And wouldn't ya know it, the van won't start!

Meanwhile, a couple is driving down the road, but the guy behind the wheel is drunk and almost runs into Tricky Dick.  He gets out of the car to give the President a piece of his mind, and gets that mind smashed all over his car.  He lives for a bit longer to try and drive off, ends up hitting Nixon, and dies at the wheel.

The Dead President somehow survives, and the girlfriend runs off, and we're back to Pothead and Louise sitting around playing with rockets.  Which they use to rig up bombs around the van.

Back in plot A, Marbuse is studuing his magic Omega book, and maggots keep falling on the pages.  And he's convinced they're coming out of his skull, the brain parasites are infesting his mind!

 This script makes no sense!!

This script makes no sense!!

Marbuse wanders off to deal with his mind maggots, and Sally tries to talk Gary into letting her go, and they can be together.  But he ain't THAT dumb.

The girlfriend on the run finds her way to Marbuggy's house, so now he has two victims to offer up to Bart.  She wanders around a bit after Marbuse scares her off, and she barricades herself in the room no one should go in for now.

So it's back to Louise and Pothead, who are getting antsy sitting around, and Pothead wanders off to try and find help. ...He finds the dead couple from the start of the movie, and takes it all in stride.

Pothead waders around Casa Maggotbuddy, and we hear bad foley of things flying by his head.  We don't SEE anything, so no idea what it is, where it's hitting or anything.  This hilariously culminates when he stands in front of a big window and things get shot/thrown at him, but no one thought to put in a sound of hitting the glass.

He stumbles around and pulls a Sideshow Bob.  I shit you not, he steps on a rake and clobbers himself in the face with the handle.  Just before he can do it again, he goes one better; he trips and falls...landing face first on the pointy end.

 CAP: He needed this like he needs another hole in the head.

CAP: He needed this like he needs another hole in the head.

Back at the van, Louise is getting freaked out, because she's all alone, in a creepy van, in a creepy sandpit, surrounded by bombs.  With added bonus of there being an actual serial killer slapping the sides of the van.

Meanwhile over in plot...c?  Whatever.  Sally talks Gary into dancing, which is more like violent shaking.  She also talks him into undoing her shackle so she can dance easier.  He IS that dumb.  While he's busy convulsing, she makes a run for it, but doesn't make it far at all.

Louise arrives and unchains Sally, but Gary arrives with a blunt object, killing his only friend.  Louise sneaks off, and lurks around the house for a bit, searching for a plot.

She starts to be attacked by bad foley, and eventually finds the girlfriend from earlier, whose dead now.

Louise then runs into Pothead, still stumbling around, and he warns her not to pull the rake out, which is sage advice to give.  But she does it anyways, and he dies right then and there.

Meanwhile, Maggotbrains starts to write a note for Gary, revealing several important plot twists I barely care about; Gary is his brother, and the Nazi scientist is their father, and is the one running around as Nixon.

 Driller Killer Part 2

Driller Killer Part 2

She runs off, and he follows to the van, setting off the bombs, and then getting a socket wrench to the face.  Take that, Marbashy!  My only complaint here is, they should've done a payoff of a smashed to bits bloody skull full of maggots.

But she still has Mojo Nixon to deal with, and she shoots him with her improvised rocket bazooka.  Which she was working on because she was studying Bart's rocket designs.  OH THE DELICIOUS IRONY!  Hoisted by your rocket petard!

Nixon takes a licking and keeps on ticking though, and keeps coming after her despite all he's been through.

 CAP: This is one time I would've allowed an 'it was all a dream!' ending.  This movie was bug nutty.

CAP: This is one time I would've allowed an 'it was all a dream!' ending.  This movie was bug nutty.

Louise wakes up near the highway, probably the titular Highway Five, and a kind soul in a van pulls up to give her a ride.

But because this is a horror movie, there has to be one final twist, and this relies so heavily on coincidence, and makes zero sense.  "Hey, I have Richard Nixon in the back, which you clearly can't see from your seat here.  So I want you to get out, walk to the back of the van, and get pulled back IN by Nixon, okay!"

The driver is involved in this, has Nixon in the van, and rather than just killing her, he pulls over and tells her to get some hot chocolate from the back.

She slips free though, and runs away as the van drives off, and thus ends Random Shit Happens and Nothing is Resolved: The Movie.

 CAP: We...we could just stop the van?  Go get her?  No?  Gonna keep driving?  Uh, okay then...

CAP: We...we could just stop the van?  Go get her?  No?  Gonna keep driving?  Uh, okay then...

We have a guy running around in a Richard Nixon mask.  Why?  We don't know!  He's going around killing people.  Why?  We don't know, except Nazi!  We have a dead Nazi scientist in the basement who's now not dead.  Why?  We don't know!!  He has a pair of sons with an ancient tome of something.  Why?  WE DON'T KNOW.  Where did the driver of the van come from, who is he, what does he have to do with anything??  WE.  DON'T.  KNOW.


Video: I am surprised how good this looks.  This FEELS like it should be some grainy, gritty, barely seeable footage you can barely make out.  It's THAT kinda movie.  But Vinegar Syndrome did a stellar job cleaning it up.

Audio: With just as much of a solid job on the audio, naturally.

Sound Bite: "The chemicals!  We could've been exploded!"

Body Count: Nixon does not shy away from a minor slaughter, that's for sure.

1 - Four minutes in and Tricky Dick gets killed in his car and his ID stolen.
2 - Girlfriend killed shortly afterwards
3 - Dead guy found in the trash?
4 - Drunk guy bashed into his car by Nixon.
5 - Nixon kills his girlfriend in the basement
6 - Girl dies from Gary bashing her head in
7 - Pothead dies when Louise removes the rake from his face.
8 - Marbuse gets his head bashed in with a crowbar

Best Corpse: Pothead dying from the rake being removed is fucking hilarious to me.

Blood Type - C+: I feel like there could have been more, but what they use, they use well.

Sex Appeal: Poor Sally...

Drink Up! This is one of those where you just keep drinkin' my friends.

Movie Review: As much as I made fun of it, the plot is more straightforward than I give it credit for.  There's a mad scientist trying to do dark rites, but the girls keep causing problems.  But there's all that Random Shit happening, and it just goes nowhere.  The acting is nothing to write home about, all the production values are low.  Two out of five brain parasites.

Entertainment Value: This movie is a trip.  It is Mister Marbuse's Wild Ride from start to finish.  This is everything I look for in something to Trisk.  I genuinely love Marbuse's quirky performance, whether it's inexperience, or bad takes, or by design, it's just so wonderfully weird.  Which sums this whole movie up.  Weirdly fun, campy as hell, grimy grindhouse slasher madness.  Five out of five rocket bazookas.