House of Forbidden Secrets
HOUSE OF FORBIDDEN SECRETS (2013)
WRITER: Screenplay by Todd Sheets
DIRECTOR: Todd Sheets
STARRING: Antwoine Steele as Jacob Hunt
Nicole Santorella as Cassie Traxler
Bryan David as Jackson Kincade
Paxton Tarbell as Hannah Martin
Brad Westmar as Wayne Harris
Millie Milan as Tamara Davis
Iris Runyon as Dorothy Fremont
Lew Temple as Father Elias Solomon
Dyanne Thorne as Greta Gristina
George Hardy as Bruce Kane
Howard Maurer as Klaus Gruber
Allan Kayser as Brad Dekker
QUICK CUT: A new night watchman starts his first day on the job, and spends the night getting to know the quirky characters who get trapped inside with him.
Jacob - A night watchman who is a bit religious, a bit afraid of the supernatural, but always there when the chips are down.
Cassie - A local psychic who can actually do what she claims. She’s loyal and friendly, and probably should know better than to mess with this stuff…
Hannah - She’s a friend of Cassie’s super curious about the mystical world, and probably shouldn’t poke at what she doesn’t understand.
Jackson - One of the guys working at the Manor, who is sweet on Hannah
Father Elias Solomon - A priest from the 30s who didn’t practice what he preached, and now infests the manor.
TRISK ANALYSIS: Welcome back, Triskelions! Can you believe July is almost over? Well, it is, and I have a secret for you. Forbidden secrets. A whole house of them. Yep, it's the fairly recent, but still perfect for Trisk, House of Forbidden Secrets! I came across this last year, I think, and it hit all the right notes, with a bunch of familiar faces. So I am just gonna dive right into this.
The movie wastes zero time as well, as the first shot we see is the entrails of a woman displayed out in front of us, and a young woman beside her freaking out at unseen threats. While the cold open is great, it does ruin a bit of the stuff to come, even if it does give us something to keep us intrigued.
In front of Hannah, the eviscerated woman awakens as her flashlight goes out, and a series of shambling creatures grab her and tear her apart.
After the credits, we jump back to the start of the evening, as new night watchman Jacob shows up for his first night at Shadowview Manor, which has been converted into offices. Jason Voorhees greets him, and heads off to meet up with mom, and I AM NOT JOKING, that is the original Jason, and he says that line.
Jacob goes to meet Mr. Kane, the building manager, and also the dad from Troll 2. Oh yes, there are a mumber of familiar faces in this. From there, we go through more meeting the canon fodder for the movie, for awhile.
This is a wicked busy place for office spaces in the middle of the night. Even more so, because some people just so happen to be doing a seance of all things, hoping to summon some spirit of the husband of a recently widowed woman.
Oh, and for bonus fun, we meet a camera crew from a local channel that's going to cover that seance and end up dead.
A handyman pal of Kane's shows up and is sent down to the basement to fix a crack in the walls. At 9 at night. Like I said, a LOT of after dark activity here. It'll keep Jacob busy, I guess?
Hannah recruits Jackson and Jacob to join the seance, because more bodies mean more people to be cursed in their dark rites.
Before that can start though, we cut back over to Kane, who has some weird things going on, thinking he's being pranked on by the tenants. Until he gets so angry and he does the thing!! If you know the actor, you know what I mean.
Then Hannah gets called by her daughter, being taken care of by her cameo, Lloyd Kaufman. The scene really serves no purpose besides that.
So the seance begins, and goes without a hitch...hahaha, yeah right. That would be a boring movie. But before we can get to the good stuff, we gotta check in on the basement.
The handyman finds the tiny crack, which has now opened up to a full blown doorway, as proven by the trio of babes that come out of it.
And if that crack looks familiar, it's very much like the gateway from The Beyond. And along with that, he also found the soundtrack from the same movie. Which is...kinda awesome, to be fair. They got Fabio Frizzi to do music, and that is just fine.
While Brad gets torn apart by the women, we go back to the seance and Cassie starts chanting in another language. This new presence possessing her begins ranting about evil and prostitutes, until she flings herself back, and the widow bolts out of there, under Jacob's watchful eye.
The actress playing Cassie is INTENSE and she really sells it. A definite highlight of the movie.
Jacob gets the widow to her car, heads back inside, and misses her being strangled by the strange evil minions. Hey, he's the night watchman of the building, once you outside, you not his problem!
He meets up with Jackson as he does some rounds, and they talk about the seance. Jacob is freaked out because he has a religious background and believes, but Jackson is pretty sure everything will be just fine!
A Clue: It was not just fine.
They find Kane's empty office, hear some weird noises, and go to get prepared to look around for him. After that, they go to find the girls and get everyone out as safely as possible.
Before they can leave, Cassie feels that something bad happened here, and says the spirits won't let them leave. Jacob's not about to let that stop him from getting the fuck outta here! ...Until he can't unlock the doors.
Cassie and Jackson head down to the basement to get Brad, and the rest hit the security room to keep an eye on the cameras.
Just as they get the door open though, some hands grab Hannah and drag her into the darkness, slamming the door shut behind her.
Inside the room, Cassie finds Mrs. Freemont with her guts ripped out and heeeey.
...Look, I know, that's not REALLY fair, but damnit, I haven't used that episode in what, years? It's fair game, let me have my fun!
After we deal with the deja vu, everyone shows up at he door, but can't get it open, because evil magic lock company.
Jacob tries to bash the door in with a crowbar, but it slips out of his hands and...hilariously embeds itself in the chest of the news reporter, killing her. Nice one.
As Hannah dies, a priest arrives to preach at her, and ugh. That IS the worst way to go. But the door finally opens on its own, and everyone says hey! Let's rush into the basement towards all the creaming, that should be safe! But you know what they find?
Jacob assesses the situation, and is basically at the point of "Fuck this shit, I'm out!" He's seen plenty of horror movies to know his ass is on the line.
They think they find Hannah on the security cameras, and lovestruck Jackson rushes off to find her, because that worked so well the last time.
Jackson finds her standing at the end of a hallway, looking pretty good for an eviscerated corpse, and he rushes towards her. And yet another door slams shut and locks behind him.
Our star-crossed lovers end up in a church somehow, and the priest returns to ramble on some more. Father Solomon eventually commands his minions to go all Roman times on Jackson, and they crucify him.
Again, he looks pretty good for someone who just had his guts ripped out.
Our remaining three characters finally get through the door, and Cassie gets drawn to a storage room full of junk. Junk which she gets some vibes off of and sends us into an extended flashback.
It details Father Elias Solomon, visiting a brothel, repeatedly, until things go sour and there's a massacre. Now, we're supposed to believe these are in olden times. Maybe the 30s? But it sure looks more like a flashback to last week.
This is one of those annoying flashbacks that goes in depth with characters not involved in the A plot at all, save for Elias, and it goes on far too long. It needed more of Cassie and friends, or voiceover, or something.
We get too in depth with Elias's hooking habits, and oops! Looks like he got his favourite girl pregnant! Ilsa tries to blackmail him out of money for silence, what with him being a man of God with a reputation.
Eventually, Elias returns with the goon squad, declaring, "Let us cleanse this unholy temple!" Cleanse it...WITH MURDER! as his crew goes to town on the brothel.
Oh, and it's worth noting...I'm pretty sure every evil entity is witnessed in the brothel, becoming angry spirits to attack them later.
But at least we finally go back to our main characters after that lengthy distraction, as they continue to wander aimlessly, until they find a little girl. Who has no face.
Jacob asks if Cassie thinks this has anything to do with the seance, and she just kinda shrugs and says she doesn't know. When the correct answer is FUCK YES OF COURSE IT DOES YOU FOOLS.
They argue for a bit, trying to figure out what is going on, and they don't really come up with any answers, because this has gotten weird.
Also, this basement has sure gotten big. It used to just have one room, and now it is a labrynthine hive of corridors.
They stumble around and enter yet another room, and before they can run into the crew from Mutilations, Jacob shouts out what the hell is that??
So they stare at this large gluttonous demon sitting atop a throne, surrounded by people chained up to him, and they decide the only way out is through.
Jacob and Cassie make it through, but Wayne gets grabbed and torn apart just like everyone else. The gore is decent enough, at least.
Our two remaining survivors keep wandering around, running aimlessly trying to find something, anything, a Cassie, a way out, a bathroom, the plot...
They wander around so long, that they stumble into the flashbacks as they're being filmed. They try and intervene, but it's events that have already happened, and they can't stop what's happening. A fact Elias revels in tormenting them with.
Also, they show a large chunk of what we already saw, and I will resist Ozymandias a second time.
So we go through Even More Running after our survivors watch the massacre, and eventually come on a room with some blood scrawled on the walls.
Cassie senses that it's a portal, and tries to open it and uh, in WHAT WORLD IS MESSING WITH A GLOWING BLOOD SPLATTERED PENTAGRAM EVER A GOOD IDEA??
As Elias draws closer, Cassie gets it open and they jump through the cosmic sink drain to something resembling more safety than where they are, I guess.
They find themselves back upstairs, and Cassie declares, What if EVERYONE is back!! Why would that thought even cross your mind? Hey! I just escaped a murderer that caught all my friends, but now that I'm back home, maybe THEY ARE TOO!
So they rush upstairs to check for this improbable outcome, and...huh. They ARE back. I mean, back in the room. They're still DEAD, just now it looks like everyone died around the seance table.
Yes, everyone, including Cassie and Jacob and...what.
Video: If this looked bad, and came out just a few years ago? I’d be pissed. But it looks just fine.
Audio: Everything’s great, but that music is a definite highlight.
Sound Bite: "If you're not gonna try and save yourself, at least try to save ME!"
Body Count: A very nice body count, even if a majority comes from a single scene of slaughter.
1 - Cain dies 17 minutes in
2 - Brad gets his face ripped off by the basement babes.
3 - Mrs. Fremont gets mauled in her car.
4 - Hannah gets ripped apart
5 - Tamara gets accidentally crowbarred.
6 - Jackson gets torn up and crucified.
7 - Wayne gets grabbed and eaten
8 - Priest's hooker girlfriend beheaded
9 - Klaus gets gutted
10 - Elias kills one of his minions
11 - And the other one.
12 - Hannah finds her own dead body.
13 - Poor Jacob is dead too.
And somewhere in there is a brothel massacre I couldn’t properly count.
Best Corpse: Hannah wins the award this week, for a nicely graphic scene of being ripped apart and dined on.
Blood Type - B-: Very nice, lots of blood, and decent gore effects.
Sex Appeal: Some fun sexytimes in the brothel, but most clothes remain on.
Drink Up! Every time a door is discovered to be locked and unopenable.
Movie Review: This is very solid. The cameos don’t quite get in the way of the plot, which is nice. The story is solid, even if we spend too much time in the flashbacks. It’s a bit strange and ends ambiguously and even stranger, but since it’s a bit of an homage to The Beyond, that works. It’s got good kills, moves briskly, and is a solid enough ride. Four out of five bloody entrails.
Entertainment Value: There’s nothing so hilariously bad or campy to latch onto here, but the acting is solid, as I said, and the plot stands on its own, when it doesn’t crumble at the end. But it’s kinda meant to, so that’s not a mark against it. It’s fun, it’s bloody, and has a few solid enough highlights without being laughable. Three out of five locked doors.