This is not a good sign.
"From the creators of 'FEEDERS,'" the box proudly declares. That's like saying, "From Germany, the country that brought you the Third Reich." The box also displays the insignia of Dead Alive Productions, the company whut done brung you "Mr. Ice Cream Man." For the record, the box also contains a misspelling writer/director/producer/actor John Polonia's name. And not his last name, either. I guess "Jhon" missed that little glitch when this Super Bowl of bad filmmaking went to the printers. The Polonia brothers, the criminal masterminds behind "Feeders" and "Feeders 2," are back with another strike against all that is well and good in this world. This time, they call it "The House That Screamed." The concept of the haunted house has been a favorite subject of movies since "The Haunting of Hill House" (remade as "The Haunting") and "The House on Haunted Hill" (remade as "The House on Haunted Hill"). This cinematic kick in the testicles adds a new twist to the classic plot - the main character knows the house is haunted. In fact, that's why he decided to move in. Perhaps that is why I find it puzzling that he is so surprised to find that there are ghosts in the house. I guess he thought it was haunted by pie. In any event, the movie uses every haunted house cliche in the book and somehow manages to screw up every one of them. I'm not saying I disliked the film, I'm just saying that I'd rather rip all of my teeth out with rusty pliers, make them into a comb, and use the comb made of my own teeth to scrape all of my skin off than watch it again.
This is a worse sign.
The terror begins like any good movie should - with pointless nudity. The opening shot is of a woman taking off her clothes and getting into a shower. For the next few minutes, we are treated to a montage of stairs and the woman washing her soapy, wet breasts to the sound of heavy breathing. Her face gets about three frames of screen time, but there are a good two minutes devoted to the woman scrubbing her breasts. Just when you start to think that this is an educational film about breast cleanliness, there are some insultingly bad lightning graphics over a black background, and the shot changes to a graveyard background that is either really poorly drawn, or filmed by dumbasses. It's hard to tell in a Polonia brothers picture. Text scrolls over the background while the worst narrator in human history reads it. The narration is so godawful that I have no choice but to reproduce here in its entirety, with the original punctuation and spelling.
By the turn of the century, the year 2000, most of lifes mysteries will have been answered or solved.
All but one.
The question... Is there life after death? What becomes of one's soul after passing on? Do we reach a higher plateau of existence, or do we roam the earth for an eternity watching the lives of others pass before us?
We may never know
One thing is certain, however, sometimes, restless souls stay on. They don't pass to the other world. Their supernatural existence is a cruel, terrifying game. Their sole purpose; To attack that which they do not possess... LIFE.
They are called by many names... Phantoms, Ghosts, Specters, Ghouls, Spirits, or even Apparitions. Innocent people are preyed upon by these unseen forces causing them to flee, faint, be driven mad, or even commit horrendous acts upon others or themselves.
"Hauntings", as they are called, can occur anywhere or anyplace. They can last from a few days or weeks, to decades or even centuries. So-called "Haunted Houses" can be found almost anywhere. In your town, on your street. You could even be living in one right now.
Looks can be deceiving...
Feel the horror of improper apostrophe and comma usage! Tremble at the might of "apparitions," a word with four whole syllables! Quake in fear of the Polonia brothers' grasp of technical terms like "hauntings!" Wonder how the Polonias figured all but one of life's mysteries would be solved by the year 2000 when this movie was made in 1999! Now, imagine that text being read by a narrator who makes Stephen Hawking sound overly emotional. Welcome to "The House That Screamed." My name is Ben. I'll be your suicide doctor this evening.
Silly amorphous blob! That human gun will have no effect on you!
Shots of various ordinary houses flash on the screen. For each one, the narrators says, "This is a haunted house," emphasizing a different word every time. The shots are accompanied by a shrill noise that sounds like a seagull being electrified. The Polonias use that sound any time something supposedly surprising happens. In many cases that was the only way I could tell I was supposed to be scared. We move on to some interior shots of a house, followed by close-ups of people shaking their heads rapidly. People who shake their heads rapidly are frightening, I guess. So frightening, in fact, that they force a girl to sit down at her kitchen table and put a gun in her mouth. I'd like to take a moment to say that the girl is supposedly eight years old. I say she's forty-two, or at least a bloated twenty-six, but Lowtax says she's eight, and if I disagree with him he'll make me watch this movie again, so she's eight. As I was saying, we shift to the window, where we see a flash and hear a sound that seems to suggest that the gun was not only unloaded, but also made of papier mache. An inappropriate amount of time later, a blotch of blood, or possibly hair, hits the window. Blood in a Polonia brothers movie typically has the consistence of a dead muskrat, and this is no exception. At last, we get to the title screen. Seriously. All of that crap took place before the damn title. That does not bode well for the rest of the movie.
Between the introductory credits, we are treated to various shots of the interior of a house shot in color negative mode. Color negative mode is the Polonia's way of telling us that we are looking at something evil, but not surprising, and thus not worthy of the electric seagull sound. The scene changes to exterior shots of a house on fire. The roof collapses and the walls cave in, revealing that the house is empty, in the sense of not having floors, furniture, or any physical matter of any kind other than four walls and a roof. At least the owners didn't lose anything valuable. Oh wait, they lost a kid, as evidenced by a bald man kneeling on the grass beside the burning wreckage with a little boy in his arms, screaming, "Nooooooooooooooooo!" Apparently this fire was that newfangled kind that doesn't burn, as neither the father nor his dead son have so much as a mark on them. Also, the kid's death was apparently that newfangled kind that doesn't kill people, as the kid does a good job of kicking and flailing throughout the entire scene. Remember, you can't spell "quality" without "Polonia." Oh wait, I was thinking of "Q." You can't spell "quality" without "Q."
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
Something Awful reviews the absolute worst movies out there. We focus mostly on horror and science fiction, because all writers here on Something Awful are huge nerds.