Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Hearse (1980)

Director: George Bowers

Writers: William Bleich, Mark Tenser

Composer: Webster Lewis

Starring: Trish Van Devere, Joseph Cotten, David Gautreaux, Donald Hotton, Med Flory, Donald Petrie, Christopher McDonald, Perry Lang, Fred Franklyn, Olive Dunbar, Al Hansen, Dominic Barto, Nicholas Shields

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Barrier Between Life and Death is no Greater than the Thickness of a Door...and now that Door is Open!

Plot: Jane Hardy decides to stay the summer in the house her aunt left her when she died, to try and recoup from a bad divorce. Little does she know, her aunt practiced witchcraft and is still thought of very badly by the town's citizens. As soon as she moves in, she is haunted by a old black hearse and it's creepy driver. Is she going insane or is she truly being menaced? She meets a friendly young man and becomes involved with him, but is he and the creepy driver one and the same?

My rating: 4.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Ho-hum story and execution.  I can't imagine this even frightening much of anyone in 1980. It's rather dull but watchable.  The performances are just fine and the actors do a good job.  It's just the pacing is dreadfully slow and not much happens.  A door or window shutter closes unexpectedly here and there and Jane (Van Devere) sees things and thinks she experiences a Satanic ritual or something. The titular car isn't in it much, making a cameo every once in a while only to show up in the last few minutes to wreak some havoc.  And the ending just kind of shows up and then roll the credits.  It's hardly a satisfying payoff for slugging through an hour and a half of this picture.  You'll probably be reaching for the remote a couple of times looking for how much time is left.  To add insult to injury, there's no blood or nudity.  The BCI 4 disc, 8 movie set called Drive-In Cult Classic features a good widescreen print.  The extras are trailers for THE HEARSE (anamorphic widescreen), BLOOD MANIA (anamorphic widescreen) and DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE (fullscreen).  That does it for the 8th and final film from this set.  I think there was only one picture that I liked enough to watch again.  You can pick the set up on Amazon for less than eight buck with free shipping.  Is it worth it?  That depends.  All of the films seem to be presented in their proper aspect ratio and are in pretty good shape.  Any extras you get with some of the films are trailers and some drive-in shorts for the concession stand and the like.  Fans of bad horror/sci-fi will find some value in it although you might be able to find a lot of these (or already have them) on the multitude of public domain DVD sets out there.

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