Friday, 5 June 2015


If you are a genre fan, one of the best things about social media is the way in which it allows likeminded individuals to discuss their favourite products and art, be it music, movies, games or books.
As such I'm always on the look out for groups and pages that can help me to broaden my horizons and introduce me to new horror that might otherwise have passed me by.
The Lair Of Terror on Facebook is one of the finest places to discover these indie gems and it was here that I saw a post from a film that had been forced to censor its title 'House of...'
The folks over at HM&M films and Average At Best Films were looking for reviewers so after I reached out they sent me a screener... and a warning.
It seems this film is pretty damn extreme.
How extreme? Read on...


Dir: Tom Komisar, Daniel Murphy, Paul Arnone
Starring: RJ Cecott, Maella Cai Vane, Lindsey McIntire, Linda Schrader, Tom Komisari, Daniel Murphy, Paul Arnone, Nurse Hatchet

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I'll try not to spoil too much here but read continue at your own risk.

Following an introduction (and yet another warning) from dark, disturbing yet unnervingly sexy Nurse Hatchet, we move on to the story of e
nterprising young man Trevor (Cecott), who decides that he's going to make his own porno film. After placing an ad to find his stars, he receives responses from three young ladies: experienced Rachel (Vane), unsure first-timer Ashley (McIntire) and wild Kayla (Schrader). These girls are hoping that this film could be their first step towards fame, fortune and, in Kayla's case, just getting laid.
After a quick chat and audition it looks like Trevor is set to start shooting, at which point three besuited men in terrifying clown masks burst in. It seems these diabolical clowns — Slasho (Komisar), Smasho (Arnone) and Shago (Murphy) — have plans to shoot their own movie... and it's far more depraved than anything Trevor or the girls could possibly have imagined.

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): WTF?!?!? I've seen my fair share of batshit insane 'extreme' films but few have the psychotic energy of House of Whores. It combines some serious acts of depravity with some deft, witty touches to make this feel like a movie made by genuine maniacs.
There's an odd contrast between the vile acts onscreen and the way in which they're presented. The gimmick here is that Slasho, Shago and Smasho have taken this footage and edited it into their own movie (hence the mean-spirited title), and as such it is as schizophrenic and insane as our trio of killer clowns. With elements of a snuff movie, a Seventies porno, a cheesy sitcom and even a vaudeville-esque black-and-white farce, the movie keeps you constantly off balance, unsure what will come next.
From what I understand, the budget for this movie was positively microscopic (less than $1000!) — yet this works in its favour. It gives the movie a grittier, rawer edge and ups the realism. This is impressive stuff from cinematographer Arnone! 
Of course, this realism is aided through the believable performances of all involved. Our three leading ladies are uniformly great in their roles, each bringing a very different character to life in what is a pretty short introduction period before the shit (and blood and piss) hits the fan. 
As the more savvy one you can't help but feel Vane's Rachel might have enough nous to get out of the situation alive, although the endearing naïveté of McIntire's Ashley means you have to root for her to get out ok. This is entirely down to the fine work of these ladies, especially in some scenes that can't have been easy to shoot.
Elsewhere Schrader's Kayla is an absolute riot, clearly revelling in the role. She is a fine actress and following her gruelling bathroom scene has shown plenty of potential if she sticks with the horror genre.
Of course, a horror movie is often only as compelling as its villains and directors Komisar, Murphy and Arnone turn in stellar performances in front of the camera as our masked maniacs. Not since Bill Oberst Jr's Papa Corn in Circus of the Dead have I seen such a vile, violent and thoroughly terrifying group of 'funnymen'. The three men are never shown unmasked, so it is a testament to their work that each gives their character so much personality.
Komisar's Slasho has arguably the most to do. A bustling, growling gangster-like delivery, there are elements of John Leguizamo's Clown from 1997's Spawn. He's the angriest of the group, a stocky pitbull snapping and snarling at everybody around him. I was very impressed.
I also loved Murphy's deliriously perverse Shago. Perhaps it was the English accent (and wonderful moment in which he coined the Brit term 'wee' for urine — that's what we call pee over here U.S. readers!) or just that hilarious little dance he did, whatever it was, I dug it! Perhaps the best way to sum up the clowns is that while Slasho is undoubtedly the brains of the outfit, Shago is the black, vile heart — or possibly the permanently horny cock.
This leaves the hulking Smasho as the hands. Playing the role as mute (and regularly called a retard by other characters, accomplices and victims alike) Arnone gives his character a sympathetic and almost childlike air, much like Gunnar Hansen's Leatherface. There's an implied backstory that the permanently angry Slasho and deeply sick Shago are taking advantage of him, almost coercing him into being a part of their vile plan.
So I know what many of you are wondering (and for some of you, this will be the key selling point of the movie): how vile are we talking?
Obviously I don't want to spoil too much here as a lot of the film's impact comes from the shock factor. However, I'll give you a couple of ideas: we have rape, serious genital mutilation, the forced consumption of various body excretions and plenty of violence, not to mention a fair amount of bare flesh for those of you who dig that sort of thing.
If you want depravity, this film is just under an hour of constant vulgar acts. It isn't a scary movie, but if horror aims to horrify then House of Whores absolutely nails it.
Bizarrely, that's not to say that it is entirely without humour. I know, I know, you're wondering how a film with the checklist above can be remotely amusing? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how writers Komisar and Murphy did it myself, but there is the blackest of veins of humour running through the flick. From an unexpected laugh track accompanying the clowns mean spirited jibes to a hilarious realtime toast making scene complete with a jaunty little ditty on the soundtrack, the random moments of (admittedly very dark) levity serve a key role in breaking the tension of the oppressively grim depravity unfolding throughout the movie. In fact, when contrasted with the nastier scenes, they hit the mark more, causing awkward stifled giggles even as you recoil from the screen.
Another area to deliver was the soundtrack, with a number of kickass tracks from the very talented Mixtress Demonatrix. I especially loved the pounding dance track to accompany Nurse Hatchet's fleeting appearances.
Finally, let's talk about Nurse Hatchet. It's a rare thing to find a character who feels instantly iconic -but Nurse Hatchet does. Kept mysterious, donning a genuinely creepy mask and naughty nurse's outfit, no scene better encapsulates her savage raunchiness than her blood-soaked half-naked gyrations during the movie's decidedly unexpected interval. Whether she continues to act as a host for this team's films or, better yet, gets her own seriously fucked up flick, I cannot wait to see more of her.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Did I mention that House of Whores is extreme?
Like really, really extreme? Like 'toilet brush up the ass, cheese-grater to the dick' extreme?
Because it is.
This will not be to everybody's tastes. Some of you WILL find this a bit much to take. At times, it is legitimately stomach churning — between this and Crazy Murder I've seen quite enough shit-eating for 2015 now. This is a movie for strong stomachs only. Between me, the filmmakers AND Nurse Hatchet, I think it's safe enough to say that you have been warned!
Of course, while I praised the tremendous amount of work done with such a tiny budget, every now and then those budgetary constraints did show. For a film that is never shy with showing its vile events onscreen it felt a little strange when a particularly messy (and probably expensive effects-wise) power-tool murder takes place behind a curtain. This leapt out at me as a cost-cutting measure, so I'm sure others will get the same vibe from the scene. There's nothing wrong with leaving a little horror to the imagination, but in a film which so pointedly DOESN'T do that during the rest of its runtime this seems odd.
I did also have a small issue with the camera at times. From a story standpoint we're dealing with cameras that have been set up by Trevor or are held by the clowns. Yet a couple of times the camera seems to be pointed at a spot for no reason at all (the front door?) or is being handheld by one of the clowns while the other two brutalise and terrorise a victim. This means that captives were regularly left unwatched. Now I get that they may have been scared or possibly bound, but it seems a little unlikely that the girls wouldn't have tried to get the hell out of there. Especially after witnessing the first couple of hammer beatings dished out by the clowns.
Then again, perhaps I'm over thinking this?
Finally, in something that is both a positive and a problem, the film is pretty damn short. It runs for over 50 minutes but pretty much the last 10 consists of credits and an extended Nurse Hatchet erotic dance number, which mainly consists of recut and re-edited/looped footage from earlier in the movie. I like that the film keeps short, sharp and punchy and doesn't wear out its welcome (in all honesty, much more of this kind of depravity would have been exhausting) but the post-credits music video does go on a little. Still, it's more Nurse Hatchet and a killer tune, so I'm not complaining too much!

THE VERDICT: Is there any way I can say that I enjoyed this flick without sounding like a huge headcase? Because honestly, the sheer demented glee running through House of Whores is pretty damn irresistible. It's sick, rough around the edges and positively vicious at times, yet it has such a crackling, visceral energy that its impossible to not get caught up for the ride. This is a fine example of underground film-making — it punches you in the face, then kicks you in the balls and, by God, you end up grinning afterwards!
This won't be for everybody, but if you like your thrills extreme, this is a fantastic indie effort. Check it out.

To find out more about the movie, go to its official Facebook page. You'll be pleased to hear that a limited edition DVD is available RIGHT NOW and available over here in the UK as well as in the States for a very affordable price. Tempted? Buy it here

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.


  1. Thank you so much! great review!

    1. The pleasure was all mine, thank you for reading!