The Houses October Built Blu-ray Review
Every Halloween, millions of people flock to their favorite haunts in order to get their scare on. The haunted house business is booming, as the successful places are able to sustain a large enough profit from only being open one month that they are able to use the rest of the 11 months preparing for the following year. THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT explores this phenomenon while adding an element of horror…sorta.
Mixed with an occasional real interview during certain transitions, THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT follows five young adults in search of the scariest haunt. As I learned from the film, professionally ran haunted houses with elaborate props and hired scares are apparently now called, “haunts.” The group is traveling the United States in an RV, documenting every moment. Yes, that’s right folks, we have another found footage film on our hands. Stopping at famous haunts and interviewing different workers, they begin learning of an underground haunt called Blue Skeleton, when strange things begin to happen. Is it part of this extreme haunt that pushes the limit or is it something far more sinister?
The most fascinating part of THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT is all the real documentary footage about the haunted houses and the people that work there. The film is actually inspired by a documentary that you can see in the Blu-ray’s special features. For the record, I recommend that over the film. The five actors (Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Mikey Roe, Jeff Larson, Bobby Roe) essentially play themselves as their characters share the same name. They are also the same filmmakers of the documentary and the higher budget movie. The inside look at the people who run these horror joints is quite interesting and the real footage of people enjoying the scares brings an invigorating energy.
Unfortunately, the film falls off the tracks by getting away from the documentary and into a predictable horror movie. The major problem comes when rather than having the underground haunt simply going too far, the movie throws together scares that are physically impossible for their villains. Because the film does not present the people running the extreme haunt as supernatural beings, the film loses credibility by having things happen that just aren’t possible in anyway. At one point, the scary people take hold of the camera and start filming themselves, which doesn’t add up as they don’t watch nor keep the footage. Unlike PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, there is absolutely no motivation or reason why a camera would be capturing some of the moments that occur within this found footage documentary style horror film.
The film does have some creepy moments and I found myself reminiscing of the fun times visiting haunts as a child. I would have loved a deeper insight into the different types of people who spend their evening scaring people and believe the film missed a golden opportunity to explore some truly frightening scenarios within this world. Relying mostly on menacing images of horrifying makeup and costumes, THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT doesn’t provide a whole lot of scares, failing to capitalize on its intriguing premise. The real footage of interviews and participation through the haunts is lively enough to recommend during Halloween for those who are fans of the holiday. But as a truely scary movie, the film fails on too many levels.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p) Shot mostly in a documentary style the picture looks good with normal flaws of an amateur handheld technique. But for the most it looks good.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) It maintains the presence of a home video documentary film, while still giving all the vocals clearly.
Full Length Documentary That Inspired The Film (1:34:35): A lot of scenes and interviews are used in the film. So in a lot of ways this is like watching the film again but with a little more authenticity. The documentary portions about the haunts were my favorite part of the film so it was nice to see it fully here. But they the filmmakers got cute and provided their own little ending which was the same one done in the film only with a higher production. This is pretty entertaining, which I might even recommend over the film. A great idea for a documentary, but much like the film, it doesn’t achieve its full potential.
“Behind the Screams” An Inside Look At The Haunts (8:47): This is a brief segment highlighting the haunts featured in the film including, Rise Haunted House, Zombie Manor, The Haunt House, and HauntedHouse.com. For the most part it is the exact same footage and interviews found in the movie with an added promotional trailer for the film.
“Portrait Of A Scare Artist” Photo Gallery (2:07): Photos of some very creepy Halloween costumes and makeup.
Cast Carvings By “The Pumpkin Geek” (1:11): Pumpkin carvings of the cast. This isn’t that impressive as it clearly looks like the carving were digitally placed.
Deleted Scenes (24:05): These are several scenes that you have to watch all together without the option to view separately. It contains a few more interesting insights into certain haunted houses that might be worth checking out.
Trailers: THE PARANORMAL DIARIES: CLOPHILL and WOLFCOP.