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Chill Factor: Housecall

During the 1930s, in the middle of the night, thunder strikes and it rains heavily on a country home. The mother of a teenager, tied to his bed, can’t stand still. Troubled, she phones an old doctor and begs him to come and help. The latter reluctantly agrees regardless of the weather and time of day, realizing the woman’s anguish.

The doctor arrives on site and talks with the widow. She explains that her son begged her to tie him up, claiming that it was for his own good. The practitioner quickly goes into the young man’s bedroom to listen to his version and learn how he can be useful.

The illness supposedly afflicting the patient requires a very special treatment, if such a treatment exists…





The man with a thousand talents returns once again with what some call a delicacy of horror: a short film recalling Tales From the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside and Creepshow. Tom Savini, makeup artist, special effects professional, actor, director and stunt artist does a great job directing the first episode in a promising anthology. This episode lasts 25 minutes and is available in DVD format.

Housecall is a very appropriate title: it is revealing and invokes mystery. Your imagination must already conceive the most lugubrious scenarios but you will certainly fail to deduce the conclusion. Housecall knows how to create anticipation, preparing you for its apogee by sowing both trustworthy and diverging clues. As we are told by Tom Savini’s head on a black background just before the story starts, "what you see is not always what it seems".

Three actors suffice to give life to this tale. Bingo O’Malley (the doctor) and Maryanne Nagel (the mother) drive the story in dialogue and flashbacks. The story revolves around Jason Hoehnen’s character, the son, but the entire trio can pat themselves on the back as their performance is successful. The camera angles, close-ups and filters play an equally important role. They immobilize you in time and make you feel as if you were there.

The story is short but this isn’t a problem in the sense that nothing seems rushed. Furthermore, effort is invested into exploring the characters' past, sorrow and skepticism. The only negative aspect that is worth mentioning is the renewal of an old cliché at a certain point in the film. This element has been so overexploited in the world of horror during the last few decades that it often comes out tern and repetitive. This is the case here.

I impatiently await the next episodes. I have always enjoyed Tom Savini’s work and in this short film, he teaches us that there is always room for improvement, regardless of the amount of experience one possesses.

Final Thoughts

Buy Me!

Memorables aspects

Memorables characters
- The teenager (Jason Hoehnen)

Released in: 2004

Movie type: Horror - Gothism - Thriller - Diseases

Films in similar category:
My Skin
Dracula 2000
Devil in the Flesh 2
Joy Ride

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( 2004-11-07 )  

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