Now we’re talking. THE HALFWAY HOUSE is such a preposterously low-brow work of B-movie magic that I cannot help but give it a strong recommendation. We’ve talked a lot about films that know how bad they are and don’t take themselves too seriously. They pop up a lot in the horror genre. Yet, so many of these movies wink at the audience so heavily that they cross the line from being campy to being just unfunny. THE HALFWAY HOUSE, on the other hand, is bad, knows its bad, and ends up deliciously campy. I loved it.
The film opens with the kidnapping of a jogger who smartly runs around dark alley-ways at night. She’s taken into a basement, where she is stripped to her panties and strapped to a rack. A man in a cloak opens a gate and waiting behind it is…well, I’ll tell you in a bit, read on. Turns out this jogger has a sister, Larissa, who runs straight to the police station to report her missing. Lucky for her she recruits the help of Sgt. Dick Sheen. Yes, Sgt. Dick Sheen, played by Shawn Savage. That’s right, this movie features Shawn Savage as Sgt. Dick Sheen. Now, I have no idea who this guy is, but I just wanted to write that because I like the sound of it. If it sounds like a porno name, it’s not really in the wrong movie.
So, Larissa and Sgt. Dick do a little snooping and find a halfway house for teenage delinquent girls run by a sweet nun named Sister Cecelia, played by Mary Woronov of Paul Bartel fame (think EATING RAOUL). Clearly she’s involved somehow, but they can prove nothing. Larissa senses Sgt. Dick’s about to give up on the case, so she takes him straight to bed and talks about how much she misses her sister while they have sex. It’s a pretty surreal scene. With Dick’s approval, Larissa goes undercover at the house to find out what’s really up. And this is where the fun begins.
Why? Because the filmmakers find every possible way to get the girls naked. This is the most nudity I’ve seen in a legit film since SHOWGIRLS (okay, that’s debatably legit, but oh so fun). There are showers, locker rooms, lesbian encounters, near lesbian rapes, so on and so forth. My favorite character was “Cherry Pie,” a girl who is supposedly the innocent one of the house. So who did they cast to play this virgin? A girl with a huge tattoo on her back and nipple rings so large you could leap through them. Hilarious.
Best of all is what’s lurking in the basement – a monster so fake that no amount of zooming in and out quickly can hide this fact. Hell, they don’t even try. This monster apparently needs to build its strength to have sex with Sister Cecilia, so they feed it girls (girls who are stripped to their panties that is).
Have you gotten the
picture yet? The only thing lacking in
this film is a big helping of gore, but with horrible acting, terrible
dialogue, hilariously fake effects, and generous helpings of nudity, I’m
willing to forgive any other transgression. THE HALFWAY HOUSE is hilariously entertaining
crap. Pop yourself some popcorn and
RATING: *** and a half (out of four)