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Neurosis

Revenge in the House of Usher
La Chute de la Maison Usher / El Hundimiento de la Casa Usher / Nevrose / Revolt of the House of Usher / Zombie 5

Spain/France 1982
produced by
Marius Lesoeur, Jess Franco (as J.P. Johnson), Daniel Lesoeur (associate) for Eurociné
directed by Jess Franco
starring Howard Vernon, Antonio Mayans (as Robert Foster), Lina Romay, Francoise Blanchard, Olivier Mathot, Jean Tolzac, Fata Morgana, Ana Galán, Andonio Marín, Daniel J. White (as Daniel Villiers), José Llamas, Analía Ivars (as Joan Virly), Valerie Russel
written by Jess Franco (as H.L.Rostaine), somehow based on The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Daniel J. White, special effects by SOIS Company

House of Usher

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Doctor Alan Hacker (Antonio Mayans) is called to the castle of Doctor Eric Usher (Howard Vernon), his professor from university. But Usher seems to be in a more than pitiful state, he is totally absent minded, tends to forget things (including who Hacker is and that he has invited him), and his scientific ideas become more and more fantastic, like that that he can bring his daughter Melissa (Francoise Blanchard), who has fallen into a coma 20 years ago, back to life by giving her the blood of women. He even confesses to Hacker that he has been killing prostitutes for about 20 years (represented by clips from Jess Franco's early masterpiece Awful Doctor Orlof from 20 years ago) but hasn't yet managed to drag Melissa back into the land of the living for more than a few hours. Hacker hesitates to believe his former professor, especially since Usher's personal physician Seward (Daniel J.White) tells him that his mind has been clouded ever since his daughter fell into a coma - but in the dungeon of Usher's castle, Hacker really finds 3 locked up girls and other spooky things that don't belong into a modern castle ... but before he can do anything about it, he is knocked out and the next day wakes up in his bed.

Eventually, Usher's condition worsens, as do his mad fantasies, and before long he even starts to see the spirit of his dead wife Edmonda and of other girls he had killed, but he is still keen enough to realöize his current wife Maria (Lina Romay) tries to make out with Hacker, and he kills her for it.

Shortly thereafter, Usher's castle begins to crumble and finally caves in (represented by a combination of shaky camera and unconvincing miniatures), with him, with Melissa, with his hunchbacked, one-eyed assistant Moprpho (Olivier Mathot), his creepy servants and even with the spirit of his dead wife. Only Hacker manages to make it out unscathed ... but also unsure if any of this has really happened.

 

A typical Jess Franco shocker (even if there is no nudity in this one): the whole plot follows the logic of a nightmare (or rather no logic at all) and is made up from genre mainstays, the camerawork - including odd camera-angles and movements - is nothing short of eccentric, the whole thing is weirdly lit, and Franco regular Howard Vernon hams it up like there is no tomorrow. Still, this is one of Franco's lesser works, his typical tongue-in-cheek approach to the story is almost completely missing, his surrealist approach is toned down, and - lets face it - the film could have needed a bit of nudity, Franco-style.

As a piece of weird Euro-trash of course, Neurosis is still ok, it's just that Jess Franco frequently did so much better ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD