Friday, May 1, 2015

The Houses October Built – Go Behind the Scenes

Runtime: 91 minutes
Release Date: October 10, 2014
Rating: UR
Director: Bobby Roe

Zack, Jeff, Brandy, Bobby, and Mikey are a group of friends who decide to make a documentary about what really happens behind the scenes of haunted houses and other attractions. Armed with a motorhome and a camera, they hit the road to film some of the top haunted houses and talk with the people who work in those houses.

Despite getting some good footage, they can't help noticing that they keep coming across the same places. It seems like every spot they hit has the same scares and even the same type of people working there. Though Jeff keeps promising them that they'll find something better at the next stop, the creepiest thing they see is a little girl in a porcelain mask with no hair who seems to show up at every stop.

That leads to one of the creepiest and weirdest scenes in the movie, where that same costumed character follows them back to the motorhome. Despite asking her if she needs help and trying to talk to her, she just sits down and starts making strange noises before eventually screaming and running away.

At one of their later stops, Jeff comes across two guys who claim they know how to get to the Blue Skeleton, one of the hottest and scariest attractions in the country. Often considered an urban legend, the location changes every year and visitation is by invite only. After finding the first clue to its location, they discover that someone or something is stalking them. They find a bloody heart in their refrigerator, footage of them sleeping on their camera, and blue skull masks left on the front of the RV that reveals a group spent hours watching them the night before. Even before they find the last clue, they realize that finding the Blue Skeleton might not be all they thought.

The Houses October Built actually comes across like two different films, and both are pretty damn good. The first is a documentary of what happens behind the scenes at haunted attractions. We see interviews with costumed workers and hear some stories about people who actually died in those attractions. The second film is a found footage documentary about what happened to a group of friends who went down the rabbit hole. Mixing the documentary footage with the character footage was a smart choice. We get a little break from those characters and learn more about what might motivate them to go on a hunt like this.

As many of the actors have little to no experience, I went in not expecting a whole lot and was pretty surprised. Zack Andres as Zack and Jeff Larson as Jeff were the two real standouts. All of the actors though did a great job of making me believe they were actually friends and that they really would take a random road trip together.

And can I just say that the porcelain doll character was just plain creepy? Since she kept randomly popping up, you never really knew when she might appear next. It got to the point where anytime the characters went down a dark street or opened a door, I expected her to be standing there staring at them. Add to that a scene with two rednecks accosting Brandy in the bathroom of a grungy bar, and I was all in.

Though it got some poor/bad reviews, I enjoyed The Houses October built. It's currently on Netflix for those who want to give it a try.

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