(Release Date: December 8, 1988 [West Germany])
(Release Date: August 6, 1989 [Italy])
The reason this is (at all) interesting is that La Casa 4 is often intentionally mistaken for a part of two other movie series, each equally unrelated both to La Casa 4 and each other. In spite of the title (and number therein), La Casa 4 is actually the second in the series, not the fourth. It was so named to cash in on the success of The Evil Dead, which was released in Italy as La Casa. Hence the reason that this film is sold in the United States under the title of Witchery, as it is neither Evil Dead 4, nor Witchcraft I! La Casa 4 is also sometimes considered to be (or confused for) a part of the series that started with 1986's House. This is because after La Casa 3, La Casa 4 and La Casa 5 had run their course House II The Second Story was released as La Casa 6 and House III was released as La Casa 7, leaving only the two House flicks that featured The Greatest American Hero as the odd homes out.
Not that this makes things any more interesting ('cause, sister, it DOESN'T), but it's hard to imagine La Casa 4 fitting into either series. In fact, it has little to do with the other two entries in its skewed "Trilogy", as this fourth (really second) film is actually more of a rip-off of The Exorcist, right on down to the starring role for Linda Blair!
Our main story seems to deal with a writer/ historian named Leslie (horribly portrayed by Zombie 5 non-actress Leslie Cumming, who never worked again) and this guy named Gary (a photographer who is desperately trying to relieve Leslie of her virginity) played by a post-Knight Rider, pre-Baywatch David Hasselhoff.
Leslie is working hard on researching the German tome on witchcraft and the mysterious hotel which might lead her to new theories for her own book on mysticism. Strangely, the only thing that Gary finds hard to believe about the whole thing is that Leslie doesn't want to have sex with him. Look, I like the Hoff and all, but I don't find her refusal the slightest bit hard to believe.
But seriously, while Leslie the character may be saving it, I'd almost bet that Leslie the actress was sleeping with SOMEBODY involved in the production. She's attractive enough, but her acting is nothing short of terrible in this movie.
Anyway, like I said (better than Leslie could), this dagnabbit duo are checking out a creepy hotel (not exactly a "Casa") on an island off of Massachusetts as part of the research for her book. The only problemmo is that they don't have permission from the current owners to hang out in this old-ass hell-hole and a family of potential buyers are on the way that very weekend to check the place out in the hopes of turning it into a resort.
Enter grouchy old Rose Brooks (Annie Ross) and her dishrag, horn-dog husband Freddie (Robert Champagne)! This misanthropic couple bring their young son Tommy (Michael Manchester, who might have been cast to make Cumming seem like a better actress) and their pregnant older daughter Jane (Linda Blair) to the island along with a hot appraiser named Linda Sullivan (Catherine Hickland)to see just how much this investment is really going to cost them.
It's not hard to imagine the answer must be "Their Lives!" Yeah, that's just the cheesy kind of non-shock these bad Italian horror movies/ unofficial sequels would go for. This, of course, leads me back to where I described the arrival of the new owners as "the only problemmo". The truth is that it's a bigger problem for both the squatters, the new owners, the inspector and the real estate dick Jerry Giordano (Rick Farnsworth, who also never worked again) that the place is actually haunted!
That's right, it's creepy and haunted and inhabited by the witchy-ass ghost of its last resident, washed-up actress who is never named, credited instead as "The Lady in Black" (Hildegard Knef). Oh, the old and busted joint also has a few fixtures that can open up a doorway to the past. Seriously... it looks just like the trippy tunnel at the beginning of each episode of Doctor Who!
Things go from merely stinky to retch-worthy when the stupid ferry boat driver leaves them on the island (though admittedly not of his own accord). And, just so you know, other than all that, their day sucked.
What follows is a silly cross between And then there were None and The Shining, infused with plenty of really bad taste, garish gore scenes, burning inverted crosses, bad acting and the eye-rolling question of whether or not Leslie will finally do Gary on one of these intimate Baywatch Nights! To be fair, once the two groups team up, it is revealed that there is only one bed in the whole place, so maybe that's her excuse. After all, there are other people in the hotel who are most assuredly "gettin' busy"!
And that's part of the problem with La Casa 4 (and to be fair, there are fuckloads of problems with La Casa 4)... in spite of all the teases, there just isn't enough nudity, not enough celebration of life... just a lot of death and gore effects. Look, I have no desire to see Catherine Hickland in her intimates strapped to a chair and... okay, wait... yes, I DO have a desire to see that, yes, but... not like that. To be fair, for all her incredible lack of acting ability, Leslie Cumming is very attractive and offers up a beautiful nude scene (though it's tainted by the horrors that surround it). I admit this again, though... Cummings is something else given the right wardrobe!
Most of the rest is a goofy mess that will feel super-familiar to just about anybody who has ever watched a Bad Italian Horror movie. Actually, this will look familiar to most anyone who has ever seen a GOOD Italian Horror movie or even any of the varied American flicks this corn casserole rips off. Take all these elements from the satanism to the torture to the rape to the unpowered film projectors that come to life to show you parts of the movie you've already seen to the haunted hotel to the island-trapped good guys, mix, rinse and repeat and you've got something that is both familiar and forgettable at the same time.
So who could be behind this mess? Could it be... Joe D'Amato? It iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis, isn't it? Yes indeed, true believers! Good old D'Amato Puree produced this movie theatre seat-stain along with "Supervising Producer" Jim Hanson (who, confusingly, went on to produce the unrelated Witchcraft II). What's more amazing about this fact is that D'Amato Sauce went uncredited on both La Casa 3 and La Casa 5, but our good friend D'Amato Bisque was so proud of La Casa 4, he didn't hesitate to slap his own "John Hancock" all over it! Well, actually, since Joe-D's real name was actually "Aristide Massaccesi", I guess it's not THAT big of an accomplishment. Then again, seeing as how "Joe D'Amato" was his most used moniker amongst the sixty(!) names he was credited under during his forlorn career, he was either giving this one the thumbs up or he lost a bet to someone malicious. In other words, "You say Massaccesi, I say D'Amato!"
D'Amato tapped (or was stuck with) director Fabrizio Laurenti, whose next project was the unassailable classic Troll III: Contamination Point 7 and nabbed writers Daniel Stroppa, who was "lucky" enough to join his director on Troll III and Harry Spalding (who had a fine career up until this film, but never worked again until the day he died twenty years later)!
Okay, let me back up and say something nice about this movie for a change... um...
Um... Okay, though cheesy and over-done some of the time, Hasselhoff comes off as an actor who is really trying to make something out of the bad script and "that'll do" directing. Blair, similarly, is not so bad and manages to look pretty sexy in her (re-)Possessed state. What's more, the blood and gore effects, by Maurizio Trani are above average in most places (though lacking in a few others). There are a few creepy and disturbing parts here and there (showing a kernel of what might have been pretty decent). Lastly, Leslie Cumming is pretty hot, especially when she wears less.
Unfortunately she can't act for shit. No, I'm not exaggerating here, folks! You know those perilous acting jobs in some of these bad movies that look sound like they're badly dubbed by bored nerds or reading from cue cards or BOTH? Well, her acting in this film is not quite that good. She does manage to make the rest of the cast look better by comparison, however. No, wait... she makes them SOUND better. She still looks better.
The real sad part about all this is that there are a few cool ideas that might have led to a better movie, had the story been placed in better hands. But with these (mostly bad) actors, this script, this direction and, yes, Clockwork D'Amato, this production, there was just about no way to redeem this doomed production.
Wait till you see the ending, folks! It's among the worst I've ever seen... ever. Holy fucking shit!
No, I shouldn't say "wait until you see" it, because in spite of the fact that this is the most readily available of the "La Casa Trilogy", you shouldn't see it. It's pig flop on a hot day, man! Let me watch this garbage for you! Don't forget, I'm watching BAD movies so YOU don't have to! And that's exactly what La Casa 4 (by any name) truly is a bad movie, a bomb, a turkey, a DOG! I wonder what Hasselhoff was thinking, man. I know it was three years before Knight Rider 2000, but did he really think this was going to be the Die Hard that broke him into the big screen A-List? If so, I hope he fired his agent, man! And BLAIR? My WORD, somebody give her a part, man! What a shame, dudes! What crap! So until some ancient German Evil off the coast of Massachusetts sews my lips shut so that I can no longer bitch about Joe D'Amato Movies, I'll see you in the next reel!
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