Horror Movie Review: The House By The Cemetery (1981)


Three things make The House by the Cemetery stand out:

1. The level of violence & up close gore, this film doesn’t pull any punches.
2. It made the infamous video nasty list in the UK.
3. The awful dubbing…it’s hilarious.

The movie opens showing a woman seemingly in an abandoned house searching for her boyfriend. She finds his body & is then promptly stabbed in the back of the head with a knife.

The House by the Cemetery Dead Boyfriend

We then meet a young boy Bob (with the worst dubbing you’ve ever seen) who is on his way to his new home alongside his parents, Norman & Lucy. The house they are going too belonged to Norman’s ex-colleague, Dr. Peterson who committed suicide.

Bob meets a young girl who only he seems to be able to see & she warns him to stay away from the house. Naturally his parents don’t listen to him.

The House by the Cemetery Bob & Parents

The house is old & in disrepair, if that wasn’t enough the cellar door is nailed shut & there is an indoor tomb with the name Freudstein on it. Noises at night & the sudden arrival of a strange babysitter leave Lucy worried that something more might be going on. While Norman begins investigating the houses history & discovers a truth more shocking than any of them could have realised.

The House by the Cemetery Babysitter

As part of the Gates of Hell trilogy alongside City of the Living Dead & the Beyond, The House by the Cemetery shares many similarities with the most obvious being the violent deaths. It’s these that would see it run afoul of the British censors when the video nasty hysteria broke out in the 80’s.

Thankfully it can now be viewed completely uncut & with what is often the case…it’s easy to see what all the fuss was. It’s graphic & we get up close shots of stabbings with a variety of instruments. Some are quite prolonged…

The House by the Cemetery Death

Gore aside the film has a few other things going for it. The story is pretty interesting & the music is great even if some flourishes are over-used at times. The acting is pretty average but with the afore-mentioned awful dubbing. That stuff will raise more of a laugh than anything else & once you’ve noticed it you can’t stop seeing it.

The setting is really great too with the house & the surrounding areas looking like they belong in another century. It adds a feeling of age to the whole film, something that I normally wouldn’t praise but fits here perfectly within the story.

The House by the Cemetery The House

A well-worth watch, especially if you’re interested in seeing one of the more famous video-nasties.

The House By The Cemetery
  • 7/10
    The Final Score - 7/10
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