Ghosthouse (Italian: La casa 3–Ghosthouse) is a 1988 Italian horror film written and directed by Umberto Lenzi. It co-starred Lara Wendel and Donald O'Brien. The plot focuses on a deserted house where the visions of a ghostly girl and her haunted doll wreak havoc on those who enter it.
|Directed by||Umberto Lenzi|
|Produced by||Aristide Massaccesi|
|Screenplay by||Umberto Lenzi|
|Story by||Umberto Lenzi|
|Music by||Piero Montanari|
|Cinematography||Franco Delli Colli|
|Edited by||Rosanna Landi|
A group of unlikely companions receive a radio call leading to a deserted house with a grisly past. After exploring the house, the group makes the foolish decision to split up, leading to a trail of death and destruction as the house unleashes its deadly past. Along the way expect severed heads, exploding light bulbs, demonic clown dolls, and creepy children. The clown doll is the main evil force from the film; the director of a funeral home stole it out of a child's coffin to give to his own daughter, leading to angry spirits possessing both the girl and the clown doll.
Towards the end of the 1980s, the Italian genre film industry was producing less material. Independent companies began focusing on foreign markets where their products would sell more easily either theatrically or on home video. One company was Aristide Massaccesi's Filmirage founded in 1980 which began producing low-budget horror films by the mid-1980s including Deran Serafian's Interzone, Michele Soavi's Stage Fright and Umberto Lenzi's Ghosthouse.
Despite the credits citing one Cinthia McGavin as the screenwriter, the screenplay was written by Lenzi. Lenzi first wrote Ghosthouse's story in January 1987 and found Italian and American funding from through producer Roberto Di Girolamo who later left the project due to financial issues. This led to Massaccesi entering the project as a producer, which led to the film being shot in the United States, as other Filmirage productions were. The film was shot in Boston and Cohasset, Massachusetts.
Ghosthouse was first shown at the Avoriaz Fanstastic Film Festival in France in January 1988. This was followed by screenings in Japan on May 21 1988. The film was released on home video in the United Kingdom by Colourbox in March 1988.
The film was eventually picked up by distributor Achille Manzotti who re-titled the film in Italy as La casa 3-Ghosthouse where the film was distributed by Gruppo on August 11, 1988. Naming horror films "La Casa" with houses in their titles was a popular trend in 1980s Italy, which began with the American films The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 being retitled La casa and La casa 2 respectively. Massaccesi said "Manzotti's idea to change the title to "La Casa 3" (made the film a success). If he'd left the original title "Ghosthouse", hardly anyone might have gone to see it."
The financial success of Ghosthouse led to Massaccesi and Manzotti to follow up the film with another sequel, La casa 4.
In a contemporary reviews, Giovanna Grassi of Corriere della Sera praised only the cinematography by Franco Delli Colli and score by Piero Montanari, ultimately blaming the films' "great confusion and lack of accuracy" Philip Nutman and Mario Cortini wrote in Gorezone that Ghosthouse offered "No real surprises [...] but it's a competent 90 minutes with a reasonable body count and puts of the old red stuff."
- Cortini, Mario; Nutman, Philip (January 1989). "Pastaland Splatter Roundup". Gorezone. No. 5. O'Quinn Studios, Inc.
- Curti, Roberto (2019). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980-1989. McFarland. ISBN 1476672431.
- Hayward, Anthony (1988). "Video Releases". Film Review 1988-9. Columbus Books Limited. ISBN 0-86287-939-6.
- Palmerini, Luca M.; Mistretta, Gaetano (1996). Spaghetti Nightmares. Fantasma Books. ISBN 0963498274.