October 6, 2014 The Houses October Built (Movie Review)
Amongst the influx of found footage horror films can be seen a few rare gems, one of them is The Houses October Built, set to be released by RLJ/Image Entertainment on October 10th in theaters, VOD and iTunes. Directed by Bobby Roe (The Longest Yard 2005, Superman 2006) and co-written by himself, Zack Andrews and Jason Zada, The Houses October Built takes a look at the haunted houses that are set up around America for Halloween. Also starring Bobby Roe as himself, his brother Michael (Feed the Beast 2013, Different Town 2014) as Mikey, Zack Andrews as himself, Brandy Schaefer (Bluelove 1999, Some place better than here 2011) as herself, Jeff Larson (The Millionaire Matchmaker 2011) as himself, it shows what happens at these “Haunts” from a visitors perspective and also intertwines with interviews from some of the staff at the haunted houses.
Zack, Bobby, Mikey, Jeff, and Brandy are all fans of haunted houses at Halloween but find the local scene all a bit mundane. They embark on a journey six days before Halloween, across Texas to find the best Haunts, ending on Halloween with what they hope is the best of all. They all want a good scare but Zack is after something really special. He has heard a rumor about an underground Haunt called Blue Skull Haunt, and he is determined to get invited. Over 2,500 Haunts, visited by thirty million people are set up per year in America for Halloween. The competition has become so fierce that the organizers are going to more and more extremes to scare people. This has resulted in people being accidentally killed, and even scarier purposely killed all for being named the best Haunt. Terrible things have actually happened in these places, but that does not stop Zack pursuing his ultimate scare. The group discuss along their journey the things that would scare them the most, from being buried alive, to spiders and snakes, the usual fears, which are not intense enough for Zack.
They use an RV to travel around Texas, and almost immediately from their first visit to Mo Depot, disturbing events start happening. Random members of the staff at each place stalk them and even go so far as to try to hurt them. As they go to each Haunt, the disturbances get stranger and darker. By the time they get to the fourth Haunt, the day before Halloween, the Blue Skull Haunt starts to become a frightening reality for each of them. They see true evidence of the extremes that some people are willing to go to. When Halloween finally arrives, everyone but Zack, particularly Brandy, has had enough and wants to go home. Zack convinces them to stay, this is why they have come so far after all. Once they arrive in the last place, New Orleans, they are all on edge. Zack’s dream becomes a terrifying reality, and he does not know if any of them will make it home alive. Will he get his scare, or will they all be scared to death?
The Houses October Built is a unique look at the impact Halloween has on America, and how far people will go to in their pursuit of a successful Haunt. They are places anybody can work, even without criminal checks or a second glance. This is a must watch movie, especially with the spooky holiday fast approaching. With all the actors playing themselves, it gives the movie a lot more realism and depth, and keeps the audience wondering what happened to them, a long time after. Be prepared for a good scare. CrypticRock give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.