What a wild experience. This is a movie that as soon as the title appears, you are taken to another world. It is a world in which the surrealness is defined by the amalgamation of eerie synth music, a birthday party which no one attends, protean creatures, and the uncertainty as to what opening a door invites. Such elements make for an atmosphere that while spooky, is not without provoking interest as to how the characters familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of the mansion, so there is an interplay between the atmosphere and the situations that the characters find themselves in. They aren’t hesitant to explore, and because of that, the experience of finding out what lurks within an inconspicuous-looking room has a sense of vicariousness. It is a facet that as the atmosphere draws you in to the point of maintaining its scope, the effectiveness of it increases to the nth degree. As it builds, it becomes overpowering, which is apt in light of the situations that the characters face.

The appeal of the mansion is of note because prior to the arrival of Duke and his friends, Billy’s curiosity is such that he comes across a room decked out in birthday decorations, as though his arrival is expected. Although it’s a brief, the moment in which Billy opens a present to find a head inside introduces the element of how the monsters and their ilk lurk in the most concealed of spaces. It’s an element that isn’t without its surprises, such as when the demons blend in with the floor to sneak up on any unsuspecting victim. Plus, the excursion which Billy takes through the graveyard only to end up in the mansion occurs alongside with the excursion that Duke and his friends take by driving through the graveyard, so although the divergence of the excursions is conveyed, the point of which their excursions intersect is not without significance. It’s what brings them together despite never meeting.

Kreon is a character whose understanding of the supernatural is what makes him tick. It is understanding which is beyond human comprehension, and so his ability to summon creatures of distinct appearances illustrates that he conceives what frightens each victim, almost as if he knows them better than they know themselves. In addition, his familiarity of the depths of his power is a detail that while its limits aren’t known, the way in which he harnesses his power to conjure up everything from farting demons to a spider queen indicates that it doesn’t take much for him to drain Duke and his friends of their vitality. Those are accompanied by effects that, while cheap-looking, do what they can in conveying moments such as electrocution as well as a statue coming to life.

For some, this movie is art or something. For others, it’s a turkey. Either way, this is best enjoyed by sitting back and indulging in an experience that is as bizarre as it is outrageous. Just be mindful of the exploding Grim Reaper.

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