The Hearse (George Bowers, 1980)

posted in: Jocelyn, Review | 0
A woman trying to recover from a mental breakdown decides to summer at the creepy, old house that’s been bequeathed to her. The townsfolk treat her poorly due to her family’s association with Satanism. Is it just local lore or is there actually some truth behind the strange happenings that are occurring? Can she trust her own unstable mind?


Trish Van Devere (The Changeling, Hollywood Vice Squad) stars as Jane, the new owner of an aged manor in the small town of Blackford. Upon arrival she is met with unwelcome arms and peculiar happenings around her Aunt’s old estate.

vlcsnap-2013-10-07-17h52m11s224It starts off simply enough with a music box not being pleased with its placement. The next thing you know she’s seeing her aunt around the house and there’s an antique hearse that keeps trying to run her off the road. I know what you’re thinking.  If all of this shit started happening to you, you’d probably get the fuck out of dodge, but not Jane! Mental breakdown be damned! She lacks even a modicum of confidence so she pretty much doesn’t believe anything that she sees and not a word of what she hears. Children tell her that she’s a witch and that the house is haunted, locals treat her like shit and tell her to leave! Does she even consider leaving town? Hell no! Cause, guess what? She reads her aunt’s diary and realizes what a filthy slut she was who cheated on her husband and fell in love with a mysterious stranger. And now guess what?!  Their lives are starting to parallel!
vlcsnap-2013-10-07-17h52m46s182Jane meets Tom, who stares at her real creepy all the time and talks about love lasting beyond death. Soon enough she gives into his eerie charms and falls for his bullshit. Oh! Did I mention the really annoying handyman (ok, handy-teen) that she hires to help fix up her place? Apparently Jane, despite being solidly unattractive and lacking any kind of personality, has a pussy lined with solid fucking gold because this teenage putz can’t stop ogling her and lying to his friends about how he’s scoring with her.
The stupidity of some of this flick aside, it’s still highly watchable. It has all the clichés of your classic supernatural, haunted house story and it pulls you into it just enough to start slapping spooky shit in your face. There’s also a fun appearance by the hugely talented Joseph Cotton (Citizen Kane, Niagara, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Hellbenders) as the crotchety, drunken lawyer who tries convincing Jane to forget about staying in the house and to fuck off back to her big-city life in San Francisco.  He tells her the spine-tingling tale about her Aunt’s death and how the hearse carrying her body caught fire. How no bodies or the hearse itself were ever recovered, how Satan himself reached up from the fiery pits of Hell and took what was his.
It’s not the most cohesive plot, in fact, it doesn’t really make sense but it’s solidly sinister and ghost-y-licious. I was interested the entire time and eager to see what would happen next despite the idiocy of certain aspects. (she has a pentagram locket and has no god damn idea what it is, she just thinks it’s pretty)

Sometimes it’s just nice to check out, toss an oldie on and allow yourself to settle into the mood of a film and not be quite so critical of the details.

Give it a chance if you’re looking for something a little different. (It helps if you’re watching it alone in your own spooky, old house…but deal with the hand you’ve been dealt)
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:


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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.

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