Clive Barker’s feature directing debut graphically depicts the tale of a man and wife who move into an old house and discover a hideous creature — the man’s half-brother, who is also the woman’s former lover — hiding upstairs.
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Essential horror. Barker's debut was the thing of nightmares melding S&M archetypes with extreme horror while providing high production value and casting that exceeded the genre. Clare Higgins is simply brilliant here with a performance both macabre and sexy. Andrew Robinson was also good here and boy could Ashley Laurence scream. Unfortunate it launched a series of middling sequels however.
An admirably ambitious horror film that ultimately fails. It may have outstanding gore but it just doesn't have an interesting enough narrative. Really incoherent characterizations that lack depth; by the ending you just won't give a shit about anyone because you really don't know who they actually are. Disappointing, I thought this was a classic.
Barker frames his demons in intimate detail, using Vidgeon's photography as a sick form of containment. This is a surreal excursion into horror filmmaking that sometimes goes too haywire for its own good. Nevertheless, its ambition and atmospheric ferocity overshadow its flaws. It's like a nasty blend of Lovecraft, Carpenter, Friedkin, King, and apartment-era Polanski. A stunning, formidable piece of work.
It has good makeup effects & a delightfully sick sense of humor, & I give it credit for a protagonist who isn't as stupid as most female horror leads. The other woman, though, needs to spend a little more time asking questions & a little less time jumping from 'deranged half-melted corpse asking me for blood' to murder without at least asking how or why. --PolarisDiB
If you can get beyond the blood and gore, this is a very intelligent film. Clive Barker's low-budget debut feature is a fetishistic nightmare about what really happens when our desires grab hold of us in more ways than one.