Paranormal films constantly whisper in the darkness, with chills to the horror genre, from films ranging from the big-screen to the overflow in the DVD Market, always good for the scare from The Uninvited (1944) to The Haunting (1963) and then numerous Amityville and Paranormal Activity sequels, and yet rough films linger in the basements, attics and closets.
Hence, this brings forth from the shadows, Ghostkeepers, from director and actor Anthony D.P. Mann, who portrays a Vincent Price macabre posh, as Victor Brimstone with a slightly stereotypical geeky horror fan podcaster, Barry Bird reuniting key cast members to a house where a cult film entitled, “The House Where Evil Was Born”. Now for the horror fans, there no horror films with this title, although the closest is Kevin Connor’s The House Where Evil Dwells (1982), but Anthony’s film does not refer to that film, sad it might have helped the storyline. A haunted theme movie must try extremely hard to balance itself without overselling the story, and allow the location to brings itself into character creating atmosphere for the cast to develop their characters without become corny or hokey, however, dull back stories of the characters and very nice home, gives fright nowhere to lunge out at the audience. There potential scares for a younger audience a PG-13 crowd, a mysterious candle lit and thumping against windows, with a few creative camera angles alluding to the evil force watching them. The elements of suspense lack in a few areas, reducing the film from achieving a successful haunted house, as a side note, the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, never truly directed a ‘Haunted House’ film the closest one could allude to is Psycho (1960). Psycho tends to more of a slasher genre than paranormal, but adds heavy layer in suspense providing enough tension and scares to the audience.
The film fulfills the requirements of a haunted house, especially Anthony’s Brimstone a tad short with his style, potential an interesting side story with the character, a man that at times looks similar to Anton LaVey, but a bit heavier. The gathering of the cult film stars, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the movie, awakens negative energy, releasing a paranormal unholy terror, inside the Marlow House. The storyline tries a original approach with the adding of a podcast, and bringing in a local psychic, Amber (Jenny Costanzo), the reasoning, because the film that occurred inside the house 25years ago had the director of the film kill himself, and the question remains, did he do it or the house or is a ghost within the walls. Barry’s tech assistant, Raike (Jennifer Verardi), seems to be more involved in the history but does not let on about her connections. Anthony’s pays reference to the original House on Haunted Hill, and uses the psychic aspect to try to connect to the former director, but instead makes contact with a tormented and forgotten little boy, here the terror should spill and spin out of control but lack mysterious missing. By now in most haunted house films, at least one person has met their sad fate or driven into a panic mode of sheer panic. However, none of that happens, perhaps the director sought more of a murder-mystery theme, yet nothing pushes the characters in that direction.
The film lacks the constant chilling effects and absolutely no level of gore, but the budget absolutely would deny that from occurring, as the location obviously consumed the budget along with the cast, yet a fair film from Reality Films. One must mention the excellent send-up to The Challenging (1980), that involves the scene of the ball bouncing stairs when the grounds keeper and owner, enters into the home. By the way this gentleman, Hatcher (Barry Yuen) who wishes to get rid of the house, and states in a negative manner that intention, and breaks the cardinal rule in horror films, especially in haunted houses investigate what cause that ‘ball’ to come down the stairs.
In the end, one must understand that some houses wish to become a home for a loving family and others desire to remain alone, cold, withdraw and viciously upset with anyone with evil intention against it.