There are many people who live by the motto “any day above ground is a good one.” I tend to wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment, but I also have a another, more specific motto — any day that I get to watch a new horror film is a good one. With that said, today turned out to be one of the good ones thanks to my viewing of Richard Friedman’s Scared Stiff.
Shortly after moving into a new home with her boyfriend and son, Kate begins to experience haunting visions. There is a curse on the old house and it is trying to take hold of all of its new residents.
Like many other films from this genre, Scared Stiff found a way to elude me all of these years. Up until recently, I had no idea this film even existed.
Scared Stiff is an interesting tale of supernatural origin. It features a 130 year old curse that is deeply rooted in the house that is now home to a new family. Similar to great horror stories like The Amityville Horror or even The Shining, the cursed grounds have a powerful effect on every single person who now lives there.
The male antagonists seen throughout the film are played by David Ramsey and Andrew Stevens. Neither of these men are as talented as James Brolin or Jack Nicholson were in their similar roles, but were more than capable of getting the job done in this 1987 flick.
Mary Page Keller’s performance as Kate, a singer trying to revive her career, helps to carry the film to its finale. She isn’t your typical scream queen or final girl, but her performance is just fine and a perfect fit for this story.
In a day and age when almost all horror films contain CG effects, it is great to revisit the oldies and see how things were done during the golden age of the genre we all love so much. Sure, there are times where digital effects are utilized, but the majority of the guts and gore is created using rather impressive practical effects.
Scared Stiff is slow at times, making its 84 minute runtime feel much longer. Even still, it features a final act that ties everything up nicely. I was surprised at how much I liked the look of the evil spirit, Masterson, in his ‘final form;’ His tribal-inspired monster look was very impressive and shockingly menacing.
Arrow Video has uncovered another hidden gem for us horror fans. Their new home release features reversible cover art and is packed with awesome bonus features. My favorite of the bunch is the making-of featurette that contains interviews with director Richard Friedman, actor Andrew Stevens, and more of the cast and crew.
Scared Stiff will be available to own on Blu-ray from Arrow Video on Tuesday, April 23. Make sure to grab yourself a copy, so you don’t miss out on this awesome release!
I give this one 3 attic dwelling pigeons out of 5.