02 October 2014

The House on Skull Mountain (1974)
85 min.
Directed by Ron Honthaner.
With Victor French, Janee Michelle, Jean Durand, Mike Evans, Ella Woods, Xernona Clayton, Mary J. Todd McKenzie, Don Devendorf.
After her death, a group of relatives are summoned to the isolated home of grandmother Christophe to hear a reading of her will and see if she's left them anything.

She's left them all...FEAR! Since she and her devoted butler were hardcore voodoo practitioners, things don't go as well as the heirs planned.

Soon, someone - or something - is killing the heirs, one by one, and it appears that supernatural black arts are to blame.

Skull Mountain is a handsome entry in the early '70s blaxploitation cycle, but it suffers from an acute lack of suspense.

As the characters start to be summarily killed off, we see who the culprit is right from the start.

The cast is a mixed bag. Victor French (from TV's Little House on the Prairie) is on hand as a white cousin who saves the day.

Meanwhile, Mike Evans (TV's Lionel on All In the Family and The Jeffersons) adds a light touch, but seems to be in an entirely different film altogether, as he plays his role in a haphazard comedic style.

Awkward tension and a few unintentional laughs hamper the action, but better direction and a tighter script would have helped.

Case in point: the overly long, orgiastic, black magic ceremony: a misguided screamfest that defies description.

Filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.

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