House of the Dead (2003)

Review by:
Bill Clark

Reviewed by:
On January 22, 2004
Last modified:July 8, 2014


Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Exhibit A (House of the Dead) in the evidence that no more video games should be made into movies.

House of the Dead (2003)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Exhibit A in the evidence that no more video games, under any conditions, should be made into movies. We have Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat, etc. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, this descent into hell arrives.

The smart money says you missed this heap back when it hit theaters. It was in and out faster than college kids in the drunk tank. I’m sure Sega and Artisan reps alike thought they had a surefire hit on their hands. After all, the game is a sensation at the lobby arcade, so why not make it into a movie, right?

Things could not have gone worse. The film runs a scant ninety minutes, and I looked at my watch at least five times. The acting, special effects, and story are all atrocious and completely defy logic on any standard.

About the story…it goes something like this. Six horny college-aged kids (three male, three female) are looking to attend “the rave of the year.” For some reason, this particular party takes place on a secluded island in the middle of nowhere. Sega signs are everywhere, as are naked chicks. Since the fools miss the ride the rave supplies, the group ends up hitching a ride with the mysterious Capt. Kirk (Jurgen Prochnow…get the joke?) and his First Mate, Salish (Howard). Kirk tells the group of how the island is cursed with the dead and other nonsense, all of which is of course ignored by the group.

Upon arrival the friends find the party crashed and no one is around. What happened? Zombies of course! It is never explained how the party goers turned into zombies, but whatever. The next thing you know all of the kids know martial arts and how to fire guns with endless amounts of ammunition.

The film has all the standard horror cliches; false scares, naked women, and gore (although not until the second half). The film does possess a first, however, at least in my movie going experience. The film actually intercuts screenshots of the video game in the movie! This, in short, looks awful and is extremely cheesy. This is all done, of course, over incessantly awful techno music and swirling shots of the actors firing guns and doing black-belt Karate. Horrid.

I suppose no bad horror movie is complete without the presence of Clint Howard, who in his short time in the film at least grabs a couple of laughs. Whether they were intentional or not may range from viewer to viewer.

In the end, this is one dog you will sure want to miss. I could see it grabbing a following at college parties where people are too drunk or high to care about what’s going on. To the average viewer, this is some horrid stuff. Avoid this turkey like a badly made-up zombie.


Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Length: 90 Minutes
Rating: R for pervasive strong violence/gore, language, and some nudity.
Theatrical Release: October 10, 2003
Directed by: Uwe Boll
Written by: Mark A. Altman & Dave Parker.
Cast: Jonathan Cherry, Tyron Leitso, Clint Howard, Ona Grauer, Ellie Cornell, Will Sanderson




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