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by Thomas M. Sipos, managing editor  [July 15, 2017]






All Through the House poster[]  All Through the House offers nothing that hardcore slasher fans haven't seen before. This has to be one of the most painstakingly derivative slasher films yet made. Care was taken to hit all the retro 1980s marks. The film's strengths (e.g., grisly gore effects) are classic slasher strengths. Its weaknesses (e.g., mediocre and hammy acting) are common slasher weaknesses. The result is a gorily entertaining romp that blends thrills with nostalgia.

As in The Unseen, Rachel (Ashley Mary Nunes) has dumped her nice guy boyfriend (who still loves her), and her girlfriend is trying to reunite them. Meanwhile, Rachel's creepy neighbor, Mrs. Garrett (Melynda Kiring), recruits Rachel and her two girlfriends to finish decorating her house for Christmas while she attends a party.

As in Halloween, a lunatic escapes from an asylum, returns home, and the body count mounts. As in The Burning, this particular lunatic favors garden sheers and boldly brandishes them on a regular basis. (You have to admire a slasher who takes pride in his tools.) Why is this slasher such an angry young man? Ah, there's the rub. Man. You see, as in in Sleepaway Camp and Castle Freak, Mrs. Garrett wanted a daughter instead of a son, and did something drastic about it.

Perhaps it's an oversight, but nothing in the film's story relates to Christmas. The story is set during Christmas season. Decorations abound. Mrs. Garrett's house is full of Christmas decor, including creepy mannequins dressed as Santa. The killer dresses like Santa, though he wears a Krampus mask. (Krampus, we are told, is a sort of anti-Santa. The dark side of the Santa legend. So really, he's a Krampus killer, rather than a Santa killer.) However, unlike in Silent Night, Deadly Night or Christmas Evil, the killer is not motivated by Christmas. He could have done his killing spree any time of year. All Through the House uses Christmas as a backdrop rather than a motivating factor.




Christmas season does make for pretty backdrops. The cinematography and production design is pretty, partially due to the many colored Christmas lights. The film boasts a cornucopia of Christmas lights and decorations, leading one to speculate on just how much of the budget went toward it. Sound quality is professional. The gore effects are plentiful and well done, as befits a slasher film.

The acting is serviceable, but nothing special. Kiring turns in a hammy performance as Mrs. Garrett, lacking subtlety or nuance. It's appropriate for a low-budget, horror villainess. The rest of the cast do their mediocre best. It's not a real problem, but the three girlfriends look about 15 years apart in age. Jessica Cameron has enough baby fat to pass for early 20s. Nunes looks to be late 20s. Johanna Rae appears well into her 30s. I didn't know if they were supposed to be coeds, recent grads, or longtime friends.



However old, they, and most of the other female victims, make for decent eye candy -- a legitimate consideration for low-budget, exploitation fare. And lest you think this film is sexist, there are male victims too -- and castrations aplenty!

Yes, All Through the House is an exploitation film. That's not true of all slasher films. Curtains rises to the level of art. This film, not so much.

There's not much more to say about All Through the House. Dark family secrets, sexual deviancy, lunatics, gory deaths, pretty girls, all amid colorful Christmas lights and decor. Slasher fans will enjoy.


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