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observation notes: 8213 Gacy House

This is how much I love you, "you" being The Asylum, and my faithful readers: I'm not the biggest fan of ghost stories, mostly because I'm a big believer in ghosts, and seeing that shit onscreen, especially when it's portrayed realistically, that just freaks my ass out. I'm also not a big fan of clowns, especially those who are actually evil. So then you can imagine something like 8213 Gacy House - the latest offering from the fine folks at The Asylum, available on DVD this Tuesday, September 28th - a film built around "crime scene footage" of a group of paranormal investigators that never escaped said house alive, you can imagine how much I did not want to watch this movie, if only for the sake of my own sleep. But watch it I did, for all our sakes, and it scared the shit out of me, for real; I had to drink copious, copious amounts of brown liquor to dull my imagination into unconsciousness. 

How much is that clowny in the window?
The concept, like those of most all quality, super -scary films, is simple enough: notorious American serial killer John Wayne Gacy - the fat one who dressed up like a clown - was convicted of killing 33 young boys, 26 of whom were found buried in the crawl space of his Chicago home, and another three planted out back in the yard. The original house was destroyed during the investigation, and Gacy himself followed a few years later by lethal injection, but you gotta figure - if you're the sort who believes in ghosts, and believes that on occasion they can cling to a place in this world if it is a place they have a great emotional connection to, like, say, it's where they did all their sweet, sweet killing - this place is as haunted as it gets. That's what the team of investigators in this "documentary" figure, at least, and so they go to the new house on the old site with the intention of spending one night inside and gathering all the evidence they can that the spirit of John Wayne Gacy still clings to this ground. Why? I don't know, seems like either way, find him or not, you lose. But as the poster tells you, they find the motherfucker. And how.

This one's pretty much all spoilers from the moment they get inside the house, so I'll be general: this is a truly frightening, spine-curling and nail-gnawing film. I was afraid to leave to go to the bathroom, and as a result almost had the piss scared out of me every three or four minutes. The found-footage effect was an absolute advantage, as I usually think it is, especially in this genre, and The Asylum's commitment to the footage's authenticity - that is, clinging to the ruse that this is real and not scripted, as they did in Monster and Paranormal Entity - is steadfast and does indeed lend a layer of discomfort. Inevitably there will be comparisons to Paranormal Activity, though as noted above, The Asylum has already tied-in to that film, and really, if you're going to slag them off for ripping on the found-footage craze, be prepared to do it a lot more in the coming year, and to names like J.J. Abrams. 

This film conjures scares all its own, thanks to crafty, well-paced direction by Anthony Fankhauser (2012 Supernova) and shall we say, compelling performances from all of the investigators, notably Asylum newcomers Jim Lewis, Matthew Temple, Sylvia Panacione and Brett A. Newton.

Blood, gore, zombies, vampires, wolves and witches, serial killers, stalkers, satanists, cults; these things (onscreen) don't scare me. Ghosts, however, scare the bejesus out of me, so long as it's done right. Therefore, if my level of fear when watching a ghost movie is any indication as to the quality of the movie in question, then 8213 Gacy House is the scariest ghost story I've seen since The Blair Witch Project, and that includes Paranormal Activity (which I thought was mostly just shocking, not scary).

As I said, this Tuesday, September 28th, run to your local, independent video store to rent your copy.

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