Ti West sure digs his retro. In The Roost -- his tidy little horror film about a group of travelers threatened by some really nasty bats -- he added a wraparound featuring Tom Noonan in tacky butler drag, holding forth in front of a cardboard set as host of a local Saturday Night Chiller Feature broadcast. For The House of the Devil -- which reunites West with Noonan and adds in Mary Woronov for good measure -- it's a blast from the '80s, complete with a really gnarly font and a freeze-frame for the opening titles.
Elbow-in-the-ribs tip-offs aside, The House of the Devil -- about a college student (Jocelin Donahue) who goes to an isolated abode for a babysitter gig and (surprise!) encounters more than she bargained for, including Noonan and Woronov as her clients -- shows off West's skill at building atmosphere and his predilection for eerie nuance over gross-out gore. The Saw franchise (and if any series deserves the term "franchise," it's that one) may be more efficient in logging a body count, but House is the kind of film that reminds you how cool it is to settle back and just let the dread soak in.
West shared some spooky goings-on that happened on-set, and talked about the audience's responsibility in making sure that the labors of horror's more unique visionaries don't completely vanish from the screen. Click on the player below to hear the interview.
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