Director: Jack McHenry
Starring: Tom Bailey, Maureen Bennett, Alfred Bradle, Robert Llewellyn, Timothy Renouf, Charlie Robb, Jessica Webber. UK. 1h 20m
Genre bending comedy horror doesn’t get much better than this frightful mini epic. Here Comes Hell, sees a small group of gorgeous 1930’s socialites hooking up to see one of their friends’ new purchases, which just happens to be a charming haunted mansion located deep in the British wilderness. The party includes a seance as getting a psychic grandma in on your party is thought to be terribly fun.
Downton Abbey Meets Evil Dead
Shot in 4:3 ratio it comes across as a square black and white treat. There’ll be a bit to get used to for a lot of modern fans, the era, style, accents and concept is slightly off the beaten track, but coming from someone who doesn’t even like comedy, and especially comedy horrors; I must admit there’s just enough quirkiness to make this one a real banger. When you put it all together with the 20/30s revival of the occult, this could have been something incredibly insane, imagine an Alistair Crowley inspired spaced out version of the Void, directed by Ben Wheatly and set in House on Haunted Hill.. and sited in the village of League of Gentlemen… this comes close to what is achieved in Here Comes Hell.
So the stately manor had been abandoned for many years, with talk about occult practices and hauntings keeping the locals away. But when a city boy, with more cash than common sense decides to buy the place, he opens his doors to his best friends and inadvertently the gates to hell also. After settling his friends in, a granny psychic turns up to contact the dead but she makes contact with something more dangerous than a pearl clutching Victorian. After trying to dispatch the old grannie the group of friends feel they have cut ties with the dead but they find themselves fighting for their lives till dawn.
Jack McHenry practices really crazy angles and utilises the best creepy features of the “period” property, the camera is pretty active, following behind ghouls and creeping around the alcoves. There’s some impressive special effects, mostly practical and dealt with under a small £2,000 budget. Their homemade approach actually works in the best interest, as they are slightly wobbly and clumsy but this adds to the goofy persona of the whole movie. For me the best feature is the psychic who gets blasted with a shotgun early on and spends the rest of the movie wandering around seeking out live souls, it’s very Evil Dead and I’ve come to name her “the possessed inside out woman” with her eyeballs sludging around she’s a freaky addition.
“Hello there, you big fat American bastard!”-George
At times the movie can be a touch annoying as it overplays the quaint campy British stiff upper lip, at any point a cucumber sandwich might be brought out by a small boy in a straw boater. It feels like a spoof but this is the selling point! The dialogue is a blend of hoity-toity and a few cracking one liners that come out of the blue, as Poirot meets the Exorcist, you’d expect a few expletives. It’s wholesome entertainment, there’s a lot to laugh at and some intensely obscure moments, just when you think it could get any more ridiculous, another jump scare is pulled out of the hat and you’ll soon start believing that these young 20 something’s are a great substitute for the teens in the 80’s slashers, and I think I’d like to see this approach with more subgenres in horror. Jack McHenry dared to do something bold and different and he really succeeded and needs to swing again cos he’s knocking these out of the park.
Related: Evil Dead (1981), House by the Cemetery (1981),
Lists: Modern Black and White Horrors