Rather enjoyable actually...
Mr P. D. Kinnear | Wirral, Cheshire United Kingdom | 11/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hackneyed plot, poor acting, dodgy songs, TERRIBLE miming to those songs and flat direction are all present in HILLBILLYS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE, yet I just can't bring myself to hate this film. Everything is just so sweet and niave, without a hint of malice about it. Seeing Basil Rathbone slumming it made me gasp in horror, but he still tips the film over into 'acceptable' by his mere appearance.
A Country and Western duet and their nervous manager are on the way to the "Nashville Jamboree" when a storm (which we never see) forces them to hole up in the titular haunted mansion. Bag of nerves "Jeepers" needs a rest anyway, so this is the ideal place for a cosy quiet night and a sing-song. Needless to say, the house is occupied by spies who (in typical 'Scooby Doo' manner) use electronic trickery to scare away unwanted visitors. When the spies' pet gorilla (don't ask) kidnaps the female singer "Boots Malone", our two heroes begin the hunt for her. Things wrap up nicely with the trio ending up in Nashville and the last 20 minutes consists of music numbers from people I've never heard of accompanied by stock footage of an appreciative audience from 10 years before!
I mean, just read the audacity of that plot and you'll see what I mean. Joi Lansing as 'Boots' is a pretty & shapely platinum blonde that cheers up the film no end (I didn't think she would fit into that iron maiden in which the villains imprison her as she's, ahem, a little big in front!) and actually offers a nice performance. The comedy is pretty basic, but there are a couple of funny lines lines from nervous wreck "Jeepers" (not many, though!)
Best of all, this film is a reminder of better times that probably never existed and is ideal when you're feeling fed up and need something to watch with a friend, if only to mercilessly pull apart. Even then, you'll have had a good time..."
M2 | Glendale, CA United States | 03/28/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Everybody has their own personal choice for the worst movie ever made, and "Hillbillys in a Haunted House" is mine. So why 2 stars? Because like so many other totally wretched films it has a strange sort of fascination...and because I believe you have to experience the worst before you can appreciate the good stuff. Ferlin Husky, Joi Lansing (who's awful by an eyefull) and someone named Don Bowman play traveling country musicians who stumble upon a house so creepy looking that it might as well have "HAUNTED" in neon letters above it, and are forced to spend the night. Inside are John Carradine (who breezes through this mess so casually that he calls other characters by the wrong names), Basil Rathbone, who is clearly having the worst day of his life, and Lon Chaney (who manages one good, incongruously chilling murder scene) as some sort of spies. There is also a really terrible actress named Linda Ho as a Dragon Lady and a guy in a gorilla suit, since everyone knows that all haunted houses come complete with their own gorillas. It might have been possible to pull off this sort of rubbish at Universal in the 1940s (with largely the same cast!), but for 1967 -- the year before "Rosemary's Baby" and "Night of the Living Dead" -- it's pretty pathetic. And for film buffs, the spectacle of watching the obviously ailing Rathbone struggling through his last film role is downright painful --almost as painful as the performance of Ferlin Husky, who in an apparent tribute to Chaney, seems to turn into a howling werewolf whenever he goes for the high notes. This film played mostly in the south upon release: maybe it was intended as punishment for that seccession business a century earlier."