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Monday, January 9, 2017


    Remember back in the 1980's when you'd go into your local video store,  looking for that perfect horror movie to rent on a Friday night?  I sure do, and there was always a particular VHS that stood out, taunting me with its lurid and catchy cover art. That film was THE NESTING, and for some reason I never rented it, or even caught it on HBO. I have no idea why I never saw this film. Well kids, I finally broke down and watched it recently- and you know what?  I actually loved it. Largely ignored and dismissed upon its initial release in 1981 due to the slasher craze going on at the time, THE NESTING is actually a solid and very entertaining ghost story that offers up a plucky-yet-unstable heroine, a kinky back story, and some stylish directing.

     THE NESTING  tells the tale of big city thriller novelist Lauren Cochran (Robin Groves) who suffers from anxiety attacks and is diagnosed with agoraphobia. Lauren decides a country retreat to finish working on her new novel is just what the doctor ordered, and begins house hunting. She mysteriously finds herself drawn to a house identical to the one she's currently writing about in her new novel "The Nesting", a strange, octagonal mansion that used to be a brothel and was the site of a horrible bloodbath years ago. How does plucky author Lauren Cochran know this?  Well see, she immediately begins having dreams and visions of the house- and being a horror movie, everyone around her starts dying mysterious and horrible deaths, of course. What does the house want with her? Will she escape the evil clutches of the house, or become a permanent and ghostly fixture there?

     While watching THE NESTING, several other films immediately sprung to mind, as it's basically a mish-mash of THE SENTINEL, THE CHANGELING,and THE HAUNTING OF JULIA. And that's what makes it so much fun to watch.  The film has acquired a rather negative reputation over the years, and I'm gonna chalk most of that up to the downright dreadful VHS transfer we were all stuck with in the 80's and 90's- dark, muddy, cropped, and distorted, very much like the original VHS transfers of  HUMOUNGOUS, THE FINAL TERROR and CURTAINS where you truly couldn't tell what was going on in half the movie. THE NESTING looks sensational on blu-ray, kids.

    It's somewhat bumpy in parts,but overall it's a solid little shocker from 1981, and surprisingly holds up rather well today. I really enjoyed the kinetic and somewhat-unhinged musical score, and genre favorites John Carradine and Gloria Grahame pop up in memorable cameos.  Robin Groves is a very likeable heroine, the house itself is genuinely creepy, and the whole thing has a deliciously lurid context to it, as the film was directed by adult filmmaker Armand Weston.  Contrived and familiar? Sure. But still a lot of fun to watch.

   THE NESTING was part of that whole supernatural shocker craze permeating the late 70's and early 80's, especially after the success of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR in 1979.  I'm glad I finally gave in and watched it, and really enjoyed this one for what it was, and although I wouldn't go as far to say I discovered a lost classic here, I've seen far worse and I'll definitely be adding this blu-ray to my collection. Indeed.

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