Horror House on Highway Five (1985)


Written & Directed by: Richard Casey


Phil Therrien .... Dr. Marbuse
Max Manthey .... Gary
Irene Cagen .... Sally Smith
Michael Castagnolia .... The Pothead
Susan Leslie .... Louise

Release Date: Direct-to-Video: 1985



A van full of college students traveling down a highway is terrorized by a psycho killer in a Richard Nixon mask while working on a project there.


Ridiculous beginning with trashy discussions between a couple at a house and their sarcastic interactions towards one another as I was convinced the voices were overly dubbed which it shows big time here as well as later on the killer in the mask slowly doing away with one of them and being sneaky about all of this which was a total time waster.
Also there's raw moments with Sally Smith coming in as a client to Dr. Marbuse and a strange approach by his sidekick Gary as these moments were supposed to look mysteriously creepy but that misses by a longshot big time. Also a moment when Dr. Marbuse tells him to capture her afterwards and he gets the wrong woman in which all of this looked amateurishly bad. Plus a ton of bad writing too.
More bad writing when Sally returns and tries to give Gary advice on standing up for himself when Dr. Marbuse treats him badly and he thinks he should kill him as this looked terribly silly to watch this plot unravel as I rolled my eyes big time.

Then in the story a lame moment when dr. Marbuse tries to do some sort of a ceremony and getting Gary to use a clothing iron on Sally as this looked like a couple of doofus' not knowing on what they're doing. This wasn't effective to say the least.
More annoying moments with a Pothead and his girlfriend Louise as they spot a dead cat in their van and other situations like that which was supposed to look shocking but fails in order to do so. I was getting bored to death watching most of these moments in the film unravel as I almost quit watching this flick thinking to myself that nothing is going to come out of it.
More amateurish moments when a tough guy is telling this masked killer off and about to pick a fight with him as this looked extremely sloppy but there's a nice bloody effect later on when this killer survives being run over but the tough guy's girlfriend isn't too shocked about all of this like any female in a horror film should be.
However the moments start to improve a bit which saved this clunker from bombing as later on someone tries to run to a house owned by Dr. Marbuse realising he's a threat and then runs to hide where a red doorway is when he warns her not to go in there and a nice red lighting on her looking around with whooshing sounds and realise she's being attacked with the killer attacking her as this almost seemed to pay a near tribute to Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This was my favourite scene and will always remember this. This left a chilling feeling in a cheesy sort of way.
Another nice moment is when the Pothead goes around the deserted neighborhood trying to find a phone and spots two dead corpses as well as him finding elsewhere which seemed a nice add onto the story along with him going to that home with the red door and looking around with the whooshing sound along with him stupidly falling down and hitting his head on a metal rake.
Then there's a situation with Louise spotting Sally tied up and she tries to save her as you're supposed to cringe that the maniacs will come back but this fails in order to do so.
Nice dark shot on Louise near a vehicle and Dr. Marbuse approaching her with a handmade drill that isn't machanical using his hands to turn it and terrorising her with this object which looked lame to watch as the makers could've at least put at least some budget to have a more deadly device but they didn't. This was one of the most memorable moments in this story which says nothing at all.
Then the day day occurs as Louise tries to flag a car down on the highway and a guy in a van picks her up as at first it looked like this driver seemed innocent but later on with how he reacts of course gives you the chills that he isn't safe.
Bottom line is that this flick is amateurish junk which tries hard to be a slasher film but bombs in order to come across this way. It's boring and terribly put together as the picture is hard to see for the most part. Only saves from boming is what I mentioned in the room behind the red lit door. Otherwise avoid this clunker at all costs as it's totally outdated for when it was put together.

The acting is terrible as it seemed that most of these people were probably friends with the filmmakers in which this looked terribly overdubbed. Phil Therrien (Dr. Marbuse) represented himself a little better than most of them as he comes across as a mad scientist with his looks and appeal but this is nothing to brag about by any means at all. Seemed stiff with his lines or aggressive behavior but you could tell at times that he tried his best. Still not good enough to be a character actor.
Max Manthey (Gary) was incredibly wooden with his speaking as a doofus maniac in which he didn't seem too keen on playing this role a t all. He was over the top and extremely silly for his speaking and his actions as well. Very off on his blocking when he tries to attack someone which his performance during these moments were terribly sloppy. He got on my nerves big time and was too much. A very annoying performer this one was.
Irene Cagen (Sally Smith) was the best out of the cast but that's nothing to brag about. She seemed to show off an innocent and mellow type of behavior as well as acting caring and helpful which was done at a mediocre pace. When she freaks out or screams it's at times a bit much and needed more inspiration.
Michael Castagnolia (The Pothead) was the worst of them all in which he did act like he was on drugs but doesn't react to anything at all. He was a line reader and lacked incredibly as if he was always in a trance. He just couldn't get with it. I know he was supposed to act like he was always stoned but at least he could've picked up the pace a bit and he fails to do so.

A woman's butt is revealed after taking a shower in a bathroom

A gruesome looking cut wirst is revealed after being cut by shattered glass
Metal rake is impaled in someone's head

Alot of toned out electric guitar playing especially for the beginning of the movie as well as some out of tuned piano and violin music in which I thought that Kraig Grady and Suzanne McDermott seriously should be ashamed for themselves but yet there's some improvements in other spots as there's echoey screeching sounds for the near terrors that are about to happen which works in well along with high pitched screechy violin music for the attacking scene's like when someone with a handmade drill is about to attack someone.

The Pothead: [On fiding a dead feline in the back of his student van] What the hell is this dead cat doing here?