So Campy…It’s Good! a Review Of: “The House on Skull Mountain”

In light of a New York Times article proclaiming Atlanta the “Zombie Capital of the World,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution took a closer look at some of the supernatural TV shows and movies filmed in Georgia. One that caught my eye was a 1974 movie they said was filmed and set in Atlanta called, “The House on Skull Mountain.” The movie poster shows an ominous-looking house perched on top of a mountain with a large skull carved into the stone side of the mountain. So I fired up the streaming Netflix and gave this one a whirl.

A group of four strangers are brought to the aforementioned house after being told a relative, Pauline Christophe, has died and they need to appear for the reading of the will. As it turns out, no one has a clue who this relative is, or how they are related to the others gathered at the house.

Victor French, who looked familiar but it took me a moment to place him as Michael Landon’s sidekick on ‘Highway to Heaven,’ stars as Dr. Andrew Cunningham. Is it just me, or is Nick Offerman of ‘Parks and Recreations,’ the air to the Victor French bushy but loveable mustache? The strikingly beautiful Janee Michelle, who also starred in “Scream, Blacula, Scream,” plays Lorena Christophe. Let’s just cut to the chase and say these are the only two folks we care about and that make it to the end.

In one scene Lorena and Andrew take a trip into Atlanta. it was interesting to see Atlanta circa mid-1970s. The dominating skyscrapers have not quite arrived. The Peachtree Plaza Hotel, at the time of its completion was the tallest hotel in the world and featured prominently in the Burt Reynolds movie “Sharky’s Machine,” had not been built yet. The venerable Equitable building is easily noticeable, now lost behind much bigger brethren in today’s skyline.

I was a little surprised at the hint of an interracial romance as Andrew and Lorena hold hands and giggle as they walk through Underground Atlanta. I didn’t think movies in the Deep South at this time would test those waters. And, not to mention they are supposed to be related in a roundabout way, but I never quite figured that one out.

I have to say, “The House on Skull Mountain,” with its dated styles and limited special effects, is a hoot to watch. Sure, it has some of the horror movies staples, such as falling down elevator shafts and voodoo magic, but manages to provide a jump or two in doing so. Just accept it for what it is and enjoy the throwback ride.

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