Housesitter: The Night They Saved Siegfried’s Brain started off intriguing me before I even started watching it. With a screener link usually comes some supporting info, stills, posters, blurb, etc. and it sounded interesting. Of course it does, I hear you say, that’s why they send it. But hear me out…
Housesitter: The Night They Saved Siegfried’s Brain was filmed in 1987 but only finished within the last twelve months. It was written by and features Richard Gasparian. (Who? Well if you are an end credits hawk and watch a lot of animation you may have seen the name; Extreme Ghostbusters, Jumanji, Men In Black, Dilbert, King of the Hill, and, most famously, The Simpsons. He is, apparently, a timing director. No… me neither.) Then it goes on to say that it sat on a shelf for thirty two years but, recently, Skywalker Sound took on the sound and Paramount Pictures colour department did the final picture and so it is now complete.
I did wonder for a bit if it was actually filmed in the ‘80s or it was just some sort of back story to whip up interest; the clothes looked right as did the hair so I think that it was shot in 1987. Maybe the IMDb Goofs spotters might come back and say that the Budweiser tins in the party scene weren’t used until 1989 or something like that but it looked genuine to me.
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So then we come to the film itself… to be honest it headed off in one direction but very quickly got lost. I found myself thinking that this was a send up of some of the ’80s shlock horror films like Chopping Mall or Ghoulies but then I remembered that this is actually one of them albeit not actually a good one. Then there are the allusions to ‘50s sci-fi films like Plan 9 From Outer Space or The Wild Women Of Wongo. I don’t know if it’s meant to tie in with the ‘50s sci-fi vs ‘80s horror themes but the lab scenes were in black and white while the party scenes were in colour.
The acting was pretty hit and miss but, having said that, nearly half the cast in the IMDb listing only had one entry… Housesitter: The Night They Saved Siegfried’s Brain. One wonders if they might have had more calls if the film had been released thirty years ago.
I did keep thinking that I was going to like this more than I actually did. Even three quarters of the way through I still had hopes that it’d turn around but, sadly, it didn’t really.
Movie Grade: C-
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!
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Jill Florio Administrator
It sounds like a cool little mashup of styles, but your grade suggests it’s not a high priority for my watch list.
Is the name reference to Freud? Does it have a brain-in-a-jar theme?
Someone else may well appreciate it more than I did… I have to assume that they did as why else would they dust it off after thirty odd years?
I always think that if you’re going to base your viewing on what a critic or reviewer says then you need to look around and find one that likes similar things to what you do. For instance, I’m not a big horror/gore fan. I can appreciate how that genre has single handedly pushed the envelope totally out of shape for injury and mutilation SFX but I haven’t had a decent jump scare since the end of the 1976 Carrie; I do remember jumping at a scene in Bad Times at the El Royale but that wasn’t a horror.
Anyway, my point is that I wouldn’t come to me for a recommendation about a horror film. Christene is our expert here but I tend to get the Indie/low budget films.
Is it a reference to Freud? Not directly. Are there brains in jars? Yes! They’re there bubbling away which always strikes me as odd. The only time I’ve ever seen anything bubbling in a jar was on a bar in Prague and that was because the sausages and sauerkraut inside were fermenting! Any medical thing in a jar that I’ve seen has not been bubbling; the fluid might be circulating but not enough to cause cavitation.
Maybe that’s why I don’t get horror films…
Jill Florio Administrator
I don’t like horror either, unless it’s horror-comedy (there’s a lot more out there than people think), or LIGHT Sci-Fi/Action Horror, like Aliens or Terminator. And I love a good Zom-Rom-Com (I can name three offhand).
But this sounds like a shlock film, which can be in the Bad On Purpose, or So Bad It’s Good categories — which get to the same place but with different intent. Kind of the sort of silliness you see on MST3K.
Brains in Jars are a well worn trope — even Steve Martin went there. And The X-Files. And the MCU, and the Simpsons, and YIKES — even Harry Potter (Order of the Phoenix, at least in the novel). Offhand. If I went to the movie tropes site I’d probably be there for hours.
Anyway, I have such a vast and deep list of better things I want to watch that I think I’ll give this one a pass.