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Review: Film House Fever (1986)

58 min. / Directed by Domonic Paris / Video Treasures

Tony (Steve Buscemi) and Vinnie (Mark Boone Jr.) are two lonely video junkies who spend their days and nights in front of a big bank of televisions just like David Bowie in Man Who Fell to Earth except, well, they’re video junkies. Tony comes to his senses when he realize’s there’s a gigantic movie marathon about to start at the local Bijou. A pefect chance to get out and see the sights! Cue some strange undercranked footage of the two lunatics speeding toward their cinematic destination. They’ve got “Film House Fever,” and if your either desperate or strange enough to track down this tape then you’ve probably contracted it as well.

After some goofy shtrick, the duo settle into their seats for a barrage of b-movie trailers and film clips. The program opens with an outrageous nudity-filled trailer for James Hurly’s The Psychic and goes on to include a great deal of H.G. Lewis / David Friedman material (Two Thousand Maniacs, Blood FeastJust for the Hell of It and many others), a ton of Independent International / Al Adamson stuff (lots from his early western and monster movie periods, a shot of Nurse Sherri and even some Black Heat) along with a few classic movie intermission breaks and concessions stand promos thrown in for good measure. They’ve also incorporated some excerpts from classic short films and even managed to stick in the majority of Cleveland Smith – Bounty Hunter, a short black and white Indiana Jones parody created by Josh Becker and Bruce Campbell and starring Campbell himself as the intrepid Cleveland!

At the close of this spectacular (trailer / short film / movie clip) event, these two unsuspecting theater patrons encounter a Carnival of Souls induced finale which warns us all of the dangers of unrestrained moviegoing…the price may be higher than one can ever imagine!

Film House Fever (1986) Poster

The eighties video and theatrical scene was awash with this type of clip compilation movies – some may say that Joe Dante started this back in the late seventies when he started cutting up b-movies and showing them to crowds but the trend got into high-gear which such films as It Came From Hollywood, Terror in the Aisles and Coming Soon. Those all actually had majors stars and theatrical releases. Film House Fever belongs to the second tier of these comps, direct-to-video quickies full of every grindhouse trailer and fair use / public domain film clip the producers could shove on tape. Horrible Horror, Terror on Tape, Zombiethon and Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell are all excellent examples of this rarefied specimen of videophilia.

While Film House Fever doesn’t have the possess the juiciest and most interesting retro film clips (that honor probably goes to Prevues from Hell), the presence of crazy and wild Buscemi and Mark Boone along with the inspired wacko direction from Domonic Paris (director of a similar WIP compilation called Bad Girls in the Movies) gives the film an off-beat, Night Flight-type of eighties psychotronic video vibe that we all lust for. The movie was born on VHS but it also periodically hops around on streaming services.

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