The Halfway House

Within the first few minutes of The Halfway House, the first set of breasts appear. Within the next fifteen minutes, a police inspector uses the phrase "stop thinking with your dick, Dick," and shortly after, two people discuss their plan of action while having sex. Yes, The Halfway House is a B-movie, and it's damn proud of itself. The filmmakers set out to balance the tone between camp and seriousness, and the results are surprisingly well. The acting is better than average, but nobody takes themselves too seriously. The plot is full of holes, but who cares when so many boobs flash across the screen?

Larissa Morgan (Janet Tracy Keijser, Witchcraft XII, House on Haunted Hill) is looking for her missing sister, who disappeared after a jog. Larissa goes to the police, and Sgt. Dick Sheen (Shawn Savage) believes that the disappearance may be connected to a number of missing girls from the Mary Magdalen House for Troubled Girls. Sheen's superior doesn't think so, so Larissa decides to investigate for herself, going undercover as a troubled girl.

Once inside, things are worse than she thinks. Now remember, this is basically a fun exploitation pic set in a church instead of a jail, so plot is not that important. Still, writer/director Kenneth J. Hall (Ghost Writer, Evil Spawn) does a very good job of stringing together a plausible (well, barely) story a Sister Cecilia (Mary Woronov, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Prison-A-Go-Go!) bent on world domination. She is sacrificing young, nubile (and other cat fighting) girls to a monster from beyond And remember, her henchman (Cleve Hall, The Girl I Want, Kung Fu Rascals) makes sure to rip off their shirts, but leaves their panties on. Why? It doesn't really matter. What does matter is that Hall works in a shower scene and lots of softcore lesbo action without making it look too gratuitous.

The reason that The Halfway House works is that it mixes decent production value, an actual story, and high camp. The Halfway House is a lot of fun. The monster in the basement is essentially a large plastic puppet, but Hall film with smoke and lighting such that the special effect is pretty well done given the budget. Anybody watching can expect to laugh, and this is a great thing. Typically, people make films thinking they are good, but in actuality they are so bad they are funny. It's extremely difficult to make a film where things are intentionally campy, but Hall does it. From a moronic girl in rehabilitation (Stephanie Leighs, The Stink of Flesh) to a lecherous priest (Joseph Tatner), the cast is chock full of strange characters, most of which die. Near the end, one character with a knife sticking out of his chest, runs into another character, effectively stabbing him. Hell yeah!

Gerf Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 24 minutes, Not Rated but contains language, sexual situations, and nudity, an easy R.

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