A psycho in a Richard Nixon mask terrorizes Highway 5, that’s the basic conceit here. The plot synopsis, per Wikipedia, states:
As part of a project, students are sent to a place called Littletown to investigate and research a supposedly deceased German (and possible Nazi) expatriate rocket scientist named Frederick Bartholomew, who was supposedly responsible for the V-2 rocket before embarking on a murderous rampage slaying all who he worked with in his final days spent in America. The student group have got to make replicas of the rocket whilst at that location. A trio of the group stumble across a pair of demented brothers; one, Mabuser is an unlicensed doctor, who’s become mentally unhinged due to being convinced that destructive parasites have infested his brain, while his stuttering teenage brother Gary, is a shy and lonely psychopath with a thing for Tarot cards and concealed necrophiliac tendencies. All the while their father prowls the nights’ lonely highways, dressed in one of his previous victims, as of all things Richard Nixon (complete with matching mask).
This sounds complicated, right? Well, you don’t know the half of it. It’s so complicated, in fact, that without Wikipedia I didn’t actually know almost any of this despite watching the entire film. The plot is virtually indiscernible, in fact. People are killed in horribly unrealistic ways and the acting is so bad that it’s impossible to shrug it off. The film is honestly a pile of hot, wet garbage. Yet, somehow this pile of steaming, stinking trash is pretty fun.
Like David A. Prior’s 1983 shot-on-video cult classic Sledgehammer, this 1985 low budget slasher is endearing and gleefully unaware. There is a playfulness to the awful performances and a feeling that the actors are having a blast making this portrait of ineptitude. It’s campy, cheesy, and ultimately a decent amount of fun.
That’s not to say this film comes highly recommended to all, but rather it comes recommended to a very specific subset of film fans. Fans of micro-budget film, horror camp, and the so-bad-it’s-good type of art will likely love this film… from the abysmally acted mentally challenged brother to the ridiculous kills.
The Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray/DVD combo release of Horror House on Highway 5 comes with reversible cover art from artist Kevin Thomas, as well as a bunch of special features. The features include: a “making of” featurette, a commentary track with director Richard Casey, a music video directed by Casey, and a full frame edition of the film. The 2k transfer of the film print looks great and you can get a copy at Amazon for under $25.