The Video Nasties #126 – The Nesting (1981, Armand Weston)

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‘I may be sick, but I am not retarded.’

Two words, guys. Haunted Brothel. That’s all it takes, I’m in, 100%. It would take a pretty slow, talky movie to not live up to that surefire premise.

Oh.

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On paper, The Nesting has a lot going for it. A haunted brothel (I just enjoy saying it) movie, directed by a man who’s previous credits include Radical Sex Styles, The Taking of Christina and Expose Me, Lovely. A terrific, spooky location. Cameos from horror royalty John Carradine and film noir legend Gloria Grahame. This sucker can’t miss!

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But miss it does, although there’s enough here to recommend a watch with lowered expectations. Just try not to think of what Lucio Fulci or Jess Franco would do with the same premise…

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An agoraphobic writer rents a house that she thinks she has seen before, and is haunted by apparitions from the past who seem to be protecting her from a variety of sleazy fellas. There’s a lot of talking, a lot of exposition, none of it shot with any real flair. The dual climax is a man talking to an old man on a bed, while a woman chats with another woman on a sofa. Be still my racing pulse, be still!

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But when The Nesting hits, it hits hard. There are a couple of scenes that are amongst the scariest in any Nasty. The first involves a handyman being supernaturally assaulted and chased through the woods until zombie hands drag him underwater, and the second is a preposterously extended scene where some local nutter is trying to run our heroine off the road, but he keeps knocking down the same woman, over and over again. It’s a good scene but the ensuing game of cat and mouse goes on so long that it squanders much of the goodwill that has been built up.

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Jeez, I never thought I’d be hankering for those crazy, carefree days of The Evil, but here we are. This is about on par with that movie, but at least The Evil never even had a good idea to begin with. What makes The Nesting so disappointing is that it never follows through on its lurid premise.

Let me say it one more time – HAUNTED BROTHEL. Would someone out there please make that movie, and do it justice this time?

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