Reaching onto my VHS shelf this week, I pulled out Armand Weston's 1981 film The Nesting.
A writer afflicted with agoraphobia named Lauren (Robin Groves) rents an old house in the country only to find that it may be haunted.
I was, of course, very familiar with the coverbox (that's probably what possessed me to pick it up from whatever convention vendor table it came from) but even after all these years I'd never actually seen this movie. I'm glad to say that it turned out to be a pretty decent haunted house flick. I had assumed this was Warner Bros trying to cash in on the success of Amityville, The Changeling and The Shining, but was pleasantly surprised by how well put together it was.
Fairly typical was the setup and I chose to overlook the arbitrary agoraphobia plot device that seemed to come and go whenever it was convenient, but the movie worked for the most part. Fortunately, Weston was able to procure the Armour-Stiner House, an octagonal Victorian-style home from the 1800's that has as much character as the iconic abode in Amityville.
|Robin Groves as Lauren with her co-star Armour-Stiner.|
The Nesting did feel like a TV movie sometimes, but that went away when the gore showed up. I was beginning to wonder why that sickle had been featured so prominently in both iterations of the coverbox art... and then I finally found out why. The other thing that stuck out to me was just how much of a wise-ass Lauren's friend, Mark (Chris Loomis) was. Almost everything out of his mouth was a sarcastic remark. It got exhausting though I have to admit, during a chunk in the middle where things got a little dry, I kind of missed him.
|Shut the fuck up, Mark!|
I was rewarded through this stretch with a solid climax though. It does play out like your classic ghost revenge piece, but it was well told and all of the weird dream sequences, flashbacks and fantastical deaths that seemed random before all came together when the full tale was revealed.
|Well, that was unexpected.|
After digesting almost fourty years of haunted house yarns, I saw the formula within The Nesting, but it had the benefit of a one-of-a-kind location, competent actors and enough gore moments to ensure its escape from obscurity. It is definitely worth a look if you dig the haunted house genre.