1989 / Director. Kendal Flanagan & Ollie Martin.
Review by Jarret Gahan.
A film crew meet with a burgeoning underground rock act at the seemingly tranquil, though rather dull, Lake Infinity to shoot a music video. The two-day shoot quickly turns to bloodshed as each of the visitors to the lake are dispatched one by one at the hands of the lake's mysterious inhabitant 'Acid Head'.
HOUSEBOAT HORROR is an explosion of eighties wool-knit jumpers, acid wash jeans, big hair, generous splatters of blood and a substantial body count. Assisting to blend the aforementioned unusual and iconic cinematic ingredients are some of the most over-the-top performances, lousy special effects, barely competent camera-work and curious editing decisions ever committed to tape. That's right folks, this was recorded on tape, assumedly Betacam SP due to the bulk of the production crew working in broadcast television at the time. In fact HOUSEBOAT HORROR has the honour of being Australia's first SOV (shot-on-video) horror film to be commercially released, not only in Australia but worldwide.
As to how close the production adhered to the script is unknown but it's obvious that this film was never made to be a serious entry into the slasher genre. It's far too full of bizarre dialogue and ridiculous sequences to have ever been considered an intentional fright fest. In fact the dialogue is the film's strongest component with instantly quotable lines such as "out in the deep where giant man eating blue and purple trout catch all the tourists unaware", “you think clean as the only thing you're going to get in me is booze” and "wakey wakey hands off snakey, thirty minutes for a quick dip and a shower, hands off socks, socks off cocks".
Fans of eighties OZ pop-rock may be delighted to learn that the film is laced 'with knockout Brian Mannix song hits' as emblazed on the DVD artwork and the track "Young & Cool & Groovy" is truly a TKO. Rounding out this Aussie genre entry are some notable television talent of the era, Gavin Wood, Des 'Animal' McKenna, John Michael Howson and in his first feature-film role Alan Dale who sports a rather fetching wool-knit Ferrari jumper I might add.
You may think all of shortcomings of HOUSEBOAT HORROR amount to a bad film and you're right but it's all the failings and flaws that make it fun, hilarious and ultimately endearing. Why not take a guilty pleasure trip down Lake Infinity sometime, "the view is magnificent, you'll bar up".