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The Halfway House

Middling horror spoof "The Halfway House" has the right ingredients -- cult queen Mary Woronov as an evil nun, ridiculous rubber monster-in-basement, a deadpan approach to serving up the usual "gratuitous" T&A/gore -- but could've used a little more divine inspiration in the script department. Results will divert genre fans on latenight cable and as a rental item.

With:
With: Mary Woronov, Janet Tracy Keijser, Shawn Savage, Stephanie Leighs, Athena Demos, Monica Shere, Joseph Tatner, Mike Gaglio, Cleve Hall, Tomi X, Saye Yabandeh, M. Robert Todd, Ashley Rea.

Middling horror spoof “The Halfway House” has the right ingredients — cult queen Mary Woronov as an evil nun, ridiculous rubber monster-in-basement, a deadpan approach to serving up the usual “gratuitous” T&A/gore — but could’ve used a little more divine inspiration in the script department. Results will divert genre fans on latenight cable and as a rental item.

Underplaying with a delicious malignance the material ultimately doesn’t make full use of — somebody give this woman first-rate lines in a worthy film, please! — ex-Warhol/Corman/Paul Bartel regular Woronov plays the imperious Sister Cecilia. Alongside spanking-fetishist Father Fogerty (Joseph Tatner) and leering handyman Lutkus (Cleve Hall), she runs the Mary Magdalene Halfway House for Troubled Girls, where hardbodied, pushing-30 Los Angeles bimbos go to get redeemed. (Mostly, though, they just take showers, have catfights and make out in Z-movie “lesbian” style.) Larissa (Janet Tracy Keijser) goes undercover as a resident to find out whether little sister’s disappearance is connected to the many “runaway” girls — who in fact were fed screaming to that tentacled green monster. Pic has nice poker-faced take on its absurdities, but real wit and imagination are in slim supply. Very modest production is professionally handled.

The Halfway House

Production: A BV Entertainment production. Produced by Ed Polgardy. Executive producers, Kenneth J. Hall, Lynda Williams, Cleve Hall. Directed, written by Kenneth J. Hall.

Crew: Camera (color, HD vid), Tom Callaway; editor, Julie Lucas; music, Atom Smith; production designer, Dave Preston. Reviewed at San Francisco Indie Festival, Feb. 14, 2004. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: With: Mary Woronov, Janet Tracy Keijser, Shawn Savage, Stephanie Leighs, Athena Demos, Monica Shere, Joseph Tatner, Mike Gaglio, Cleve Hall, Tomi X, Saye Yabandeh, M. Robert Todd, Ashley Rea.

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