Here's a wacky little flick that I had somehow avoided seeing all my life. It was heavily promoted in "Fangoria" and "Famous Monsters" around the time of its release, and I remember reading all about it and the much-hyped gory special effects. I guess it never played on HBO though, or if it did I missed it, and I never rented "Mausoleum" during the VHS boom. Boy, was I missing out, because "Mausoleum" is really one of a kind. A very...special kind.
Playboy model Bobbie Bresee plays a woman named Susan, whose mother died when she was just a young girl. It seems Susan's mother was claimed by some sort of curse visited on her family. In the opening scenes, we see Susan as a little girl at her mother's funeral, after which she takes off running from her aunt and finds herself alone in the graveyard next to a mausoleum with a strange, superimposed storm taking place around it. Traveling, mausoleum-specific weather is always a sign of supernatural activity, and when Susan inexplicably enters the mausoleum, her eyes glow green when she's confronted by a mostly-offscreen apparition that rises out of a grave marked "NOMED". Yes. Absorb that for a moment, I'll wait. NOMED.
|"Susan, come to our mausoleum rave! The code word to get in is NOMED."|
|"Did I leave the coffee pot on?"|
|Ben and Susan engage in a strange, ancient ritual of exhibitionism...|
|Green eyed lady, corn-teethed layyy-deh!|
|"Miss Susan, don't you be messin' around that mausoleum..."|
|"Oliver, your wife is possessed, believe me. THIS is what a normal woman looks like. Well OK, maybe she's not the best example, but believe me your wife is possessed!"|
|I am doll parts....|
OK so WOW, "Mausoleum"....it doesn't make any sense, but boy is it fun. The monster makeup is clearly the only reason the movie exists, and it's pretty good stuff. Bobbie Bresee also wears a number of demonic contact lenses and makeup appliances, and then there's a full inhuman creature that appears (the one with the killer breasts). There is some great cheesy lighting throughout the film, and you always know when there's some demon stuff happening because usually it is accompanied by a green and purple light show, along with lots of fog where no fog should be. At times, "Mausoleum" appears to be a horror comic come to life, with no attempt at realism at all. It has a bogus earnest tone to it, but the surreal parts reveal its true nature as a pure pulp fantasy film. There's a lot of intentional comic relief too, much of it involving LaWanda Page. At one point, she exclaims "No more grievin', I'm leavin'!" and escapes the house with her suitcase, proving that yes, only white people are silly enough to stick around when green light and fog is coming out of someone's bedroom. The fact that it's an absurd film is really the only thing that saves it, as it would have looked ridiculous anyway if it had been sincere. Bobbie Bresee appears nude several times, revealing why she was a Playboy model, and although she isn't much of an actress, her acting is completely appropriate for a movie like "Mausoleum." Marjoe Gortner's appearance in the film is a highlight, and if you don't know who he is, I would recommend checking out his Wikipedia page for a crash course in all things Gortner. His history as a former Pentecostal preacher (at age 4) is more interesting than anything in "Mausoleum", and you should also check out the 1972 documentary that was made about him called simply "Marjoe".
I also can't fail to mention that, although an 80s flick through and through, "Mausoleum" carries on a great 70s tradition of having a doomy ballad recorded just for the movie, "Free Again", which plays over the end titles. I am a sucker for things like this.
At the time of this posting, "Mausoleum" is available to watch for free on YouTube at the following link:
|You must never let Susan near the sharp utensils, no matter how sexy her boobs are. Trust me on this.|
|"It really wasn't such a bad Nomed. I feel bad killing it..."|