HOUSEBOAT HORROR - Australian VHS cover
1 star   
Vacation at Lake Infinity ... a beautiful place to die!!"

directed by: Kendal Flanagan & Ollie Martin
starring: Alan Dale, Christine Jeston, Craig Alexander, Des McKenna, Gavin Wood, John Michael Howson, Louise Siversen, Peppie D'Or, Stephen Whittaker, Julie Thompson, Mark Muggeridge, Wilkie Collins, David Blackman, Greg Latts, Ian Campbell, Steve Hutchinson, Christopher Young, Don Bridges, Catherine Hill, Sue Hancock, Ruth Yaffe, Lewis Porter, Alisa Meadows, Jason Archer, Sandra 'Scarlett' Wilson, Ray Boseley, Ollie Martin, Zlatko Kasumovic

(back of video blurb):



The zany hype associated with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll stimulates a group of nutty, city musos to get away from it all.

As they seduce the 'chicks' and produce beautiful music at a paradise hide-away, death 'rocks' in. And the wild sounds of rock music unleash ACID HEAD - the HORROR of Lake Infinity.

With gory calculation, the making of an energy packed, fun loaded rock video becomes a smorgasbord of horror, death and blood gushing mayhem.

HOUSEBOAT HORROR is Australia's first 'made for video' horror spectacular and features many famous faces from the country's top television soapies.


choice dialogue:

"There's been some legends ...”
"Legends my arse!"

- a small disagreement on local folklore.

slash with panache?

[review by Justin Kerswell - with thanks to John Klyza without whom this review wouldn't have been possible.]

If you have ever suffered through the never ending Aussie soap amateur dramatics in Ramsey Street and Summer Bay you might have fantasised, more than once, about rounding up a dozen of those tanned and grinning fools and dreaming up imaginative ways to bump them off. One by one.

You're going down (under!)

Clearly, this was high up on the agenda of the makers of HOUSEBOAT HORROR (a career in the movies certainly wasn't), a film almost legendary for its badness. This is a veritable Antipodean cavalcade of crap. It's only real lure is that it's rare as hen's teeth outside Oz. They may have exported SONS & DAUGHTERS, Fosters (which I understand no self respecting Australian would touch with a barge-pole) and CROCODILE DUNDEE but even they couldn't bring themselves to export this dopey mongrel. HOUSEBOAT HORROR is the filmic equivalent of a toilet brimming full, and, believe me, the bowl runneth over (and then some). Perversely then, even though it could never be called a guilty pleasure by any stretch, there are few bad movie moments to savour.

In what can loosely be described as a plot, a rag-tag of daggy looking guys in bleached denim and daggier looking girls with bubble perms head off to Lake Infinity to make a rawk video. A nutter then turns up and chops them all up into itty-bitty pieces with a machete. The end. ... Oh, if only!


Apparently, at some unspecified time in the past, a film crew were making a film at the lake, but during a tragic accident several of the actors were burnt to death, and one young boy was horribly disfigured (and I think we know what that usually means, eh, don't we campers?). If the audience haven't put two and two together (and don't worry there is nothing more taxing for your average viewer with this flick apart for wondering what else they could have done with the 90 minutes of their life they'll never get back), a weasel faced gas attendant tells a moon faced forest ranger, "Brings back memories of those movie killing a few years ago ...", as a group of boss-eyed goons, with brillo pad like mullets, swing by and buy some gas and generally make faces like guppy fish. When they find out they are making a rock video the forest rangers screws up his face and spits, "Music types? They're real arseholes!". You said it daddy-o.

These sorry tossers turn up at the lakeside to meet up with the rest of the cast: which includes the band (think of the kind of people who consider doing a stoned Keith Richards impression is actually funny, and then times it by three), and the rest of the crew, which includes the director, Jim (a familiar face to those who slipped into unconsciousness in front of NEIGHBOURS. I was going to say he was slumming it here but then I thought better of it). This motley crew have hired a couple of houseboats to pootle around Lake Infinity, taking them to less than glamorous locations. No sooner have they upped anchor than the lowjinks begin: the band jump up behind from a bar (one of them with a red bucket on their head) in an effort to scare the newcomers. It doesn't work. ... A couple of the girls (one of whom says somewhat bashfully, "All you're getting into me on this trip is booze!"), wander around the floating, er, palaces and say unconvincing things like, "God, this is really living!". And it just gets worse - oh, boy, it really gets worse: downhill on a turd lined park slide into a bucket of sick (with spikes on the bottom). As soon as the band break into their 'song' I'd had to use every ounce of my strength not to stick two pencils up my nose and head-butt the coffee table. Put it this way, I'd rather gaffer-tape myself to Celine Dion and Mariah Carrey practicing their vocal scales for all eternity, than ever hear 'Young and Groovy (is alright by me)' again. Just when you think it can't possibly get any more atrocious the lead singer croons, "My girl's got curly hair, it's in her underwear. I know, I've been there." .... Pass me the pencils.

Don't let them live!

HOUSEBOAT HORROR has a once in a lifetime cast - and I don't mean that in a good way. However, there is one, ahem, thespian that stands head and shoulders below all the others: I don't know his name, but when you see the guy with the blonde highlighted mullet and the Marty Feldman eyes you'll know who I mean. There must be some God up there, though, as my prayers were answered and he was one of the first to die (pleasingly, he gets a syringe in the head *and* a well earned machete to the chest). ... Thankfully, once things get rolling old crispy fingers (that's all you see until his 'grand' face unveiling at the end) starts to make short work of the cast (Halle-bloody-leujah!). Even though they start dropping like flies it really isn't fast enough, you just want Cropsy's nephew to open up with an uzi or a well placed nail bomb and be done with that, but I guess we should be thankful for small mercies.

A long way from Ramsay Street!

If this flick has anything going for it then it's the gore. Don't get me wrong, the fx are cheap as chips but the film delivers in the grue department: heads are split in half with a machete, throats are slit and - surely a first - a woman is killed with a horseshoe! Also, the film is book ended by a couple of relatively effective scenes (a hitchhiker is chased down near the beginning and the killer goes postal during the, er, climax). It's topped off with some suitably cheesy, and not very effective twists, but the greatest pleasure has to be hearing goody-two-shoes Jim from NEIGHBOURS saying "fuck!". Slim pickings, I know.

To say that HOUSEBOAT HORROR is an abomination would be a serious understatement. I expect the cast still break out into a cold sweat whenever it's mentioned. My eyeballs will never forgive me for the abuse I put them through, and I fear that the "KNOCKOUT BRIAN MANNIX song hits" will give me irreversible AOR tinnitis. It is, however, not to late for you. Remember, you have been warned!


BODYCOUNT 13  bodycount!   female:5 / male:8

       1) Male found with arrow through his neck
       2) Female stabbed in the stomach with machete
       3) Male gets an axe to his head    
       4) Male has throat cut with machete
       5) Male has syringe pushed into his cheek, and is then stabbed with a machete
       6) Male found with machete embedded in his neck
       7) Female has horseshoe pushed into her face (!)
       8) Female stabbed repeatedly with knife
       9) Male shot through with spear gun  
     10) Female stabbed through neck with knife
     11) Male hit with spear
     12) Male has fingers chopped off and then head split in two with machete
     13) Female has neck broken