Friday, March 11, 2011

Homebodies (1974)

Obscurity factor: 8

This is a curious little film that reflects the spirit of rebellion that was prevalent at the time it was made. The residents of an old building in an unnamed city are about to be evicted to make way for a shiny new sky scraper with luxury rentals. They've watched as the residents of the whole block are relocated without care or compassion and are grimly determined not to let it happen to them. Meanwhile, the construction site of the first building in the complex starts having fatal accidents that result in work stoppages. Are the residents of the tenement waging war on their evictors?

This film is one part social commentary and one part horror film. The murderous impulses of these octogenarians are at once comical and repulsive and the graphic depiction of the gruesome acts, while minimal is effective. The deeper, melancholy message about how we dispose of our aged is also on full display. Look for Ruth McDevitt and Ian Wolf as the super and his wife.
This film is not yet available on DVD, though you can find it over at iOffer.com. You can also watch it in full on YouTube. The first installment of it is above, uploaded by dalekenbuck. I forget who brought this one to my attention. Whoever you are, thank you...

Obscurity factor: 8 (not available on DVD, known to horror buffs, available on YouTube)

11 comments:

  1. Haven't thought of this one in35+ years. I dimly remember some kind of punchline "it's me, Mattie." In France - where I grew up - it was cynically mis-marketed as another Towering Inferno, I kid you not. It was titled La Tour Des Monstres (Monsters' Tower) and the poster was a total ripoff. The (few) people who went were completely baffled by what turned out to be a rather sick movie.

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  2. It is a strange, bleak little film. Good memory of the punchline though!

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  3. During the intervening years, my mind had made it an English movie. Strange and bleak indeed, it would fit somewhere halfway between The Ladykillers and Keeping Mum, so to speak. I would expect something punchier from an American movie.

    I recall another 1974 movie with a similar message, about old taxi drivers vigilantes: Law and Disorder. This one, you would never mistake for a British movie!

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  4. It does have a kind of British feel to it, doesn't it?

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  5. those buildings are very typical of Cincinnati's architecture, and it does seem the movie was filmed there, even if it isn't named. I'll have to sit down and watch this, since that's where I live nowadays :-)

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  6. Yes indeed - it is Cincinnati.

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  7. Oh my Gosh Ben, I vividly remember a certain horrifying scene involving a 'case worker' who visits the 'Homebodies' and If I recall, winds up wishing she'd not messed with her elders! And, after ALL THESE YEARS, I thought it was Ruth Gordon who utters those famous lines, "It's me Mattie!"... (also, BURNED into my subconscious!)
    I see I'm not the only one... wow, how funny how key phrases stick with us en-mass This movie is utterly ghoulish, haunting, and infused with a palpable melancholy I've never forgotten. It's also quite a powerful little 'revenge fantasy' too, and to see the 'avengers' as a team of Senior Statesmen & women, make it all the more memorable.

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  8. I remember a scene where the bury some guy in cement and the tip of his shoe is sticking out. One geezer chops it off and puts the piece in his pocket. That's the thing you remember when you see it on HBO at 9 years old

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  9. Yes, that's a particularly gruesome scene.

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  10. I haven't seen this in years! I kind of felt sorry for the elderly people being displaced, but I felt sorry for their victims too! That poor guy they buried in cement...I had a landlord I absolutely detested, but I wouldn't have wished that on him, lol!

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  11. Indeed. It's a dark film.

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