In the 1950s, studios knew what to do with 3-D technology: They made fright flicks. Amazingly, only now (more than 15 years since the first IMAX-3D film was made) has anyone thought to putting the 80-foot screen, liquid crystal lenses and incredibly realistic optical effects to work scaring the bejeezus out of audiences. Judged on the effects alone, this latest effort from Ben Stassen and his company, nWave pictures (THRILL RIDE, ALIEN ADVENTURE), is worth the wait. The story, on the other hand, is painfully dumb. Belgian rocker Jasper Steverlink stars as Johnny, an aspiring musician who inherits the titular haunt from his estranged mother, a reclusive rock star who once struck a Faustian bargain with Mr. D (voiced by Harry Shearer), the giant satanic head living in her fireplace. Mom, however, reneged on the deal and now Mr. D is hot to sign Johnny. Whatever. It's all about the effects, anyway, and they don't disappoint. Lead by a translucent, cloven-hoofed demon named Mephisto, Johnny and the be-goggled viewer (the film is done mostly in point-of-view shots) are taken aboard an antiquated monorail for a tour of the castle's basement, a cavernous pit of hell that holds all manner of terrors, some of them surprisingly gory. (So gory, in fact, the folks at family-friendly IMAX decided not to show the film in the 10 theaters the company owns outright.) The result is a cross between an out of control roller-coaster ride and a trip through a high-tech haunted house, complete with ghostly apparitions, flying skulls, demonic cherubim, phantom musical instruments and a stomach churning visit to a torture dungeon. William Castle would have loved it.
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- Released: 2001
- Rating: PG
- Review: In the 1950s, studios knew what to do with 3-D technology: They made fright flicks. Amazingly, only now (more than 15 years since the first IMAX-3D film was made) has anyone thought to putting the 80-foot screen, liquid crystal lenses and incredibly realis… (more)