Grandmother’s House (1988)


USA. 1988.


Director – Peter Rader, Screenplay/Photography – Peter Jensen, Story – Gayle & Peter Jensen, Producer – Nico Mastorakis, Music – Nigel Holton & Clive Wright, Special Effects – Roger George, Art Direction – Steven Michael Casey. Production Company – Omega Pictures


Eric Foster (David), Kim Valentine (Lynn), Len Lesser (Grandfather Spike McConnell), Ida Lee (Grandmother), Brinke Stevens (Woman)


After the death of their father, Lynn and her younger brother David go to stay with their grandparents. There David has dreams of his grandparents hiding bodies in the cellar in the middle of the night. The next day this turns out to be true. They meet the woman that their grandparents keep handcuffed in the barn. She tricks them into freeing her only to then relentlessly pursue the two of them.

Grandmother’s House is an interesting little film, although is one that has been almost entirely neglected.

The film has an atmosphere that is hard to shake. It moves with an almost hallucinatory slow-motion mood that seems to take place somewhere between a waking nightmare and a childhood tall-tale. (The influence of the child’s point-of-view horror classic The Night of the Hunter (1955) hangs unmistakably over the film). Director Peter Rader neatly compounds basic situations in a series of suspensefully sustained sequences – Eric Foster hanging from a drain as bodies are moved beneath his feet, the weird blurring of dream and reality that comes in the shock dream. The revelation of the mad woman’s identity halfway through comes with a jolt that spins the entire film right around, casting everything that has come before into a different light like any good twistshould.

The film is slim on plot and has far too little gore for today’s audience but it never contradicts itself or fails to take itself seriously. On the whole, it is an impressively light and unpretentious little film. The only complaint is the title – considering the fact that the grandmother is of little significance to the story and is bumped off part way through, her prominence in the title is a puzzle.

Peter Rader subsequently went onto direct the action film Hired to Kill (1990) and write/direct the Disney Channel remake of Escape to Witch Mountain (1995). Rader has also worked as a screenwriter on films like Waterworld (1995) and The Last Legion (2007).

Ful film available online here:-

Actors: , , , ,
Themes: ,