Homebodies (1974)

Genres - Comedy, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Horror Comedy  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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This oddball blend of black comedy and horror is an unexpectedly haunting piece of work. The script moves back and forth between drama, shocks and macabre humor in a deft, truly unpredictable manner that never allows the viewer to become complacent in their take on the proceedings. The constant shifting of tones works because Homebodies is built upon strong characterizations: the senior citizens who drive the story are never presented as saints or sinners. Instead, they all have complex and differing reactions to the mayhem they use to protect their home and this creates interesting conflicts that push the story in unexpected directions during its third act. The characterizations are handled with loving care by the elderly cast of leading actors: Paula Trueman is both resourceful and scary as the group's defacto leader, Ruth McDevitt adds unexpected pathos as the group's most thoughtful member and Peter Brocco brings plenty of charisma to his role as a tough tenant who doesn't allow his blindness to make him helpless. Larry Yust's direction gives the film an atmospheric visual style, transforming the decaying urban setting into a surreal netherworld, and he juggles the story's many moods with confidence to create a witty yet unnerving final product. In short, Homebodies is the kind of sleeper that will please cult movie fans with a yen for dark humor.