Transmissions to Earth: MAUSOLEUM (1983)
I’m not really sure how I missed this one the first time around, but I’ve definitely seen the posters the video boxes for MAUSOLEUM in the past. Of course, other movies around the same time included MORTUARY (also 1983) and FUNERAL HOME (1980), so I guess it’s easy for a movie to get lost in the shuffle of similarly named flicks.
I popped MAUSOLEUM into the DVD player, expecting just another mediocre B-movie, and found myself really digging this one.
You know what you’re in for right from the start. It begins at a woman’s funeral. The dead woman’s sister, Cora (Laura Hippe) is huddled with the woman’s daughter, Susan (Julie Christy Murray). Susan is crying, and when Cora tells her she’ll be living with her now, Susan runs away from her, through the cemetery, until she reaches a strange mausoleum which seems to beckon her. As she climbs the steps, the locked door cracks and opens. The girl goes inside.
And something very strange happens to her in there.
The next time we see Susan, she’s all grown up and is now a sexy blonde (Bobbie Bresee, who was also in GHOULIES, 1985, SURF NAZIS MUST DIE, 1987 and EVIL SPAWN, also 1987), and she’s married to Oliver Farrell (Marjoe Gortner, who, back when he was four years old, was the “World’s Youngest Ordained Minister” and faith healer in real life, but as an adult was an actor in such films as this one, as well as EARTHQUAKE, 1974, FOOD OF THE GODS, 1976 and HELLHOLE, 1985).
Now, about to turn 30, Susan is starting to finally show signs of what happened to her in that mausoleum so many years before. She was possessed by a demon. Of course, we never find out why it took so long for the demon to finally take control of her. Maybe it was sleeping.
It turns out that mausoleum belonged to one of Susan’s ancestors, and the family had a curse on it. It doesn’t help that the family name was Nomed (yes that’s “demon” spelled backwards for all you TROLL 2 fans!).
So now, whenever she gets angry or aroused, Susan’s eyes turn bright green and her teeth get all freaky, as we get to see her demon side. It first pops up when Oliver and Susan go dancing and some big hulking drunk who looks like Grizzly Adams (Gene Edwards) grabs her when her husband leaves for a moment. It almost looks like he’s going to assault her right there on the dance floor, but she gets away. Outside, while waiting for the valet to bring their car, Oliver and Susan are again accosted by the brute who staggers into them. Susan has enough, and her eyes glow green when the drunk gets into his car. Suddenly, there’s a raging fire inside the car, and the man is burned to death. Oliver tries to save him, but can’t open the door in time. As the car explodes, we see Susan’s face looking evil and otherworldly. The demon is loose!
Later, when their sleazy gardener, Ben (Maurice Sherbanee) comes on to her when Oliver is away, Susan actually takes the guy up to her bed, but she later disposes of him in the garage. This time, we see her with huge claws and a monster face. The demon has taken over even more!
Oliver starts to get suspicious when he wakes up in the middle of the night to see the monster version of Susan sitting in a rocking chair. He immediately calls Susan’s long-time psychiatrist, Dr. Simon Andrews (Norman Burton). When Susan goes to see Dr. Andrews for a “check-up” he puts her under hypnosis and finds out the truth when the demon pops up to introduce itself, green eyes and all. It speaks in the usual demonic voice and says “You know I exist!”
Dr. Andrews knows he’s out of his depth, so he turns to his friend Dr. Roni Logan (Sheri Mann) for help. Roni diagnoses Susan as having a severe case of demonic possession and tells Dr. Andrews how to cure it.
Obviously, MAUSOLEUM was one of the many movies inspired by the success of THE EXORCIST (1973), ten years earlier.Directed by Michael Dugan, this one is pretty entertaining throughout, with some creepy scenes, unintentional humor, and lots of nudity from Ms. Bresee. There’s also an appearance by LaWanda Page (“Aunt Esther” from the TV show SANFORD AND SON) as a maid. She’s actually pretty funny in her brief scenes.
I found myself really enjoying this one, despite the fact that it’s pretty cheesy. I wish I’d seen it years ago when I first saw the VHS box in a mom and pop video store in the 80s. But it’s never too late to enjoy a cheesy gem like this one.
© Copyright 2012 by L.L. Soares