Hate Beyond the Grave – Rest in Pieces (1987)

Rest in Pieces is a bit of absurdity that finds a couple inheriting their old aunt’s fortune which of course, does not come without strings – namely avoiding the dead woman’s insanity and the hatred she feels for her niece’s mother of whom the niece resembles. All they have to do is survive, somehow, not only the dead aunt but the woman’s friends who also live on the property.

Directed by José Ramón Larraz who is no stranger to horror, this underrated movie from the latter half of the 1980s not only features a heaping portion of blood and gore and nudity but is also peppered full of black humour that takes the edge off of what one is seeing, sometimes putting a bit of a smile upon the face of its audience. The situation that the young couple as played by Lorin Jean Vail and Scott Thompson find themselves in is ridiculous, to say the least, and yet, being in the financial strait they are in, they think to themselves why not and head off to their aunt’s place which immediately begins on the wrong step and only gets worse from there. From watching their aunt commit suicide on film, enduring the rudeness of those who worked and lived with her and the fact that the money is hidden somewhere within the compound and not in the bank is just the beginning, nevermind the murders that soon take place and the eventual moment where Helen, who is naked for much of the picture, is drugged and essentially raped by one of the men who might actually be a walking corpse.

One has to give Larraz and writer Santiago Moncada some credit though, for even though some of the dialogue leaves a bit to be desired, they create a fairly crazy picture that does end up capturing the attention of those who watch it. Wondering just how it is that Helen is going to get herself out of the mess she finds herself in is always on the mind of the audience with no thanks to her husband who only seems like he is in it for the money, even willing to put her life at risk in order to find it which is quite cowardly. There is little that anyone would find scary, that aforementioned humour sucking some of the horror out of it all but it is genuinely creepy at times, especially when it comes to those actions perpetrated upon Helen throughout.

Additionally starring Dorothy Malone as the deceased aunt, Jack Taylor, Patty Shepard, Ferdinando Bilbao and Tony Isbert to name but a few, the film is filled with names that might be familiar to those who watch a lot of horror and each of them puts in a good performance. Factor in the shocks, the killing and everything else and Rest in Pieces is not a bad watch at all and might pleasantly surprise those who decide to give it a try.

3 out of 5

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