In the years before YouTube was a thing or had garnered much popularity, there were a handful of creepy ass videos circulating the internet. Most have been proven to be the creations of aspiring filmmakers or talented pranksters but some still remain upsetting obscurities haunting a mostly forgotten corner of my dusty brain. The handful of reviews I had read for 1972 Yellow House were negative and came off sounding like the viewers were enraged by the 52 minutes they had spent watching it. It’s understandable. This film is not for everyone. It’s shot on (or at least skillfully presented as being shot on) Super 8 and littered with over exposure and a cornucopia of film damage. A repetitive and eerie score plays over the whole damn thing and the mixture of poor visuals and droning music works to hypnotize the viewer. It’s not something many will get behind, which I think is a shame. It immediately had me feeling the unease of the low grade videos me and my friends used to trade many years ago. Thoroughly unsettled, I found myself going back and rewatching the film immediately. That’s gotta say something…right?
A newly engaged couple find themselves a home (randomly picked by some map pointing) in the mostly abandoned town of Summerland, California. The town was founded by a spiritualist and built for members of his cult. Their church was the giant yellow house where the founder lived and it was also the place where they participated in seances and communed with the “other side”. Things began deteriorating once the man’s daughter accidentally drowned in the pool located behind the property. Now it’s 1972 and a young couple looking for a fresh start have decided to plant some roots in Creepville, USA.
They do some exploring in the empty town and even some amateur ghost hunting because people have been idiots forever and eventually come to believe there may be a presence in their new home. A medium tells them as much and when they discover a skull buried in their backyard it triggers the obvious tragedy that was just waiting to claim our loving couple. It’s all viewed from the lens of our “hero’s” Super 8mm camera.
Outside of the strange music playing over the entirety of the picture, 1972 never pulls away from the filming technique. That’s not completely true, there is a bit at the end of the film where a couple newscasters explain where the footage came from but it never feels like a cheat. What I’m saying is that this is one of the few occurrences where I actually felt like I was seeing a piece of footage stumbled upon after foraging the Internet for hours upon hours.
The presentation may be highly enjoyable (at least to my weird ass) but it does fail in other aspects. The hero/cameraman is barely seen but still manages to annoy. I felt like slapping him more than once. The final shot (and what is supposed to serve as the sting) seems to have been directly stolen from Grave Encounters. In watching it twice I’m not sure if they didn’t just edit the footage used in that 2011 bit of paranormal fun. Outside of those complaints I enjoyed my time spent watching and was never enraged…but I have a bunch of experience sitting through crap-quality amateur spookiness. You whippersnappers today don’t realize how good you have it! Now get off my lawn and if you feel like seeing this, you’ll find it on Amazon Prime. 7/10