It's only a movie
Small-time crook Terry has received a hot tip that a remote country house would be worth breaking into. Together with his girlfriend Valerie, who works as a model, he drives through the thick fog one night and eventually finds the property. He asks the unsuspecting Valerie to wait in the car, but when she gets too cold she sneaks into the house as well. The two discover young women's passports in a drawer and are surprised by a couple. Terry and Valerie hide in the closet and watch as the woman is killed by the man. Panic breaks out in Valerie and she escapes, but is pursued by the killer. Eventually she manages to escape to the main road and hitchhikes back to London. The next morning, Terry's car is parked in front of her house. Since there is no trace of Terry, she asks her friends Mike and Stella for help. They advise Valerie not to go to the police and to wait, because they are used to Mike disappearing for a few days. Valerie feels stalked and only regains her composure when she meets the charming Paul at a shooting. Together with his aunt Susanna, he makes elaborate masks. When Valerie gets a new lodger who keeps pigeons in his apartment and wears exactly the same black gloves as the killer, a terrible suspicion creeps over her...
José Ramón Larraz's fourth directorial effort is a gripping psychological thriller about a model who feels stalked by a killer. Superbly filmed, the suspense curve remains at a skillfully high level despite the leisurely pace. It can be guessed a little in which direction the film drifts, but various sometimes sleazy surprises make you overlook this. In the U.S., the film was released in grindhouse theaters under the title The House that Vanished with a poster that borrows heavily from The Last House on the Left and on which the saying It's only a movie is also repeatedly listed.
US Blu-ray contains heavily cut US theatrical version
Releases of the film are scarce, so Dark Force Entertainment's announcement to release the film along with The Eerie Midnight Horror Show was welcome news. A battered US theatrical print with a runtime of just under 89 minutes served as the master. As the release makes clear, the film was cut by the distributor at the time. In addition to a few removed nude scenes of Andrea Allan, two large scene blocks are missing. One is missing the entire scene in which Lorna is murdered and later found by Valerie, and the other is the sex scene between Valerie and Paul at the end of the film. Both cuts are annoying because they make the film seem choppy. For example, in the cut version, the killer sneaks through the house and in the next scene, Valerie tells an inspector from Scotland Yard about Lorna's death without it being immediately clear to the viewer. Due to the lack of a sex scene between Valerie and Paul, the two are seen standing in the kitchen, then immediately cut to Valerie getting out of an armchair while Paul has disappeared.
The US Blu-ray was self-distributed by Dark Force Entertainment and quickly went out of print. Due to the cuts, the release isn't really worth it. The second film The Eerie Midnight Horror Show was already released separately on Blu-ray by Code Red and the same transfer probably made it onto the German Blu-ray by CMV. The US VHS by Lightning Video is uncut, and it's even available open matte.
US BD (Dark Force Entertainment):
US VHS (Lightning Video):
US Blu-ray (Dark Force Entertainment): 88:50 min.
Comparison between the US Blu-ray by Dark Force Entertainment and the US VHS by Lightning Video.
Right at the beginning, a shot of the boat is missing, then the camera pans to a house.
The next shot starts earlier.
VHS: 17 sec.
Alternative title insert.
BD: 11 sec.
VHS: 5 sec.
Film tear: Valerie runs down the stairs longer, then is shown running to the car earlier.
VHS: 1 sec.
Jump cut: Valerie continues to run through the woods.
VHS: 3 sec.
Some dialogue is lost as Valerie tells what she saw in the house.
Mike thinks that the killer just picked up the woman, but Valerie has a feeling that the two knew each other.
VHS: 10 sec.
Film tear: Kent is shown longer, after which Valerie is shown coming home early.
VHS: 5 sec.
Film tear: Valerie leans further forward as she looks outside at the car.
VHS: 3 sec.
Film tear: Valerie enters Paul's apartment.
VHS: 2 sec..
Jump cut: Susan takes off her bra.
VHS: 3 sec.
Film tear: During the sex scene between Susan and Paul, the camera moves up to the two of them.
VHS: 3 sec.
The sex scene between Susan and Paul continues.
VHS: 20 sec.
While Lorna rattles the door, Valerie gets out of the bathtub.
VHS: 8 sec.
Missing shot in which Valerie is dressing herself in the bathroom.
VHS: 8 sec.
Jump cut: the camera continues to zoom in on Valerie after Kent asks her about her friend with the masks.
VHS: 2 sec.
While the killer is creeping through the house, Lorna wakes up. She gets out of bed and runs into the next room. There she is attacked by the killer. He pushes her down on the bed and begins to choke her with a belt. He tears down her nightgown and rapes her.
In the next scene, Valerie is being driven home by Mike. Mr. Hornby hears her running upstairs. In her apartment, Valerie is changing her clothes. She goes to the bed and sets her alarm clock. When she takes another quick look in Lorna's room, she discovers her body there.
VHS: 4:02 min.
Film tear: The inspector is shown longer, then Mr. Hornby earlier.
VHS: 4 sec.
Paul tells Valerie that the house had been locked for years.
A sex scene between Valerie and Paul in front of the burning fireplace follows.
As the fire slowly dies down, the naked Valerie wakes up in front of the fireplace. There is no trace of Paul. She puts her clothes back on.
The BD doesn't kick in until she stands up.
VHS: 3:51 min.