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June 13, 2011

Movie Review: The Nesting (1981, Blu-ray)

Probably the easiest transition for an adult filmmaker who wants to go mainstream is to switch over to the horror genre. During the 70s and 80s a few did just that. Roommates director, Chuck Vincent, did it with the 1987 Deranged as well as numerous raunchy comedies throughout the 80s. Bill Osco was a producer who also made a name for himself in the adult industry that branched out into horror with The Being and Blood Diner. Maybe the most polished of the blue movie genre-hoppers was Armand Weston (The Defiance of Good and Take Off). Weston directed the haunted house film, The Nesting (aka Massacre Mansion), which is seeing a release now from Blue Underground.

Buy The Nesting [Blu-ray] and DVD

Lauren Cochran (Robin Groves) has a terrible case of agoraphobia. She can't leave her New York apartment without having a crippling panic-attack. A change of scenery seems to be the best choice for the author, so she chooses the quiet surroundings of a dilapidated Victorian mansion. Problem solved, right? Not until she can find a way to get rid of her new ghostly companions. It seems there was a horrible massacre what was once a "house of ill repute". This isn't quite what the budding novelist expected.

The Nesting relies very heavily on the unique atmosphere of its locales. The mansion has menacing look to it - complete with a round roof-top and other odd architecture that give it a brooding appearance. The interior is slightly less foreboding but does manage to have some areas most wouldn’t be inclined to explore. Yes, the house is the best actor in the movie but the performances by our leads, Robin Groves and Christopher Loomis are solid and convincing enough to maintain the tension Weston wants to get across. Even John Carradine manages to not camp it up in his role as the crotchety Colonel Lebrun.


When I first saw The Nesting as a youngster and was expecting a slasher in the form of the many 80's offerings. The box-cover always made it seem like a body-count picture. In actuality it's a pretty classy old school horror film. That's not to say it isn't without its exploitive elements: There's quite a bit of nudity and the few onscreen deaths are pretty well done. The extermination of the prostitutes with their Johns has a bit of a cruel feel to it when it's shown in one of Lauren’s several dream sequences.

The folks and Blue Underground have put some cool extra features on The Nesting. There was apparently a director's cut; the version on this release is the theatrical version. The scenes excised from the director’s cut are compiled together in the "special features". The deleted and extended scenes are interesting and will be a nice watch for those looking for more exposition. I can see why they weren’t included in the initial release though. There isn't any extra violence or sex here that was snipped by the MPAA so it didn't effect my enjoyment one bit.

Also included are some trailers for the film and a very extensive gallery for The Nesting. I think just about every piece of memorabilia, photo, art, film documentation was saved. There's so much here and it's very cool to get so in depth with these little intricacies of production.

The image quality on the original VHS release from Warner Home Video was extremely dark and damn near unwatchable. Blue Underground has gone in and really cleaned the movie up and improved on the audio as well. This is a very nice presentation of the film.

The Nesting is really an underrated thriller that unfortunately hasn’t been seen by many folks. Now is the time to experience this consistently creepy, stylish horror film courtesy of Blue Underground.

(Screencaps courtesy of

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