House by the Cemetery – Bob

housebythecemetery-vestron1 (VHSCollector.com)Shoddy dubbing is something that Eurohorror fans have to learn to accept early on.  In the heyday of Italian horror, rarely was everyone on the set comfortable speaking the same language.  Jessica Harper said that construction was going on during takes on the set of Suspiria.  It’s not like there’s a definitive cut of most of these where you can hear all the performers speaking in their native language or anything.  So unless it’s a case like Black Sabbath, where there is some pretty intrusive reconstruction going on, I’m not opposed to watching most Italian horror in English.

The dubbing might be a little melodramatic at times but it all adds up to a style that I’m comfortable with.  Kids can be tricky though.  Usually they have such small roles that it doesn’t matter.  In House by the Cemetery though, the young boy, Bob, is one of the main characters gets a ton of screen time.  He also gets a ton of lines.  I can see where this would be problematic trying to get an actual child to read the lines.  So, they did the next best thing and got a grown woman with the most grating voice imaginable.

I remember when I was first getting into Eurohorror in the 90s.  The obvious starting points were Argento and Fulci.  It seemed like every movie that I was discovering was a revelation.  There was something new and amazing in almost every movie.  It’s a great feeling when you’re not sure what you might see next.  Of course, as much as I experienced to that point, nothing prepared me for the voice of Bob.

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The most horrifying thing in Italian cinema

At first it was funny.  After a while though, it really started to grate on my nerves until it nearly ruined one of the coolest set pieces in I’ve seen in any movie.  At one point, Bob finds himself locked in the basement with the monstrous Dr. Freudstein.  His father rushes to his aid and attempts to break down the cellar door with an axe.  Freudstein holds Bob head against the door as his father hacks away.  It’s so well constructed that the viewer should feel it in his testicles (a female viewer would obviously feel it in her ovaries).  Instead, I felt the dark side of me surface as I contemplated the fact that, if he did hit Bob, I wouldn’t have to hear his voice again for the rest of the movie.  The dubbing on this child was so irritating that I actually hoped to see a small child get his face hacked off.  Either that voice is seriously annoying or I am a terrible person.

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Try again, about six inches to the right.

I know I’m not alone on this one.  Just google House by the Cemetery and Bob together and you’ll see that there’s no shortage of hostility directed toward him.  The actor even apologizes for his dubbing on the recent Arrow blu ray release.  Bob even annoyed himself.

Something happened that day that I watched the blu ray though.  Maybe seeing a grown man apologize for something that he had nothing to do with made my tiny heart grow three sizes.  Whatever it was, my hatred was gone.  The voice actually grew on me.  This is not to say that I love it or that I would want him to read a few audio books for me, but it’s just part of the movie now instead of this anomaly that enrages me.  Maybe I’m getting soft, but I can actually say that I now enjoy everything about House by the Cemetery.

grinch heart

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20 Responses to House by the Cemetery – Bob

  1. Dr. Jose says:

    Oh my god, I never realized it was a grown woman doing his voice! You’re right though – it’s one of the most nerve-grating dubs I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t help that Bob has a terrible haircut and a blank, dopey face. All these things combined make Bob completely unbearable.

    Growing up on American teen slasher flicks, I couldn’t get into the groove with dubbed foreign horror. But over the years it grew on me, and now I almost look forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drhumpp says:

      I can’t say for certain that it was a grown woman. I’m not sure what kind of individual sounds like that. That was my first impression, and I just always kind of assumed it was.

      The weirdest part about this whole thing is that, in the Italian version, Bob’s voice is quite similar.

      American teen slashers were my first horror love and they will always have the spot closest to my heart. I pretty much even like the shittiest of them. It takes a lot for me to not enjoy an early 80s slasher.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aaron says:

    This is the only one of the three Gates of Hell movies I haven’t seen, so I’ll have to remedy that immediately. I absolutely love these old Italian horror movies and I agree that there is just something about the dubbed voices that is endearing. It sounds like the voice of Bob rises above all the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drhumpp says:

      Bob’s voice is pretty terrible, but it’s not without its charm.

      The Beyond is still my favorite of the Gates of Hell, but this one has some incredible moments. Let me know what you think!

      Like

      • Aaron says:

        Well, you’re definitely right about Bob’s voice, although I’m sure it served him well in his career as a miniature Carol Channing impersonator. The Beyond is still my favorite of the three as well but I wish Christopher George would have been in that one too. Hell, I wish Christopher George could be in everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      • drhumpp says:

        You’re right, and I don’t have to tell you what a cutthroat industry it is for miniature Carol Channing impersonators. Having the voice of an angel must be a blessing and a curse.

        The Beyond is my favorite Fulci movie overall. Christopher George would be welcome anywhere law enforcement is needed. The same could be said for David Warbeck anywhere you need someone to inexplicably shoot zombies in the chest.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Paragraph Film Reviews says:

    Not seen the film but couldn’t resist a google! It’s so off putting hearing a woman’s scream coming out of a child’s mouth. Poor guy having to apologise for that!!!

    In general, where possible I’ll take the original language any day over a dubbed version. Even if normal tracks are a split second out it bugs the hell out of me and prevents me from engaging or enjoying any film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drhumpp says:

      I agree that it’s usually preferable to see a movie with its original audio track. Italian horror is different for me. When I first started seeing VHS copies of Unsane and Creepers, I became accustomed to the dubbing. Some movies that I saw in Italian first (like Black Sabbath) I still prefer the Italian language track. Of course, if you go only Italian you’ll lose some of the performances of Boris Karloff, Jennifer Connelly, and Donald Pleasence.

      Then again, bad dubbing is easier to ignore if you don’t have any idea what the characters are saying aside from the subtitles.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like I’ve gotta see this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tony Parsons says:

    To make for an even more surreal night of horror viewing, I would then recommend watching straight after ‘House’ – “Nights of Terror” aka “Burial Ground” (1980) wherein this time, the little boy is played by an adult midget … who goes on to bite his own mother’s nipple off. At this point he’s become a zombie, I must add. Ah, Italian horror!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jay says:

    “This is the funniest post ever. Poor Bob.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. markmc2012 says:

    I think this is on one of those 50 horror films for a few bucks collections that I have sitting around. I remember liking the title then saw it was a European film from the 80’s and I was in no hurry to see it. Am I missing out?

    Liked by 1 person

    • drhumpp says:

      It’s slow, but if you like Italian horror from the 80s, there’s lots of good stuff to be found here. It’s one of my favorite Fulci movies.

      I’d love to know what you think if you watch it. Just watch out for Bob’s voice!

      Like

  8. Adore House by the Cemetery, and I’ve grown used to Bob’s dubbed voice to the point where it doesn’t grate as much as it once did. What does grate, however, is the fact that he’s named Bob. Who the heck calls their kid Bob rather than Bobby…it’s just not a kid’s name! And the fact that the word “Bob” is uttered at least 200 timed during the film’s duration compounds my annoyance.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh this is great!! You’ve just described to a T exactly how I feel about Bob AND this movie!! I prefer subtitles to dubbing because I always found dubbed films a little too out of sync that I just end up getting distracted by it. I Really enjoyed “House by the Cemetery” — yes, even with Bob in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drhumpp says:

      I agree with you on the subtitles. The Italian horror of the 70s and 80s is the exception. I’m not sure if it’s because I saw Creepers and Unsane before I ever knew of Phenomena and Tenebre. I just kind of got accustomed to the feel of it.

      While The Beyond is my favorite, I love Dr. Freudstein from House. It gives it a bit of a slasher vibe.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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