House of the Dead (film)

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House of the Dead
Theatrical release poster
Directed byUwe Boll
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Mark A. Altman
  • Dan Bates
Based onHouse of the Dead series
by Sega
Music by
CinematographyMatias Neumann
Edited byDavid M. Richardson
Distributed byArtisan Entertainment (United States)
Alliance Atlantis Communications (Canada)
Release date
  • February 15, 2003 (2003-02-15) (San Francisco)
  • October 10, 2003 (2003-10-10) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • United States
Budget$12 million[1]
Box office$13.8 million[1]

House of the Dead is a 2003 German-Canadian-American action horror film, and the adaptation of the 1996 light gun arcade game of the same name produced by Sega. The film was directed by Uwe Boll, and was a critical failure.

The film was followed by a sequel, House of the Dead 2 (2005).


After booking a boat trip to attend a rave to an island located off the coast of Seattle named "Isla del Morte" ("Island of Death"), two college students, Simon (Tyron Leitso) and Greg (Will Sanderson) meet up with three girls: Alicia (Ona Grauer), Karma (Enuka Okuma) and Cynthia (Sonya Salomaa). Karma has a crush on Simon, Simon has a crush on Alicia, and Cynthia is Greg's girlfriend. When the five arrive at the dock, they find that they are late and the boat that is supposed to take them to Isla del Morte has already left. A boat captain named Victor Kirk (Jürgen Prochnow) and his first mate Salish (Clint Howard) offer them a ride on their boat, the Lazarus V (named after the biblical man raised from the dead). As they leave, a policewoman named Jordan Casper (Ellie Cornell) tries to stop them from leaving, knowing of Kirk's past as a smuggler, but fails.

Arriving at Isla del Morte, they find the rave site messed up and deserted. Alicia, Karma and Simon leave the site to go find anybody around while Cynthia and Greg stay behind. As Greg and Cynthia are about to make out in a tent, the former leaves to urinate. Alone in the tent, Cynthia is killed by a group of zombies. Meanwhile, Alicia, Karma and Simon find a derelict house and as they attempt to investigate the place, they discover Rudy (Jonathan Cherry), Liberty (Kira Clavell) and Hugh (Michael Eklund), who inform them of a zombie attack during the rave. Alicia and Rudy used to date and Liberty was a dancer at the rave. The six leave the house to fetch Greg and Cynthia. Meanwhile, the zombies kill Salish when he is alone in the forest.

Alicia, Rudy, Karma, Simon, Liberty and Hugh return to the rave site and find Greg. A zombified Cynthia comes out from behind a tree and kills Hugh but is killed when Casper arrives and shoots her. They form a plan to return to Kirk's boat and leave the island. When they return to the beach they find only zombies on Kirk's boat. Casper and Greg leave the group to go find help, but Greg is killed in the forest.

Kirk reveals the island's history; Isla del Morte was home to a Spanish Catholic priest named Castillo Sermano, who was banished from Spain in the 15th century for his dark experiments, which the Catholic Church forbade (there was a union of Church and State in that period). Castillo murdered the crew of St. Cristobal, the ship that was taking him to the island, enslaved the island's natives, and murdered anyone who visited the place. He then created the immortality serum, which he injected himself with before he created the first zombie. Kirk leads the group to a spot in the forest where he has hidden a box full of guns and weaponry. Once everyone is armed, they decide to head back to the house only to find the courtyard filled with zombies. Liberty and Casper are killed in the ensuing fight and Alicia, Rudy, Kirk, Karma and Simon manage to take shelter inside the house.

When Kirk is alone, he hears Salish whistling outside of the house. He goes outside and sees Salish as a zombie. Kirk sacrifices himself by killing Salish with a stick of dynamite, but the explosion also blows up the entrance to the house. The remaining four lock themselves in a lab inside house, but the zombies break in. Karma finds a hatch in the floor which she, Alicia and Rudy use to escape. Simon manages to sacrifice himself to kill the zombies by shooting a barrel of gunpowder, blowing up the house and the zombies. Alicia, Rudy and Karma find themselves in underground tunnels. They make their way through the tunnels, but Karma is killed by zombies as she attempts to hold them off as Rudy and Alicia flee.

Alicia and Rudy are aided out of the tunnels by a mysterious man wearing Greg's face as a mask. The man is revealed to be Castillo Sermano. Alicia and Rudy escape the tunnels, blowing them up in the process. Castillo manages to survive the blast and Alicia gets into a sword fight with him. Castillo stabs her in the heart wherein Rudy manages to decapitate him. However, the still-alive headless body of Castillo begins to strangle Rudy. Alicia, who is barely alive, gets up and crushes the head under her foot which finally kills him. Although Alicia seemingly dies, she and Rudy are rescued by a team of agents. The agents ask for Rudy's name, to which he responds with Rudolph "Curien". The ending narration reveals that Rudy gave Alicia the immortality serum and that is why she is alive. The two survivors return home.



Box office[edit]

House of the Dead grossed $10.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $3.6 million in other countries, for a total gross of $13.8 million, against its budget of $12 million.[1]

In its opening weekend the film grossed $5.7 million, finishing sixth at the box office.

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film was ranked as the 41st of the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s, with an approval rating of 3% based on 59 reviews. The site's consensus reads, "A grungy, disjointed, mostly brainless mess of a film, House of the Dead is nonetheless loaded with unintentional laughs." On Metacritic the film has a score of 15 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike". In 2009, Time listed the film on their list of top ten worst video game movies of all-time.[2]

IGN gave it three out of five stars, citing it as "an unabashed B-movie that does an incredibly decent job with a limited budget, unknown cast, and routine storyline.[3]



House of the Dead Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedNovember 11, 2003

The film's soundtrack was released in late 2003 through ZYX Records. The album featured many bands from Boll's home country of Germany.

Track listing
1."House of the Dead"Razorburner3:13
3."Sly Dog"Perfect Fred3:58
4."Kingdom Come"N.O.P.E.4:00
6."Whenever I Fall"Megaherz5:42
7."Bitter Tears"N.O.P.E.3:24
9."Suicide Serenade"Misery Inc.4:00
11."This Is Real" (Club Mix)Rey Thomas6:41
12."This Is Real" (Radio Mix)Rey Thomas3:10
Total length:48:34


House of the Dead - The Classical Score
Soundtrack album by
Reinhard Besser
ReleasedMarch 29, 2013[4]
GenreFilm score
LabelPlayground Worldwide

The film's score was composed by German composer Reinhard Besser. Besser would later compose the score for another Boll film in 2005 with Alone in the Dark. The score was released on March 29, 2013 through Playground Worldwide.

Track listing

All tracks written by Reinhard Besser.

2."Ominous Sea"2:17
3."The Island"2:21
4."Haunted House"2:48
6."Alchemist at Work"2:05
8."The Fight"3:02
9."Main Theme"3:37
10."Romantic Theme"4:07
11."End Theme"4:58
Total length:34:24

Director's cut[edit]

A director's cut of the film was released on DVD on September 9, 2008 distributed by Lionsgate. This version features new dialogue, alternative takes, pop up commentary and animation from the original video game.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "House of the Dead (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  2. ^ "Top 10 Worst Video Game Movies". Time Magazine. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  3. ^ IGN: House of the Dead Review
  4. ^ "House of the Dead - The Classical Score (Original Soundtrack) by Reinhard Besser". iTunes. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  5. ^ House of the Dead Director's Cut: Funny Version' ART and Specs! on (June 19, 2008).

External links[edit]