Mausoleum (film)

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Mausoleum 1983 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Dugan
Produced byRobert Barich
Robert Madero
Written byRobert Barich
Robert Madero
Story byKatherine Rosenwink
StarringBobbie Bresee
Marjoe Gortner
Norman Burton
Music byJaime Mendoza-Nava
CinematographyRobert Barich
Edited byRichard Bock
Western International Pictures[1]
Distributed byMotion Picture Marketing[1]
Release date
  • April 29, 1983 (1983-04-29)[2]
Running time
96 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States

Mausoleum is a 1983 American supernatural horror film directed by Michael Dugan and starring Bobbie Bresee, Marjoe Gortner, Norman Burton, and LaWanda Page. The plot follows a young woman who becomes possessed by the same demon that killed her mother.

While not prosecuted for obscenity, the film was seized and confiscated in the UK under Section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 during the "video nasty" panic. The film was released theatrically in the United States in the spring of 1983, and later won the Special Jury Prize at the 13th Paris Film Festival of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Films in December that year.


Ten-year-old Susan Walker attends her mother's funeral with her aunt Cora, who is appointed her guardian. After the funeral, Susan flees into the family's mausoleum tomb and witnesses a demonic supernatural force that kills a vagrant in the cemetery. The encounter results in Susan falling under the influence of an ancestral demon connected to her family lineage.

Twenty years later, Cora worries about Susan, now thirty and married, on the anniversary of her mother's death. Susan and her husband Oliver go out for dinner that night, and Susan is attacked by a drunk patron outside. He enters his car, which Susan causes to burst into flames, killing him. Oliver is summoned to New York City for work, leaving Susan home alone. She seduces their landscaper, Ben, before killing him post-coitus with a hand rake. Oliver returns shortly after, and Susan tells him she gave Ben the night off from work.

The next day, Cora arrives at the house to bring Susan paperwork pertaining to the familial inheritance she is due at age 30. In the house, she finds Suan grossly deformed in the figure of a demon. Susan causes Cora to levitate over the staircase before breaking open her chest. That night, Oliver calls Susan's psychologist, Dr. Andrews, alarmed, claiming to have seen Susan in a disfigured state. Susan interrupts the call, appearing entirely normal. The following morning, the Farrells' housekeeper Elsie finds Susan's room glowing green and witnesses her in her deformed state, and flees the house in terror.

At the urging of Oliver, Susan visits Dr. Andrew, who tapes a hypnosis session with her in his office. Initially she reverts to a childlike state before becoming possessed by the demonic entity. Andrews ends the session prematurely, and Susan reverts to her normal self. Disturbed, Andrews consults his colleague, Dr. Logan. The following morning, Susan kills another landscaper sent to her house. That night, Oliver returns home and finds blood smeared on the kitchen telephone. He attempts to confront Susan, but she says she is tired and they will have to talk in the morning.

Meanwhile, Andrews and Logan begin researching demonic possession, convinced that Susan's problem is supernatural and beyond the help of medicine. After analyzing a journal kept by Susan's grandfather, Andrew informs Oliver that the Nomed family is subject to a curse in which firstborn daughters fall prey to a demon. Susan visits a shopping mall alone, and steals an abstract painting from an art gallery. When the gallery owner confronts her, she causes him to levitate over an atrium before he falls multiple stories, and his body is impaled on a sculpture below.

Andrews retrieves a crown of thorns from the Nomed family mausoleum, which, according to Susan's grandfather's journal, will expel the demon. Simultaneously Susan transforms into a fully formed demonic state at home, and brutally kills Oliver. Andrews arrives shortly after and manages to crown Susan, banishing the demon to the mausoleum. Andrews brings Susan to the mausoleum, and she cries as the demon returns to its tomb. Before they depart, Andrews instructs a gravekeeper to keep the mausoleum sealed from the public. As they drive away, the gravekeeper laughs maniacally.


  • Bobbie Bresee as Susan Walker Farrell
    • Julie Christy Murray as Young Susan
  • Marjoe Gortner as Oliver Farrell
  • Norman Burton as Dr. Simon Andrews
  • Maurice Sherbanee as Ben
  • LaWanda Page as Elsie
  • Laura Hippe as Aunt Cora Nomed
  • Sheri Mann as Dr. Roni Logan
  • Julie Christy Murray as Young Susan


The film was given a limited release theatrically in the United States by Motion Picture Marketing (MPM) on April 29, 1983.[2] It was subsequently released on VHS by Embassy Home Entertainment.[4] It was later passed in the United Kingdom by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for video release in March 1998.[5]

The film was released on DVD by BCI Entertainment as part of their Exploitation Cinema double feature line alongside the film Blood Song.[6] Mill Creek Entertainment re-released the movie alongside with Blood Song on DVD. Both versions are currently out of print. Vinegar Syndrome released the film in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on November 23, 2018, and the limited edition slipcover version sold out in 24 hours.

Critical reception[edit]

Bill O'Connor from the Akron Beacon Journal gave the film a poor review, writing, "What is irritating about this movie is its absolute lack of logic. In order for a horror movie to scare us, we need to understand the parameters of the world we're watching".[7] Variety's film review guide called it an "engaging minor film concerning demonic possession."[3] Howard Reich from the Chicago Tribune described Mausoleum as "one of the weakest horror films one is likely to see".[8]

The 1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Guide awarded the film one star out of five, deeming it "schlocky and silly."[9] Eleanor Mannikka of AllMovie awarded the film one-and-a-half stars out of five, though ultimately deemed it a "modest but well-wrought occult horror film."[10]


  • Won: Special Jury Prize, 13th Paris Film Festival of Sci-Fi and Fantasy Films (December 1983)[11]


  1. ^ a b Young, R.G., ed. (2000). The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film: Ali Baba to Zombies. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 396. ISBN 978-1-557-83269-6.
  2. ^ a b "Mausoleum (1983)". American Film Institute Catalog. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Elley, Derek (ed.). Variety Portable Movie Guide. Penguin. p. 798. ISBN 978-0-425-17550-7.
  4. ^ Mausoleum (VHS). Embassy Home Entertainment. 1984. 0-4299-52087-3-3.
  5. ^ "Mausoleum". British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  6. ^ "Mausoleum / Blood Song (Double Feature)". DVD Empire. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  7. ^ "Mausoleum". The Akron Beacon Journal. Akron, Ohio. May 28, 1983. p. 9 – via
  8. ^ "Mausoleum". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. August 3, 1983. p. 57 – via
  9. ^ Blockbuster Entertainment Guide to Movies and Videos, 1998. Island Books. 1997. p. 788. ISBN 978-0-440-22419-8.
  10. ^ Mannikka, Eleanor. "Mausoleum". AllMovie. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  11. ^ Speed, F. Maurice; Cameron-Wilson, James (1984). "Film Review". W.H. Allen: 158. ISBN 978-0-862-87169-7.

External links[edit]