The House that Drips Blood on Alex is a twelve-minute film that marks Tommy Wiseau’s first acting appearance since The Room. If you’re not aware of Wiseau and his work, let me bring you up to speed.
Wiseau wrote, directed, and starred in The Room, which has been called the worst movie made and yet sells out theaters wherever it plays the midnight circuit. The film is amateurishly acted and was seemingly written from the point of a naive and misogynistic child. It’s by no means a Good Movie. But it’s a Great Bad Movie, and what sets it apart from your typical midnight cult classic is Wiseau’s complete lack of irony. Tommy – as his fans intimately call him – never winks at the viewer as if he’s letting them in on a joke. He’s completely earnest, and completely, heroically himself, despite audiences nationwide covering their eyes in horror at The Room’s love scenes.
So when The House that Drips Blood on Alex was announced, I approached it with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Would the auteur’s unassuming vision would be ruined when he figured out that audiences were laughing at him?
Amazingly, Tommy is just as much himself in this short genre-picture as he is in The Room. His line-readings are as unique as ever (think Klaus Kinski on quaaludes), and I for one felt great relief that he seemed incapable of transforming his unusual stardom to camp.
Alas, the same cannot be said for his fellow actors, whose line readings uniformly sound like they’re in quotation marks. The meat of House is sandwiched by scenes of Tommy in a dark movie theater, accosting two blondes about to watch a horror picture. Our hero corners them with a scary tale, “about myself,” he sadly admits – and Tommy takes such banal lines like that and makes them funny and sympathetic at the same time. But the demonic real estate agent is all smug wink. and for all the screenwriter’s attempts to be funny, nothing comes close to such classic lines from The Room as, “I’m tired, I’m wasted – I love you darling!”
Why is it that Tommy’s magnum opus, despite no discernible chemistry among its players, seems so right in its wrongness; while Alex doesn’t? Self-consciousness. There’s a magical chemistry of bad film-making that Tommy alchemically concocted simply by being himself. While the world is probably itching to camp it up around his strange charisma, here’s hoping he gets another chance to make another movie his way.