Rotten Tomatoes
Cancel Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

Death Weekend

R 1977 1h 29m Horror List
Reviews 28% Audience Score 250+ Ratings A warped man (Don Stroud) and his buddies terrorize a woman (Brenda Vaccaro) and her doctor boyfriend (Chuck Shamata) at a lake house. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (3) Critics Reviews
Joe Lipsett Bloody Disgusting William Fruet’s Death Weekend is an intriguing addition to the Canuxploitation canon of the late 70s and 80s. While it’s not an easy watch, it is another worthwhile example of Canada’s genre output during the heyday of the Tax Shelter Era. Rated: 4/5 Jul 25, 2023 Full Review Paul Lê Bloody Disgusting Those in its corner recognize and promote the movie for its skilled cast, layered writing, and a considerable amount of intelligence not always synonymous with “B” movies. Rated: 4/5 Jul 21, 2023 Full Review Tim Brayton Antagony & Ecstasy [Not] a great thriller, just one that is more intelligent and dignified than you would ever imagine, sight unseen. Rated: 5/10 Jun 3, 2013 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (21) audience reviews
delysid d i enjoyed death weekend. a movie only 70s horror freaks would like Rated 3 out of 5 stars 11/22/17 Full Review Audience Member An affluent dentist takes model Brenda Vaccaro to his large, remote country house for the weekend. On the way, they run afoul of a group of drunken louts lead by Don Stroud. When Vaccaro runs them off the road, they vow revenge. They occupy the dentists house and terrorize the pair. This Canadian exploitation flick teams director William Fruet with Cinepix producers Ivan Reitman and Don Carmody, and is frankly the best non-Cronenberg flick Reitman had his hands on in this period. It's a fairly simple scenario, but it does not play out quite like you expect it to. Chuck Shamata's dentist character turns out to be a real slimeball, while Stroud turns out to be not quite as loathsome as you expect. While his cronies are a real bunch of creeps, Stroud really has Shamata's number and his pointed attacks ring pretty true. The film really comes down to Vaccaro vs. Stroud and his crew, and she turns out to be extremely resource, which is pretty carefully established in the first half hour. A really classy exploitation flick that's high on suspense and surprisingly low on sleaze. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Audience Member From the opening all-out car chase to the ambiguous ending, "Death Weekend" - 1976 (aka "The House by the Lake") is several cuts above the typical home-invasion, "rape and revenge," type of drive-in horror film of which is is a pre-eminent example. I might even compare it to "Straw Dogs," the Peckinpah classic, or more disturbingly Michael Haneke's "Funny Games," a film I found reprehensible for its nihilism. Produced by Ivan Reitman at the beginning of his career and starring Brenda Vaccaro and Don Stroud (anyone around in the 70s and 80s will know those names), this low-budget Canadian thriller has been very hard to find on DVD, but I understand a complete version is now available for viewing on YouTube. Vaccaro plays Diane, a "model," who has accepted an invitation to spend the weekend at a remote country estate, ostensibly with lots of other guests, by a lecherous dentist whose moral bankruptcy should have been obvious to her, since Vaccaro plays a pretty savvy girl, but her dire situation only becomes apparent when she arrives at the place to discover he cannot resist pawing her and that there's not another person in sight for ten miles. The sleazy doctor (Chuck Shamata) also places her in a room with large mirrors, one-way mirrors behind which the pervert oral surgeon can lurk and peer, and yes photograph his new friend for his private porno collection. But the real threat to our heroine comes from a gang of drunken, hooligan pot-heads in a souped-up jalopy whom the couple first encounters on the trip up to the estate. Their leader is Lep (Don Stroud), an arrogant bully. The men hang out the car windows; they jeer and leer, throw beer cans, and make obscene gestures at the couple until our girl Brenda, who happens to be behind the wheel of her companion's hot black Corvette, out-drives them in an extended car chase that would make Quentin Tarrantino proud. She eventually runs them off the road into a small creek and Lep is furious... he rants and raves, abuses his buddies, and vows to find her and secure his revenge. Meanwhile up at the estate, in the course of the first day, the model had figured out that the dentist is a sleaze-ball and calls the weekend off, but it turns out not to be soon enough as that is the moment that the car-load of reprobate hill-billies arrives having tracked down their prey and the home invasion part of the film begins. Prepare to squirm with discomfort as the larcenous group proceeds to terrorize the couple and wreck the dentist's fine house, all the while exhibiting a palpable sexual threat not only to the model, but to her male companion too. How far do they go? How much murder and mayhem develop in the course of this thriller? Well, I don't want to spoil the fun, but I doubt that you will want to miss any of it. I have a vague recollection of having seen this film back in the decade of its first release, and the drive-in where I worked would have probably booked this one. I always liked Vaccaro for her husky voice and her unusual style. And as for Don Stroud... he was a star in the firmament of B-movies - with his menacing good looks and an intense Brando-esque acting style. "Death Weekend" is only for aficionados of this type of exploitation cinema, but one wonders why it has been neglected through the years... perhaps it was just too good for its type? Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/02/23 Full Review Audience Member The fashion model Diane (Brenda Vaccaro) has decided to follow the wealthy playboy dentist Harry (Chuck Shamata) for a weekend getaway at Harry's remote country house by a lake in Ontario. On their way to Harry's country house they had encountered a car load of drunken thugs, led by Lep (Don Stroud) and had got into a fit of road rage where Diane forces the punks off the road, wrecking them. Little do Diane and Harry know that the angry gang has followed them, looking for some vicious revenge against the arguing, unhappy and unarmed couple... "Death Weekend" or "The House by the Lake" which title it was released under in America due to the fact that the distributors felt under that particular title it would be more marketable as Wes Craven's similarly-themed film "Last House on the Left" (1972) had been such a hit, is a classic rape-revenge flick that carries connections to Sam Peckinpah´s "Straw Dogs". The fact is that William Fruet actually wrote the film several years earlier, but didn't pursue shooting it at the time because "Straw Dogs" had just came out and he feared Death Weekend would be viewed as an imitator of that film. And it´s hard to not see the resemblance. I remember this movie being banned back in the days and I got hold of a VHS tape of it in the beginning of the 90s that didn´t work! Thus, almost 20 years later I finally get to see "Death Weekend", and I it´s hard to see why it was banned as I write this in 2013. Yes, the atmosphere is threatning at times and Don Stroud does put on a solid performance of a nasty thug. But, it´s not a movie that makes that much of an impression and it´s not banning material if you ask me. Not bad within the rape-revenge genre, but nothing special either. "Straw Dogs" is better in my opinion. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/21/23 Full Review Audience Member This was a somewhat decent but lacking home invasion/rape revenge movie, that was kinda lacking that key ingredient....Rape. I'm not saying that's something I need in my movies, but when its advertised as a rape revenge and the most the female character gets is felt up under the shirt....it kinda takes the danger and suspense outta a film like this. This was a good example of mid 70s Canucksploitation that showed off a decent concept that was muddled down with over acting and overly long silly scenes that go nowhere. The main female lead DIane played by Brenda Vaccaro(who is mainly a comedy/musical actress) did a pretty good job as the tough,glamorous city chick. When her character is out cruising the country side with her male dentist friend in his corvette, a group of local dirt bags decide to chase them and throw bottles at their car. When Diane drives them off the road, they swear revenge on the two of them. Her male dentist friend brings Diane up to his house by the lake, where he plans on seducing her with lies and liquor...but Diane figures this out and isn't having it. After a brief kinda silly argument, their relationship is strained to say the least. The five dirt bag friends led by Dan Stroud who plays Lep, find a local gas station where the two drunk attendants blab about who the dentist is and where his house is. The rest goes from there but you can guess what happens when they invade the home, I thought I could have guessed but wasn't even close. To say I was alittle let down by the actual home invasion would be an understatement. First of all the five guys just spend more time talking and being abnoxious than actual physical or sexual assault. There are a couple sexual type assaults but they are very tame in comparison to movies such as Last house on the left or House on the edge of the park. The dentist friend gets his ass handed to him more than a couple times with beatings, and having his home destroyed. The actual action and major violence takes such a long time to actually happen, so in the half hour before you just get super annoyed with the thugs and just hope for them to die, so you don't have to listen to their retardly awful jokes about farting and what not. Diane does a great ass kicking job when she finally does fight back and shows you that a tough, city raised broad can do more than a pussy, candy ass, ivy league educated man, who knows nothing about fending for himself. I sound alittle hard about this movie but it was a decent watch for what it was, but don't expect anything like the rape revenge/home invasion classics like straw dogs,last house,or house on the edge of the park. Its also has a really short running time which is good, because I couldn't deal with the "Thug" characters for another half hour. This is a pretty good weekend watch if you can catch it online or something but I wouldn't go out of my way to track it down if you're a fan of these type of movies. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member This was a somewhat decent but lacking home invasion/rape revenge movie, that was kinda lacking that key ingredient....Rape. I'm not saying that's something I need in my movies, but when its advertised as a rape revenge and the most the female character gets is felt up under the shirt....it kinda takes the danger and suspense outta a film like this. This was a good example of mid 70s Canucksploitation that showed off a decent concept that was muddled down with over acting and overly long silly scenes that go nowhere. The main female lead DIane played by Brenda Vaccaro(who is mainly a comedy/musical actress) did a pretty good job as the tough,glamorous city chick. When her character is out cruising the country side with her male dentist friend in his corvette, a group of local dirt bags decide to chase them and throw bottles at their car. When Diane drives them off the road, they swear revenge on the two of them. Her male dentist friend brings Diane up to his house by the lake, where he plans on seducing her with lies and liquor...but Diane figures this out and isn't having it. After a brief kinda silly argument, their relationship is strained to say the least. The five dirt bag friends led by Dan Stroud who plays Lep, find a local gas station where the two drunk attendants blab about who the dentist is and where his house is. The rest goes from there but you can guess what happens when they invade the home, I thought I could have guessed but wasn't even close. To say I was alittle let down by the actual home invasion would be an understatement. First of all the five guys just spend more time talking and being abnoxious than actual physical or sexual assault. There are a couple sexual type assaults but they are very tame in comparison to movies such as Last house on the left or House on the edge of the park. The dentist friend gets his ass handed to him more than a couple times with beatings, and having his home destroyed. The actual action and major violence takes such a long time to actually happen, so in the half hour before you just get super annoyed with the thugs and just hope for them to die, so you don't have to listen to their retardly awful jokes about farting and what not. Diane does a great ass kicking job when she finally does fight back and shows you that a tough, city raised broad can do more than a pussy, candy ass, ivy league educated man, who knows nothing about fending for himself. I sound alittle hard about this movie but it was a decent watch for what it was, but don't expect anything like the rape revenge/home invasion classics like straw dogs,last house,or house on the edge of the park. Its also has a really short running time which is good, because I couldn't deal with the "Thug" characters for another half hour. This is a pretty good weekend watch if you can catch it online or something but I wouldn't go out of my way to track it down if you're a fan of these type of movies. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/30/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Death Weekend

My Rating

Read More Read Less POST RATING WRITE A REVIEW EDIT REVIEW

Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis A warped man (Don Stroud) and his buddies terrorize a woman (Brenda Vaccaro) and her doctor boyfriend (Chuck Shamata) at a lake house.
Director
William Fruet
Rating
R
Genre
Horror
Original Language
English
Release Date (DVD)
Nov 9, 2012
Runtime
1h 29m