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The Nesting (1981)

July 20th, 2012 by unkle lancifer · 16 Comments

Hold onto your hats because I’m about to blow your minds. There’s a movie about a neurotic woman spending time in a glorious gothic mansion that’s haunted by GLORIA GRAHAME (BLOOD AND LACE, MANSION OF THE DOOMED) and, here’s the crazy part, I don’t particularly care for it. Does that even make sense? How on Earth is that even remotely possible? I’ve investigated this phenomenon from every possible angle and it still remains true. It’s a genuine paradox. Here’s another thing, and I feel justified playing this card because I rarely do, I really dislike the main character. I’d blame the actress (ROBIN GROVES) entirely, because she does get on my nerves in a distinct way, but I have to give her some slack as the script relentlessly demands that she act like a persnickety crab. She probably would work as a snide side-character but being handcuffed to this self-absorbed harpy for the entire run of the film becomes laborious. I found myself fantasizing throughout most of THE NESTING that a bus would appear out of nowhere a’la FINAL DESTINATION and just erase her from the screen in a honking blur. Is that normal? Maybe I need to get one of those EXORCIST brain scans. I’m starting to think I have contracted that mental disorder you get from cat poop.

Speaking of mental disorders, our story begins with self-proclaimed “brilliant” novelist Lauren Cochran (GROVES) experiencing a panic attack while walking the streets of a city. Her shrink says she has agoraphobia, which she has never heard of. I would have diagnosed her with whatever is the opposite of agoraphobia due to the fact that throughout the film she acts in the exact opposite way that an agoraphobic would unless agoraphobics are known for moving into towns they’ve never been, climbing on very high roofs and visiting people alone they are warned not to in the middle of nowhere. Truth is, I’d overlook all that contradictory behavior if our hero were capable of any facial expression besides, “I smell Limburger.”

I’m not a stickler for authentic human reactions when we’re dealing with a movie that focuses on fantastic events, but after Lauren is chased by a murderous bug-eyed hillbilly and is cornered and forced to murder him by slitting his head like a melon with a scythe, I expect her to respond in some other way besides running home to wearily curl up with a smoke. I also have a hard time believing her love interest when he shows up and says something along the lines of, “Don’t worry, I talked to the police (about the guy you killed) and it’s cool.”

On the other hand there’s something delicious about a movie that so steadily delivers elements to disapprove of. I derive no joy hallucinating I’m somehow superior by passively pointing out flaws from the couch and yet the mongrel in my brain can’t resist gnawing on a bone this succulently aggravating. So in a way, I do somewhat enjoy NOT enjoying THE NESTING. Luckily, the already mentioned memorable house, the overall overgrown, run-down rural setting and the early eighties time period make this exasperating pill easier to swallow. It’s too bad it doesn’t work better though; there are worse ideas than stealing shamelessly from THE SHINING, GHOST STORY and THE CHANGELING.

The biggest sin of all has to be its squandering of GLORIA GRAHAME in her final film role. She’s barely on screen and when she is, most of her quirkiness is gauzed over. They even slap her with a dubbed, ill-fitting high-pitched laugh, what a waste! Maybe I’ll give it some worthless extra credit for at least trying to be more cerebral and less teen-friendly than what was popular at the time, even though it is probably that exact higher goal that allows it to fall on its face as hard as it does.

Tags: General Horror

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 carolNo Gravatar // Jul 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    While I was reading your review I was reminded of some IMDB thread comment (even saying those words makes me want to throw bleach all over myself) where someone was lamenting having watched yet another bad 80s slasher that was boring (it may have even been the one I mentioned to you a little while ago – I think it was Home, Sweet Home). Anyway – after having read SO MANY vacuous comments about why a movies wasn’t good (it was boring) it’s nice to see a(n almost) negative review about a slasher with a reason I can actually get on board with. The lead chick does look really annoying! The sassy-lady montage pic is so great btw.

    And, as usual, every single thing you say about this movie makes me want to see it.

  • 2 PTNo Gravatar // Jul 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Isn’t that a creepy Adolf Caesar trailer?!

    …sorry–I couldn’t resist

  • 3 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jul 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm


    If only you lived nearby so that I had somebody to watch these movies with! !!

    I try not to ever use the word “boring” if I can help it- I do allow myself to say “I’d prefer sleeping” though.

    This woman drove me nuts!

    You have to check out the scene where she is berating her shrink on the phone. She demands he make a house call to her haunted mansion while rolling her eyes, complaining about how much money she has given him and threatening to fire him. No mater what anyone says she answers with some “No shit, Sherlock”-type answer. She’s just a nightmare human.

    So pushy! Where was that Final Destination bus?


    How do you do it? That must be AC! I do LOVE the Nesting trailer. That is true.

  • 4 carolNo Gravatar // Jul 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    if i’m ever on the east coast we’ll have to plan a bore-o-rama film fest – with plenty of tooth picks!

  • 5 disco.charlieNo Gravatar // Jul 21, 2012 at 4:08 am

    The pics you created of the lead actress on the phone and of her and the cheese are the funniest things I have seen it such a long time! I love the work you put into every post. I agree, this movie is pretty pointless and nothing to cheer about.

  • 6 NiNiNo Gravatar // Jul 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Is it just me, or does this actress look a bit like Mick Jagger in drag? That perm and that bra are doing her no favors!

  • 7 carolNo Gravatar // Jul 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    you know, i actually wound up watching this at like 5am cause i woke up and couldn’t fall back asleep and i have to say that there are so many stupid things about this movie that i am surprised, Unk, that you were able to narrow your complaints down to the one-expression-fits-all acting technique of Robin Groves. i actually hated pretty much everyone in the movie – esp her annoying boyfriend. in fact, if i had to pick a single person in that movie that made me want to turn it off it would be him. thank god he wasn’t in it very long. the only character i liked was that chicken guy. he was so wacko he was actually kind of interesting. and there were so many stupid scenes with the “special effects” it almost felt like a scary nickelodeon tv show at times.

    and NiNi – to be honest i actually truly believe that the actress more closely (and intentionally) resembles Craig Wasson of Ghost Story fame (the fluffy dishwater blond hair anyway) – cause i swear to god The Nesting is a direct rip-off of that movie. there are so many similarities it’s actually really funny.

    i really really dug the house though. that and some of the sheer stupidity made the movie kinda worth it.

  • 8 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jul 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Haha- I thought she was kind of an unholy combination of Holland Taylor, Donna Pescow and Bonnie Franklin.

    You’re right, her boyfriend was super annoying too especially when he was trying to be funny but I almost felt bad for him because she treated him like a slave. Didn’t she tell him that she saw him as a “brother”? That should have been his cue to get lost and stop chauffeuring her around. I didn’t get her local love interest either. He was sorta like a beardless Michael gross but with no acting talent.

    The house was cool though and I wouldn’t mind living in that town. And at least John Caradine showed up.

    How bad is that roof top rescue bit staged??? Wouldn’t you rather step in a hole in a floor than climb out a third story window????

    and why did he pick the furthest window away from her to break and climb out of???

    She totally had a cup of tea after her shrink of 7 years died right in front of and because of her.

    She also looks like Mary Bradford a bit.

  • 9 carolNo Gravatar // Jul 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I know – it was IDIOTIC that she climbed out the window in the first place and then even more idiotic that the doc climbed out the window. I think if they could have figured out how to get the whole cast out there they would have. And the stupid dialogue where the doc was all “what you couldn’t wait to get your cable hooked up?” or something.

  • 10 Matt SunshineNo Gravatar // Jul 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I hated The Nesting as well…but didn’t you love the house?

  • 11 knobgobblerNo Gravatar // Jul 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I thought I’d watched this movie years ago… but I turned it on yesterday and nope. I’d certainly heard of it… but had it confused with some other ‘haunted whorehouse’ film.
    The woman didn’t bug me near as much as the awful script and generally bad performances… suggesting the director is largely at fault.
    Sad that Gloria Grahame had to go out on such a low note.

  • 12 TheMike31No Gravatar // Jul 24, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Oh man, thank you for pointing out how NOT agoraphobic she is. Had me yelling at the screen.

    Still, I kind of found myself enjoying how stupid this thing was. It’s a unique and delicate train wreck.

  • 13 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Jul 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    That house is still standing and has been all tarted up, I kind of liked it better all rat baggy..

  • 14 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Jul 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    If there was an award for best performance by a house I would nominate that one.

    I can’t believe it’s trying to be all fancy now and pretend it never played a whore house in a movie!

    Speaking of whore houses, did you know that the “Best Little whore house in Texas” House went on to play the homestead in “House of 1,0000 Corpses”?

    Now that’s acting.

  • 15 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Jul 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    The nerve of some houses! 😉

    It’s been so long since I’ve seen BLWIT I’ve forgotten what it looked like, but I sure remember House of 1,000 Corpses! Maybe houses should have their own awards, some really are characters unto themselves in movies.

  • 16 bluegrasslassNo Gravatar // Jul 30, 2012 at 6:39 am

    … and John Carradine kindly brings some ham to go with the cheese 🙂
    I seriously have to see this now 😛

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