HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Breeder
Stump the Guesser
Sator
Last Warning, The
PVT CHAT
Ascent, The
Clementine
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Beginning
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
   
 
  Old Dark House, The creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky
Year: 1963
Director: William Castle
Stars: Tom Poston, Robert Morley, Janette Scott, Joyce Grenfell, Mervyn Johns, Peter Bull, Fenella Fielding, Danny Green, John Harvey, Amy Dalby
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: American car salesman, Tom Penderel (Tom Poston) visits England to deliver a new automobile for creepy Casper Femm (Peter Bull), and is lured back to spooky Femm Hall where he finds his friend stretched out in the parlour. Dead, under suspicious circumstances. Poor Tom finds himself stuck in the old, dark house with the eccentric, sinister Femm family, although pretty cousin Cecily (Janette Scott) makes a bad situation bearable. A strange quirk of fate suggests Tom might be a long-lost heir to the Femm family fortune, which only scares him more once someone starts bumping them off, one by one.

A co-production between Hammer Films and legendary gimmick-horror auteur William Castle (The Tingler (1959), 13 Ghosts (1960), The House on Haunted Hill (1958)), this ought to be something special but never really catches fire until the last five minutes. It was based a J.B. Priestley play, previously adapted by James Whale in his 1932 classic of the same name. Castle takes a more cartoon-like approach, evident from the wonderful animated credits by Charles Addams (watch out for the hairy paw that signs his name!) and Benjamin Frankel’s ooky-kooky score.

At heart it concerns an easygoing Yank befuddled by English eccentricity, a strain that would eventually mutate into darker, more cynical films like An American Werewolf in London (1981). Tom Poston, also in Castle’s strange fantasy Zotz! (1962), is initially affable as the part-James Stewart/part-Don Knotts hero (“I’m not strange, I’m American”), but grows blander as the story grinds through too many mistimed gags and pointless chases with homicidal mute, Morgan Femm (Danny Green). Janette Scott on the other hand, is very winning in a tricky role that springs a typical, William Castle twist.

Much like Terence Fisher’s The Horror of It All (1964), this strains to be kooky and strange, but its self-conscious spoofery can’t match the black humour and genuine creepiness Whale brought to the material. What it does have going for it is a great cast of British comedy icons: Robert Morley as gun-crazy Roderick Femm; dear Joyce Grenfell as dotty, knitting enthusiast Agatha Femm; glassy-eyed Peter Bull as Casper; Mervyn Johns as Petiphar Femm, who keeps an animal-laden ark in his backyard and believes the end is nigh; and the sublime Fenella Fielding as sultry Morgana Femm - introduced with a camera zoom onto her bosom. If Castle had used 3-D you’d lose an eye. Things pick up in the latter stages, with some surreal gags (our hero imagines a seal has Morgana’s face) and a spirited finale where Tom races to disable a series of bombs. Fielding went on to expand her comedy vamp persona in Carry On Screaming (1966), a movie that beats this version of The Old Dark House at its own game - and I say that as a lifelong Carry On hater.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 5891 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: