HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
   
 
Newest Articles
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
   
 
  Old Dark House, The creepy, kooky, mysterious and spookyBuy this film here.
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, Comedy
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 5036 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 do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: