Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The House That Dripped Blood

The House That Dripped Blood 1971
Director: Stephen Duffell
Writer: Robert Bloch
Starring John Bennett, John Bryans, John Malcolm, Denholm Elliot, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Joss Ackland , Jon Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt

This film is one that brings back fond memories. I believe it was the first anthology film I ever saw. It has a great framework for a horror anthology and some very memorable stories. That credit really goes to the great work that Robert Bloch wrote, one of my favorite writers. The cast is above complaints too, with great genre stalwarts like Lee, Cushing and Pitt. The film captivates you from the beginning and doesn't let go until the frightening finale. This was the first in a series of Anthology films that Bloch wrote, like The Uncanny and Asylum. I really enjoy those, but this is by far the best of the bunch.
The plot basics are this, A famous actor has disappeared after renting a house and a police inspector (Bennett) is investigating his disappearance. He talks to the realtor of the house, Stoker (Bryans), who begins to tell him about what has happened to previous tenants of the house. First he recalls the story of a writer (Elliot) who's imagination seems to give life to a murderous strangler. Next up, a retired business man (Cushing) who discovers a wax museum with a deadly secret. Next is a widower (Lee) and his daughter, he does not let his daughter any outside human contact. Which at first seems strange until the girl's nanny and teacher discovers how evil the girl really is. Finally. he recounts what happens with the actor (Pertwee) who last rented the house and he buys a cloak that seems to have supernatural powers. This leads to the inspector going into the house and discovering how real everything Stoker has sad really is.
This is really a great anthology film and is my favorite after Creepshow. The direction by Duffell is very good and it really has a E.C. Comics feel to it. It has a wry sense of humor to it and many characters seem to get what is coming to them. Bloch's script is very tight, the stories only go on as long as needed with no padding in the film at all. The suspense and terror in the film gets palatable with every story. My personal favorite scene is when Cushing is getting chased by a axe wielding maniac, your fists tighten up as you experience his dilemma. The cast is great, with genre stalwarts like Lee and Cushing, but it also has some great performances by Ackland and the lovely Pitt. There isn't much use for SFX or makeup effects in the film, but what there is of it is handled very well. I highly recommend this film to fans of the horror anthology film, you will not be disappointed.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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