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The House that Dripped Blood

UK 1971
produced by
Max J. Rosenberg & Milton Subotsky for Amicus
directed by Peter Duffell
starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Jon Pertwee, Denholm Elliott, Ingrid Pitt, John Bennett, John Bryans, John Malcolm, Joanna Dunham, Robert Lang, Tom Adams, Joss Ackland, Wolfe Morris, Chloe Franks, Nyree Dawn Porter, Geoffrey Bayldon
written by Robert Bloch

Amicus omnibus movies

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Inspector Halloway (John Bennett) is less than pleased when he has to look for a filmstar gone missing, thinking it to be just some publicity stunt at his expense, but both the local constale (John Malcolm) & the owner (John Bryans) of the house the filmstar lived in tell him rather spooky stories about past tenants of the house that might lead the investigations towards something more sinister ...

  • First it's the story of writer Charles (Denholm Elliott), who rents the house to be inspired for his horror novel, & soon enough he comes up with al plot about a strangling madman that will make him millions ... or so he thinks. Soon though the madman, Dominic, becomes real (& is played by Tom Adams), appearing to him ever so often. His wife Alice (Joanna Dunham) cannot see a thing though when he claims to spot Dominic again, & soon she persuades Charles to visit a psychiatrist (Robert Lang) ... & it seems high time too, since soon Charles sees Dominic strangling his wife ... but she convinces him it was Charles himself, & there is no Dominic. When Charles soon visits his psychiatrist again though, the psychiatrist is strangled by Dominic, & then ...

    Dominic & Alice turn out to be malicious lovers who want to drive Charles mad to live from his royalties while he's in the loonie bin ... thing is, Elliott is really mad & he has thrown a spanner into the works & strangled Charles as well ... & he has grown rather fond of strangling, so he strangles Alice too ...

  • The next tenant of the house is elderly Philip Grayson (Peter Cushing), who all of his life couldn't come over the loss of his lover, & he's more than a bit surprised to find a figure of her in the local wax museum ... a figure modelled after the wax museum's proprietor's (Wolfe Morris) wife, the man assres Philip, a murderess.

    Days later, Philip's friend Neville comes for a visit, a rival over the affections of Philip's above mentioned lost love, but the 2 reconcile ... until Neville insists on visiting the wax museum as well ... & becomes totally obsessed by the figure ... so much so that he is unable to leave the village despite other plans  But eventually the wax museum's proprietor grows jealous & decapitates Neville ... to the horror of Philip, who days later finds his friend's head having become part of the museum. But the proprietor is still not content & decapitates Philip as well.

    As it turns out the figure in the museum is actually the corpse of the proprietor's wife covered in wax, & he has once killed her in a fit of jealousy ... but her death hasn't kept him from remaining jealousy incarnate ...

  • The next tenant, John Reid (Christopher Lee) has hired a nanny, Ann (Nyree Dawn Porter) for his daughter Jane (Chloe Franks), a lovely young child whom her father hasn't allowed to play with toys or other children, & he seems to be terribly afraid of her. The nanny finds that more than a little disturbing, until she has to realize Jane practices witchcraft, & in the end kills her father by thrwoing his voodoo-doll into the fire.

  • The last tenant was above mentioned moviestar, Henderson (Jon Pertwee), who, relegated to play in cheap horror-movies, does not hesitate to articulate his dismay about the situation, so much so that he refuses to wear a cloak the studio has provided for his role as a vampire, & goes to buy an authentic cloak from antique store owner Hartmann (Geoffrey Bayldon) - so authentic is the cape indeed that it turns Henderson into a vampire when wearing it, & at one instant he bites his co-star in the movie, Carla (Ingrid Pitt). But when he wants to make up to her & invites her to dinner, he has to realize she really is a vampire, wanting to add him to the bloodsuckers' ranks - with success of course.

Back in the here & now ... inspector Halloway naturally believes none of the stories & goes to the house to look for Henderson ... & finds him & Carla in coffins in the basement, both vampires of course, & they bite him to death.

 

Somehow you cannot help but like these Amicus omnibus movies, all collections of short stories, each with a punchline at the end, & the framing story, which seems rather unimportant in the beginning, has its own punchline in the end too (more often than not one of the characters of the framing stories turns out to be Death himself, about to deliver the others to purgatory). & even if in this case the stories have rather little to do with its framing device (the house that dripped blood), so much so that it doesn't even play a significant role in the second story (the one about the wax museum ... which is not the house in question), & the punchlines are either predictable or unsatisfying, the film is still likeable, thanks to great performances of all of the lead actors, a genuine predilection for the macabre, & a sense for good old(-fashioned) horror-atmosphere.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD