Sunday, 5 July 2015

The House that Dripped Blood

"The House that Dripped Blood" (1971, Peter Duffell, Amicus Productions) is a British horror anthology about a cursed house which sees the strange and unusual deaths of its inhabitants. I actually watched it as part of my personal homage to the life and works of Christopher Lee upon his recent passing. But, in true Hani style, I didn't actually get around to writing up the blog post until now!

We follow Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) as he is summoned to solve the disappearance of someone in the house. He goes to the local police station where he is told several tales of the house's strange past and we are taken along for the ride.

Each short is about the house's previous inhabitants. There are 4 shorts in all.

"Method for Murder" starring Denholm Elliot, Joanna Dunham and Tom Adams is about a horror writer who begins to see his new creation stalking him. It's a nicely realised piece with some quite disturbing stealth stalking and an ending very typical of British horror shorts. But in a good way.

"Waxworks" stars the legendary Peter Cushing and Joss Ackland who are both friends who become obsessed with a local waxwork museum's prime attraction: a beautiful murderess who looks like someone they once knew. It was a little slow in the uptake, but had a lovely proper feel to it that made up for that. And who doesn't love a good severed head on a plate?

"Sweets to the sweet" stars the wonderful Christopher Lee as a widower with a young daughter (Chloe Franks) whom he treats very strictly, not even allowing her to play with dolls. The daughter's new home-school teacher (Nyree Dawn Porter) thinks that he is being very unfair and buys the girl a doll.... Big mistake. My favourite of the collection because it went a way I wasn't completely expecting. The young Chloe Franks also did a fantastic job as the creepy child.

"The Cloak" is the final short and stars Jon Pertwee as a horror movie actor/diva, who has moved into the house whilst shooting a vampire film. He sources a strange black cloak from a local antiques and oddities shop ran by Geoffrey Bayldon, only to find that the cloak has special powers. His co-star is the fabulous Ingrid Pitt.

The pieces aren't ground breaking storytelling, but they are all well made, star studded and engaging. The film holds together well as an anthology and keeps the viewer interested.

Images: Amicus Productions