Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Old Dark House (Sony Choice Collection): Laughter in the Haunted House

The Old Dark House isn't what I think of when someone mentions William Castle. It doesn't rely on super shock to get the blood flowing, but rather, laughter. Hell, maybe that's the gimmick. Let's throw them completely off guard and make 'em laugh instead of scream and then throw in some suspense with a somewhat macabre back drop to keep it from being a true comedy. It's not my favorite William Castle picture as that's reserved for his work with Vincent Price, but it makes me laugh, keeps me watching and entertained.

Synsops from Sony:

Tom Penderel (Tom Poston, TV’s “Newhart”), an American car salesman living in London, is invited to spend the weekend at the Femm Estate. The Femms, trapped in the house due to an ancestor’s will, live in fear as they are taken out one at a time. Tom is left to figure out who the killer is before he becomes a victim himself!


This release is bare bones. The quality is fine, but it's a DVD-R copy, printed on demand and may not play in all players. It feels overpriced and it may not be collectible because of the burning process.

It is a great movie worth seeing and enjoying with some light creepy moments and a few good laughs. Think of a little camp, a little slapstick, some puns and a few folks who seem to be brimming with stereotype based humor that execute as only actors from the 60's can.

The Old Dark House is a remake of the a movie made in 1932 featuring James Whale in the director's seat and Boris Karloff in front of the Lens. It could never keep up with that duo, but it's successful in that it is a completely different picture. Do yourself a favor and don't compare the two movies. Remember that it's a William Castle picture, and that there's always something to enjoy in a Castle movie. Poston is quite good in the lead playing the straight man and the supporting cast will make you feel as if you're off your damn rocker.

You can pick it up now.


1 comment:

  1. I actually watched this back-to-back with James Whale's 1933 original and was struck just how different filmic comedy was then. While I agree that his Price collabs were better, I actually like Strait-Jacket best for it's batshittery.