The Old Dark House

The Old Dark House

DVD - 1999
Average Rating:
5
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A group of travelers on a mountain road in Wales, overtaken by a thunderstorm and torrential rains, seek shelter in a mysterious old mansion. It is full of eerie characters and uncanny happenings.

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biffblack
Mar 15, 2018

The worthless hack "reviewer" who calls himself (or herself?) Nursebob appraises movies like a cadaver from The Sixth Sense: he sees what he wants to see. And there's absolutely NOTHING on view in the utterly dismal Old Dark House -- beyond the projections of an attitudinizing careerist. Universal Pictures evidently spent half-pennies on production values. The movie looks and sounds like utter crap. It is painfully LOW-BUDGET. In no way does ODH resemble any other Universal cheapie horror pic or any other James Whale movie. If ODH weren't so persuasively acted, it would be only a water-logged exploitation picture. Old Dark House fails at being camp: it is too primitive and amateurish to be anything beyond a lackluster curiosity that will NEVER improve with age. It STINKS. (There, I've said it...)

h
hesselugano
Dec 01, 2017

I only borrowed this film because it had Melvyn Douglas and Charles Laughton in it. What a silly movie! It was neither creepy nor suspenseful - just tedious. Fortunately I have never watched any of James Whale's other directing efforts.

k
Kagamusha
Jul 19, 2016

AbFab! James Whale is a God among Monsters.

l
lydiag22
Feb 22, 2016

nursebob, you should give up your day job and become a movie reviewer. Your comment(see below) on 'The old dark house' was well-written and made me eager to watch it again with a new eye. Thank you for that!

n
Nursebob
Jan 31, 2015

It’s a dark and stormy night on the Welsh moors as squabbling couple Phillip and Margaret, along with their friend Roger, seek refuge in a gloomy old manor. Here they come face to face with the appropriately eccentric Femm family: dour bible-quoting Rebecca, her swishy and cadaverous brother Horace, the oddly asexual patriarch Sir Roderick, and Morgan the brutish handyman (Boris Karloff looking like a cross between Frankenstein’s monster and the wolfman). As the storm worsens two more travellers come knocking at the door: loudmouthed capitalist Sir William and his animated gal pal Gladys. Settling in for the night the stranded visitors try to establish an uneasy rapport with their creepy hosts, but sinister things are afoot. It seems the Femm family are having a rather difficult time keeping their skeletons in the closet and it isn’t long before all hell breaks loose... James Whale’s short film is a masterpiece of characterization and atmosphere. He’s created the quintessential “haunted” house replete with shadowy stone corridors, banging shutters and endless flights of creaking stairs; but beneath the gothic trappings there lurks a darkly comic, and decidedly queer, psychodrama. Pitting Rebecca’s repressed sexuality, Horace’s nelly hysterics and Morgan’s animal carnality against one another, Whale finds ample opportunity to revel in some brilliantly bitchy dialogue while using his five reluctant houseguests as anchors to keep the film from flying off into pure camp. Lastly, Arthur Edeson’s amazing cinematography makes the most of wind, rain, and flickering candles. Whether he’s filming a backseat seduction or a menacing monologue reflected in a warped mirror, his keen eye and sense of style gives the movie an unexpected contemporary feel. Remarkable!

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