Monday, 16 July 2012

Horror Review: The House That Dripped Blood (1971)



A Scotland Yard investigator looks into four mysterious cases involving an unoccupied house and discovers a disturbing secret.

Ah the good old fashioned Horror anthology films. I will always have a soft spot for this genre of films. With this British classic we are given 4 stories. Segment 1 "Method for Murder", Segment 2 "Waxworks", Segment 3 "Sweets to the Sweet" and Segment 4 "The Cloak"




With Segment 1 "Method for Murder" we're introduced to Horror writer Charles Hillyer and his wife. Whilst working on his new book he starts seeing visions of the character he is writing about, unfortunately for him it's the maniac killer and he thinks he's going insane. This story is nothing fresh but with twists and turns it's a delight to watch

Segment 2 "Waxworks" introduces us to loner Philip Grayson, upon visiting a Horror waxworks he sees a familiar face and is transfixed by it. When Grayson gets a visit from an old friend, Neville Rogers, and he becomes obsessed with the same waxwork they're friendship strains. This was my least favourite segment of the film, it had a-lot of potential but the plot is just too weak, unfortunately that can become a problem with anthology films.



Segment 3 "Sweets to the Sweet" introduces us to a Father and Daughter who for some reason are looking for somewhere secluded and away from society. John Reid is a very strict father who refuses to let his daughter leave the house and hires a teacher/nanny to care for his child. With weird events happening the truth finally surfaces to a great plot reveal. This segment is easily my favourite of the film.

We finish off with Segment 4 "The Cloak" the more comedic of the bunch. We're introduced to veteran Horror actor Jon Pertwee and Carla Lind who are on location shooting a new Dracula film. Pertwee is unimpressed by the whole films set up. He decides he will buy his own cape and that's where it all goes wrong. Like I said this segment is more comedic value but it works so well and ends the film on a high note.



With a cast full of Horror royalty such as Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Ingrid Pitt, Denholm Elliott and more you can't go wrong. The film is highly entertaining and is packed with suspense and twists. If you enjoy your old school Horror, especially Hammer Horror, then I fully recommend this film.

If you want to see "The House That Dripped Blood" trailer then just click on the video below:



Miscellaneous facts about the film:

This was the first feature film credit for British television director Peter Duffell.

Vincent Price was first offered the part of Paul Henderson.

In the "Waxworks" segment one of the figures Peter Cushing passes (several times) is of Christopher Lee as Dracula.

Horror movie star Paul Henderson (Jon Pertwee) says he misses the "old, great" horror movies, and mentions "Dracula". He then adds: "the one with Bela Lugosi of course, not this new fellow", obviously referring to Christopher Lee, who's also in the film.

Peter Cushing tried to get out of his contract so that he was not away from his sick wife, but he had to carry on.

On the films initial UK release, the British censor wanted to give it an A rating (equivalent to PG) because its lack of gore. Fearing that this would harm box-office returns, the distributors asked for it to be re-rated X or they wouldn't release it. The censor concurred.

Originally director Peter Duffell wanted to have the title "Death And The Maiden" but producer Milton Subotsky decided finally for the title "The House That Dripped Blood"

After his first frightening encounter while wearing the cloak, Paul Henderson reads several books on the subject of vampires. The one he is first holding is "The Vampire: His Kith and Kin" by Montague Summers. The back cover lists some of Summers' other works, including: "The Werewolf", "The Vampire in Europe", and the mis-named "The History of Witches" - the true title is "The History of Witchcraft", which means this may have been a "dummy book". Other titles seen on his desk are "The Haunted Screen" by Lee Kovacs and "Essentials of Demonology" by Edward Langston.

The cast for this film includes Jon Pertwee, who was the 3rd actor to play the title role in Doctor Who on television, Peter Cushing, who played Doctor Who in two movies, Joanna Lumley, who played a female version of The Doctor in a special episode made by the BBC for charity, and Geoffrey Bayldon, who was twice offered the role, and who later played The Doctor in two audio dramas.

In one sequence, Christopher Lee is seen reading a book. Due to budget constraints, he was asked to bring one from his own library and brought 'The Lord of the Rings', Peter Jackson's movie adaptation of which he would later star in.

The character of Charles Hillyer is said to a young man but 'Denholm Elliot' was 47 when he filmed the role.

Top billed Christopher Lee turns up over 50 minutes into the film.

Despite an "also starring" billing Tom Adams only speaks 7 times.

Among the photographs in the frame of Paul Henderson's mirror is one of Jon Pertwee driving "Bessie," the car he drove as the Doctor in Doctor Who. When Pertwee made this film, he was still playing the Doctor.

The Haunted Screen, Lotte Eisner's 1974 tome on German Expressionist horror films, pops up prominently as a prop twice during the film, in both the first story (Method for Murder) and the last (The Cloak).

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