Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Movie Review: "The House that Dripped Blood" (1971)

Director: Peter Duffell
Year: 1971
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Multiple stories about all of the deaths that surround a single country manor in England that may be more related than they seem.

The House that Dripped Blood 1971 movie still
"It's that house. There's something about it." (Image Source)
Despite being called "The House that Dripped Blood," you'll be lucky to find a single drop of blood anywhere in this PG-rated horror film. This is a British anthology horror directed by Peter Duffell, who despite having a few features to his credit is much better known as a television director. The screenplay is written by Robert Bloch, who is best known for being the writer of the novel "Psycho." Being an anthology, this movie is comprised of four short films revolving around a single house in the English countryside. The framework story focuses on Inspector Halloway (John Bennett) of Scotland Yard, who is investigating the disappearance of actor Paul Henderson (Jon Pertwee). Halloway contacts the real estate agent who rented Henderson his home. This agent tells the inspector the stories of the previous tenants, including horror writer Charles Hillyer (Denholm Elliott), retired stockbroker Philip Grayson (Peter Cushing), and wealthy widower John Reid (Christoper Lee), all of whom came to an unfortunate end supposedly at the hands of this house. The fourth and final story is the reveal of what happened to missing actor Paul Henderson.
The House that Dripped Blood 1971 movie still Peter Cushing
"That's what's wrong with your present-day horror films. There's no realism." (Image Source)
Just because something tragic happens to everyone who moves into a house doesn't mean it's the house's fault! It wasn't really doing anything, it was just sitting there, and everyone who inhabits it seems to come into the place with a lot of baggage in their lives. Since this is an anthology, the film as a whole is propped up by its best short while it is dragged down by its weakest entry. Each story focuses on a different horror subgenre, including psychological, slasher, supernatural, and even dark comedy. Next, we have to look at how well the framework narrative ties all these individual stories together. Unfortunately, the framework itself isn't all that interesting. The idea that this house is evil is a bit of a stretch considering a couple of characters meet their end in town, not in the house. Each of the stories is interesting in its own way, but the best by far is the opening segment about horror writer Charles Hillyer. This short film plays with our concept of reality and has some intriguing twists and turns in its short runtime. This movie has performances from a lot of great actors, including Peter Cushing and horror legend Christopher Lee, all of whom do great things with what they are given. There is no blood or gore, and it only a little bit of violence as this old-school horror is more about telling stories of the macabre surrounded by death and the unnatural rather than trying to unsettle or shock the audience with graphic imagery. Being that it is so mild, even those with the weakest stomachs who live in fear of the horror genre will easily be able to handle what this film has to offer.
The House that Dripped Blood 1971 movie still
"Sometimes I wonder where you get your ideas." (Image Source)
"The House that Dripped Blood" will be perfect for people who love more moody classics. Those who prefer graphic, blood-infested modern horror films need not apply. This movie is a bit dated, but it does still have some compelling stories to be told.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
RT Rating: 82%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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