The Old Dark House

Critics Consensus

A deft blend of well-chosen ingredients, The Old Dark House is a delightfully scary horror comedy that benefits from James Whale's suspenseful direction.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 26

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,765

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Movie Info

Driving through a brutal thunderstorm in Wales, three travelers take refuge in an eerie house owned by the Femm family. Reluctantly admitted by Horace Femm (Ernest Thesiger), the three sit down to a strange dinner. Horace is neurotic; mute butler Morgan (Boris Karloff) is an alcoholic; and Horace's sister, Rebecca (Eva Moore), raves about chastity. When the storm brings in an industrialist and chorus girl Gladys DuCane Perkins (Lilian Bond), Morgan's lust and Rebecca's ire are ignited.

Cast & Crew

Charles Laughton
Sir William Porterhouse
Gloria Stuart
Margaret Waverton
Eva Moore
Rebecca Femm
Raymond Massey
Philip Waverton
Elspeth Dudgeon
Sir Roderick Femm
Benn W. Levy
Screenwriter
Arthur Edeson
Cinematographer
Clarence Kolster
Film Editor
Russell A. Gausman
Set Decoration
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News & Interviews for The Old Dark House

Critic Reviews for The Old Dark House

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for The Old Dark House

  • Jan 29, 2020
    James Whale directs this character-driven piece about travelers stranded off the beaten path in a weird old house with some serious history. It's not uninteresting, and the characters only seem outdated. Charles Laughton for instance, plays a regular businessman, and not the grotesque these works usually have him play. And the great Karloff? A grunting red herring from the moment we first see him.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2018
    The humor is irregular, the tension almost nonexistent and the characters flat as they can be (some even falling in love after having just met!), and so this is amusing enough but didn't age very well, worthy only for those delightful performances by Ernest Thesiger and Eva Moore.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2013
    Its got a hulking Boris Karloff, a shouting Charles Laughton, and a sassy Melvyn Douglas . . . what's not to like? It feels a bit rushed and perhaps there is some wasted potential but I enjoyed it all the same.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 23, 2010
    Ah yes, nothing like an old school black and white spooky mansion film. Going back to basics in other words, this is more of a character driven film, with fast and snappy dialogues, very dialogue driven indeed. Thanks to the cast of actors like Melvyn Douglas and Charles Laughton, as well as some truly great character actors, the movie doesn't really needs big spooks to keep you engaged.
    Tsubaki S Super Reviewer

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