The Old Dark House - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Old Dark House Reviews

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September 5, 2017
Nice little horror gem from the classic horror period of the 30's. It's remarkable in its spooky atmosphere and outstanding cast, including Karloff, Laughton and the young Gloria Stuart. It's refreshing to watch a movie that deals with the now hackneyed type of story with such affection and care.
June 8, 2017
1931's Frankenstein Is One Of My Favorite Films.
November 15, 2016
Ten person theatrical play set in an isolated stormy gothic mansion somewhere in Wales. A young Gloria Stuart (Titanic), Charles Laughton's 1st Hollywood film, and the imposing Karloff between his famous Frankenstein and Mummy roles. The basis for countless spooky house films to come including the requisite thunder and lightning. It may be a tad basic and predictable for modern viewers only because so many aspects have been copied and become cliche, but please recall this is the original.
½ October 9, 2016
Is it just me, or is the sister the most reasonable one there? Fantastic atmosphere. Creepy story. Successfully suspenseful. Karloff is always excellent.
September 12, 2016
I have search all other dark house or ghost movies, non have the atmosphere to match this little known classic. Best watched on a cold rainy night, turn off the house lights, light a candle or two and immerse yourself into the story. You will be wonderfully surprised. Post if you find a better movie to attempt this home.
November 5, 2015
Full disclosure: I am kind of in love with Charles Laughton; can't resist his larger-than-life physicality and performing style. He and the other performers make this corny b-movie genre-jumper a fun little mystery that steadily reveals layers of silly spookiness, and just keeps the movie on this side of good.
October 30, 2015
The Old Dark House is splendidly moody, handsomely constructed, eerie, and perhaps featuring the most wickedly funny dialogue of any scary mansion movie.
October 10, 2015
"Have a potato."

Delightful time spent with entertaining eccentrics.
November 9, 2014
A solid cast fronted by Boris Karloff, along with great atmosphere and wonderful direction from the great James Whale, this is the best of the creepy old mansion films. It also is kinda funny, not because its bad, but it has intentional humor. This is, without a doubt, the best haunted house movie...and you can tell it is five minutes in, before they ever even enter the house. Definitely worth a look for all horror fans.
October 29, 2014
Delightful Universal horror classic with atmospheric sets, dynamic performances, witty dialogue and a healthy dose of black humour. Karloff is underused, but the rest of the cast shine throughout. Ernest Thesiger, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart, Raymond Massey, Lillian Bond.
October 16, 2014
Bizarre, dark and often slyly amusing, Whale's 'Old Dark House' is a minor horror gem from the genre's early sound years. Atmospheric direction, combined with surprisingly good sound work for the time and a game cast of British veterans , make for quite an old school, if theatrical, treat.
October 1, 2014
you'd have to be a real movie buff to like this tired old melodrama and i don't care who the actors were. i wasted my time watching this because of a bad rotten tomatoes review of 100%. i'd be generous to give it 20%.
August 11, 2014
The creepy is strong with this one.
½ June 18, 2014
There's good dialogue and character development in this creepy haunted house movie. The good stuff is not until the end, but this horror film's a little on the short side with not much else besides atmosphere and the stuff mentioned above.
½ June 8, 2014
Stupdily overrated on RT, this classic comedy horror has a lot going for it, but it isn't perfect my any means. The atmosphere and sinister elements are terrific, the comedy tolerable. The overstretched romance though will make the attention wander.
½ March 11, 2014
A true horror classic in the greatest sense that's only mildly hampered by its very dated script, although it does add to the films charm. Pretty much the perfect Halloween movie that after all those years is still a very creepy part of cinema history that every horror fan should watch and cherish.
½ February 25, 2014
I like talkative movie, but this is loads of chatter, it takes forever to start, the atmosphere is nowhere as good as many describes, with bits of elegance and spook but lots of lumbering shots and lousy camera angles and editing. The house doest have that much personality, and the story is inane. This is no lost classic, just a resurfaced contrived effort that gains prestige for being dusty but not in a good way. Some of the casting is bad, the lady antagonist is just frumpy and the man one is just grumpy, while boris Karloff ends up looking lost in there with not much to work with.
February 19, 2014
For me as a fan of good film this is an all out winner. It's a horror comedy from 1932 and it delivers an atmospheric menace which for the time was more than enough horror for a night out with a clever humour and charm. There isn't much to the story but it's the characters and the actors bringing them to life which raise this to all out winner. Whales direction is here and yes this film I think deserves to stand along side Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein in the horror genre, this however is not as serious and really is more of a comedy. A strange film with unforgettable performances by several of the cast.
½ January 28, 2014
(Frankenstein - Bride of Frankenstein - The Invisible Man). Starring legendary Boris Karloff, legendary Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart (Titanic 1997), Melvyn Douglas, Lilian Gold, and Eva Moore. Film was adapted by the novel called 'Benighted' by J. B. Priestley who also co-wrote the script for the movie with R. C. Sherriff and Benn W. Levy). Made on the budget of $250000 -distributed by Universal Pictures. Andrew Cohen edited the film, and Arthur Edeson was the director-of-photography. The Old Dark House was previously believed to have been lost, until it was found in the vaults at University Pictures. And it resurfaced upon the release of Titanic in late 90s (in which the star of the film 'Gloria Stuart' plays elderly role of Rose Dawson).

Film is set in post-First World War Wales (UK) - In a stormy-rainy night that blocks the way-back due to landslide Raymond, Gloria together with Douglas (war-veteran) seek refuge at a mansion. The door is opened by beard heavy looking Karloff (the butler of the house). The guests are oddly welcomed by Ernest (elderly lanky scion of the house) and Moore (an elderly deaf sister of Ernest). All three are given simple boiled potatoes in dinner, drinks, place to change soaked up clothes as well as to stable their vehicle. All of a sudden there is another knock on the door, the guests are Charles Laughton and his so-called girlfriend Lilian Bond.

There is something quite suspicious about this family members. Ernest asks Raymond to go upstairs and bring candle-stand which is too heavy for him age to ascend and bring. Raymond overhears child-like voice from an enclosed door. Morgan goes crazy having been boozed up (as alarmed previously by house-dwellers) and attacks Gloria. Later Raymond and Gloria go upstairs to find out more, where they meet 102 years old father of Moore and Ernest. Meanwhile Douglas and Lilian are romancing outside the house - as Charles helps elderly Moore shut windows of the room.

To call this movie 'horror-film' is way beyond the limit; and likewise to call this a comedy cannot serve the purpose at all. This film was James Whale's struggle to tarnish Karloff's popularity whom he thought had been receiving over-popularity in 'Frankenstein'. No scene in the movie keeps you guessing, 'what's about to happen now'. I am surprised that it has received score on RT far than it actually deserves. I am going to be spooked right away, by the sudden emergence of human-hand on stair-railing, the low-pitch voice of an oldest man on the house, or the bashing of Raymond by crazy short-heighted adult man.

One of the weakest films of James Whale.
October 2, 2013
It's not as well-known as James Whales' Frankenstein series, and that's a shame. The Old Dark House is an overall enjoyable piece of filmmaking that has both an eerie atmosphere and frequently funny dialogue as well as another memorable performance by Boris Karloff.
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