The Old Dark House Reviews
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.
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.
Worth a look as an educational piece, but I don't know how often I might come back to it.