The Haunted House (1921)
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Critic Reviews for The Haunted House
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Audience Reviews for The Haunted House
While the typical Keaton fair we're used to, I was disappointed the titled haunted house was not well utilized at all. Too much bank shenanigans, not enough ghost nuttiness.
"The Haunted House" is 20 Minutes in length and offers a fun and crazy house that is "haunted" by various people dressed up as ghosts, a bat, skeletons, and even the devil. The film is a hilarious look into the house and Buster discovering that the ghouls within are just ordinary men and then begins to control the situation and even use the folding staircase to his advantage! The film offers all kinds of hilarious moments but ultimately pinnacles in the dream sequence near the end when he ascends the stairway to heaven only for God to deny him and pull a lever making the stairs fold down (like the previous staircase in the haunted house) and he descends down a hole and a slide into hell! It's probably the most hilarious depiction of something horrific that I have ever seen! The film is also color tinted and the inside of the house is a sepia tone and outside generally is in a blue tint adding another layer to the already impressive set pieces and editing Buster employed throughout. Make sure to look for spot on editing when the skeleton men assemble a man from pieces with glue and he subs a real man in it's place nearly seamless! This is definitely an underrated short of Keaton's but is one of the most fun!
The glue sequence goes on far too long and the brief nod to "Faust" is puzzling (foreshadowing the ending, I guess), but you won't forget the trick staircase, the man "assembled" from multiple body parts (quite a good effect for 1921) and the imagined trip to Heaven and Hell.
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