The House That Dripped Blood (1971): A Retrospective

Discussion in 'THE AIGBURTH ARMS' started by hubbard, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. hubbard

    hubbard Deck Sergeant

    Messages:
    2,013
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    I don't really like the title of this movie seeing as its not really accurate and sounds kinda daft. The house is the centre point of the movie as its where everything happens, hence the dripping blood part. But the movie is relatively tame with little to no blood, hardly dripping. To top that one of the stories doesn't even take place within the house. I prefer the original title of 'Death and the Maiden'.

    The premise here is very simple (and much the same as all other anthology movies). The main plot bookends four individual little tales which all fit into or make up the main plot. In this case police Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) is on a case to investigate the disappearance of a famous movie star. The Inspector is pointed in the direction of an old house where the movie star was last seen. Upon meeting with the local estate agent the Inspector is told all about the previous tenants leading up to the movie star.

    The first story is about a horror writer (Denholm Elliot) moving into the house with his wife, mainly to help his creative writing. The writer soon finds himself haunted by the very character he created within his current book, or does he? Its this first story that introduces us to the creepy old house and bottom line, its perfect. Both the exterior and interior are exactly what you might think of when it comes to an old creaking British spook house. There are gargoyles on the buildings exterior, old fashioned stained glass windows, and much of the interior is solid wood paneling with all the gothic/Victorian style trimmings you might expect to see in a period house. Its these visuals which help this initial story greatly because to be frank its pretty weak. Sure it offers a nice twist on twist at the end but the makeup on the murderous villain is laughable which really doesn't help.

    [​IMG]

    Up next we see Peter Cushing as a retired stock broker moving into the old house merely to spend his days relaxing and enjoying life. One day he wanders off down to the high street (of an unknown location) and stumbles across a horror waxworks. Curious he ventures inside and eventually comes across a mysterious female figure that seems to bewitch him. Later an old friend (Joss Ackland) visits who also ends up going to the waxworks and also becomes bewitched.

    This little tale is also pretty weak in my opinion as it offers no real explanation for anything. We don't find out anything about Cushing's character of his friend (Ackland) other than they are old friends who seemingly fell for the same woman and both lost her. The wax figure reminds both of them of said woman whilst at the same time seemingly hypnotising them. Of course the wax figure turns out to actually be the woman they both loved, the owner of the waxworks killed and mummified her in wax cos he fancied her too (its a small world). Naturally all this is a bit silly because of course you'd never be able to conceal a body like that for obvious decomposition issues. And the fact the waxwork owner then displays the heads of both men (yup he kills them both) in his display kinda seems like shooting yourself in the foot really doesn't it (I think people would notice). I think we are led to believe this guy does this a lot to various people...because they fall in love with the wax mummified dead body of this woman? If you say so.

    The third story is easily the best and surrounds a little girl called Jane (Chloe Franks), her father (Christopher Lee), and the hired nanny (Nyree Dawn Porter). Hired help Ann is concerned with the cold attitude John Reid has towards his daughter. He's not physically abusive, just cold and heartless, he doesn't seem to love her; he also speaks badly of his late wife. Of course little Jane is not your average little girl, she's a witch, as was her mother.

    [​IMG]

    This segment is not exactly original or particularly hard to fathom but its certainly the most eerie and more cinematic of the stories. You could easily have seen this being made into a full length movie as the whole demonic child angle is a popular one. Little Chloe is highly adorable throughout which makes it even more chilling because you struggle to think how she could ever be evil. Lee is doing his usual stoic faced thing and comes across very well as a stern father, whilst Porter is very good as the confused nanny. This story works on many levels but mainly because it made me wanna know more about what happened before with the mother and what happened going forward with Jane.

    The last segment surrounds a flamboyant and arrogant actor (Jon Pertwee) who moves into the old house whilst filming his latest horror movie. Not happy with the current state of the movie and his costume he goes to an old mysterious antique shop which sells various creepy artifacts and knick-knacks. There he picks up a black cloak for his latest vampiric role. Everything is fine and normal until he realises the cloak actually gives him real vampiric powers when he puts it on.

    This by far the most goofy and more comedic of the four short stories. You can see how this could well have influenced many silly 80's horror comedies with its ideas and visuals. The highlight is easily Pertwee who really enjoys himself hamming it up with all manner of rubbery facial expressions and over the top vampire hijinks. Lets not forget about the owner of the old spooky shop played by Geoffrey Bayldon who fights Pertwee all the way with his own over the top goofiness. This doesn't really offer anything you haven't seen before. By today's standards its a pretty stereotypical vampire offering on all fronts, but its that good old fashioned quirky charm that grabs you.

    [​IMG]

    On the whole this is most definitely one of the most iconic anthology films I've seen. Its well known, the title is outrageously and hilariously overblown, and of course the cast is stellar. I wouldn't say its one of the best anthologies though, its split down the middle for me. The first story is acceptable, the second is kinda weak, the third is the best, and the fourth is fun in a daft way. On the whole everything looks good with (as said) the house being a great setting for all the tales. The costumes are gorgeous, the acting is solid, and the makeup and effects...well they vary a bit as expected.

    But for me this movie really seemed to highlight the actors and what they were best known for. Here Cushing looks exactly as you remember him, as you'll always picture him. Extremely debonair and dapper with the classic red smoking jacket with elegant neck scarf whilst sitting in an old classical hardback chair. On the other hand you then have Christopher Lee marching his lean 6ft plus frame around with widows peak combed and perfectly presented. He constantly looks like he's about to lose it and smack someone, of simply bite their neck. As for Pertwee, well here he just comes across as Dr Who in a cape, but that's just fine.

    So overall I'd say thoroughly recommended if you're into these old horror films. Obviously they won't be everyone's cup of tea with the limited visuals (of the time) and dare I say (admittedly) corny stories. But with things like this its all about the charm of it all really, the quaintness and enchantment if I can use that term. Not the best but definitely enjoyable for a cozy night in when its cold outside.

    7/10

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

    Messages:
    14,680
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2001
    When I read the title, I would have bet my life savings on the fact that this was a Neil Old thread.
     
    Cloud likes this.
  3. Cloud

    Cloud Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    6,044
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2002
    Location:
    Death Valley
    Me too! I came in just to tell @neilold he was terrible and was confused when it wasnt him
     
  4. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    8,403
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    above you all in cheshire
    Nice review Hubbs. You always review movies well. Much better than I do.

    Personally I like the film, it's being a long time since I saw it mind. I love anthology horrors, as I've mentioned many times, especially the creepshow movies. However my favourite of all is the Zuni fetish doll story in the trilogy of terror. Just because it is SO insane, funny, and makes such a terrific noise
     
    hubbard likes this.
  5. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    8,403
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    above you all in cheshire
    Serves you right cloud!!!!!
     
  6. Nikki the Great

    Nikki the Great Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    5,962
    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Seeing as you didn't quote, tag or capitalise, your post just looks like this:
    [​IMG]
     
    Asclepius, Simonr1978 and Cloud like this.
  7. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    8,403
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    above you all in cheshire
    Serves him right to.
     
  8. Nikki the Great

    Nikki the Great Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    5,962
    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Serves who right to what?
     
  9. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    8,403
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    above you all in cheshire
    Serves Abe Simpson right for letting clouds get to him
     
  10. Underdunn

    Underdunn Deck Sergeant

    Messages:
    1,075
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2016
    *content vanishes mysteriously*
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
    Nikki the Great likes this.
  11. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

    Messages:
    14,680
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2001
    I'd prefer a house that drips Pepsi.
     
  12. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    8,403
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    above you all in cheshire
    Bluey is your favourite video game, and video game character, pepsiman??? I'm surprised he's not your avatar actually
     
  13. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

    Messages:
    14,680
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2001
    Until you mentioned it, I'd never in my whole life heard of any character named Pepsiman, Neil. I don't know how, but the character has managed to completely pass me by.
     
  14. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    8,403
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    above you all in cheshire
    Well it's the character you were born to be, and I'm genuinely amazed you didn't know, nay obsess over him :-):-)
    I think the game music is just begging to be your theme tune and pepsiman with a bin over his head your avatar
     
  15. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    8,403
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    above you all in cheshire
  16. Bluey

    Bluey Science Officer

    Messages:
    14,680
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2001
    I'm unimpressed by those graphics.
     
  17. neilold

    neilold Flight Co-Ordinator

    Messages:
    8,403
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Location:
    above you all in cheshire
    Well you'd expect to be really.
     

Share This Page