Director: Peter Duffell
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Nyree Dawn Porter, Denholm Elliott, Jon Pertwee
Vampires! Voodoo! Vixens! Victims!
The big movie star Paul Henderson has disappeared after renting an old country house and the event is being investigated by the Scotland Yard. The investigation would explore the history of this house and the brutal history that lies within it.
The House That Dripped Blood is a British horror anthology film by the legendary production company Amicus, and stars two of the most loved genre actors in Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. The film has four different segments that all take place in this big house and they all have classic horror elements to them.
The first segment is called Method for Murder and it is about the horror author Charles Hillyer who is moving into this old house in order to get over his writer’s block that he has been struggling with lately. He is writing about an evil character that he has called Dominic and the character is starting to become more and more lively, even affecting and terrorizing the life of the author.
This segment is playing with blurring the line between reality and fiction from the mind of a creator, here from the mind of the horror author Hillyer. It is a very clever little story and works quite nicely, even providing some creepy atmosphere to the film and starts this anthology off very well.
The second episode is called Waxworks and stars the legendary Peter Cushing as Philip Grayson, a man who is haunted by a lost love after he moves into this blood dripping house. He finds a local waxwork museum where he becomes fascinated by one of the wax figures and it doesn’t take long before he finds out that there is more to this wax museum than only wax figures.
This segment is my favorite out of the four with Cushing being great in his role and the visual style being very well done and very fitting for the story, especially the dream sequence that are done superbly. It seems like I love this segment more and more for every time I watch it and it is a brilliant piece of horror on long-lost love. It is a good written piece and it is executed perfectly.
The third segment is called Sweets to the Sweet and stars another horror legend, Christopher Lee as John Reeda, new tenant of the house that moves in with his daughter Jane who he is the sole caretaker of. He gets Jane a tutor since he doesn’t want the child to go to school or in fact socialize with others at all. The tutor gets upset by the brutal way Reeda treats his child, but she will herself soon find out that there is something more to Jane than what meets the eye.
It is another beautiful shot segment and Lee is always great to watch in any horror film he enters, but it is not as satisfying as the previous segment Waxworks. Chloe Franks who plays Jane does an amazing job in delivering a creepy performance, especially considering how young she was at the time. It has a very classic feel to it and it is a nice segment, but it fails to stay with you for long after the film is over.
The fourth and final segment is called The Cloak. The horror actor Paul Henderson, played by Jon Pertwee after Vincent Price had rejected the offer to play the part, is getting annoying by his latest project and the lack of budget and effort that are being put behind it. The final straw is the terrible looking wardrobe he is offered on the film, so he goes out to find himself a more authentic cloak to use, a cloak that would turn out to also have a curse with it.
The final segment takes place appropriately on a horror movie set and it is perhaps the most comedic of the four episodes in this anthology film. It also makes fun of low budget horror films and it would maybe have been better suited to have in between two more serious segments than ending it. It is fun, but I do wish that it would have starred Vincent Price instead of Pertwee.
There is also a wraparound that quite boring to be honest and feels unneccessary. Even so, this entire movie is one of the best horror anthology films out there. It doesn’t have any bad stories and they all feel very connected to each other even if they stylistically does differ in small ways. The idea of having one director do them all was definitely a smart move on the production company and Peter Duffell really delivered here. It is sad that he didn’t do a lot more work within the horror genre considering it does show that he understands it quite well.
The House That Dripped Blood is a must have for any fans of the Amicus production company and it is definitely a film well worth owning. I appreciate it more and more for each time I see it, showing that it does hold up quite well on repeated viewing. It is very classic in the concept that it shows off, but it still works in the modern day.