Seeking shelter from a pounding rainstorm in a remote region of Wales, several travellers are admitted to a gloomy, foreboding mansion belonging to the extremely strange Femm family. Trying to make the best of it, the guests must deal with their sepulchral host, Horace Femm and his obsessive, malevolent sister Rebecca. Things get worse as the brutish manservant Morgan gets drunk, runs amuck and releases the long pent-up brother Saul, a psychotic pyromaniac who gleefully tries to destroy the residence by setting it on fire. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After the introductory credits there is a 'producer's note' (but it comes before EVERYTHING, including the studio logo, on the version shown by Turner Classic Movies): 'Karloff, the mad butler in this production, is the same Karloff who created the part of the mechanical monster in "Frankenstein". We explain this to settle all disputes in advance, even though such disputes are a tribute to his great versatility.' See more »
First one carload of normal people who can't go on due to flash flooding stop in a Gothic horror house for food and shelter and then another. Strange doings are happening at the house occupied by the Femm family and their mute servant Morgan.
You can't really say there is any kind of coherent plot to the unfolding events and plot for me is usually the one indispensable part of any film. But in this case I make an exception because obviously Director James Whale was having a little fun with the audience by now used to Universal Studios horror film products. Whale creates a film of dark moods and light banter among the guests who can't quite figure out what's with this family of weirdos.
The Old Dark House marked the American film debut of Charles Laughton and Laughton overacts outrageously as does the whole cast in the role a bluff, overbearing, but essentially good hearted Manchester businessman who's got himself a Sir before his name and is right proud of it. This was also early work for Melvyn Douglas and Raymond Massey as another two of the guests.
Boris Karloff plays the sinister and mute servant Morgan. Karloff had one of the great speaking voices ever in films and interesting that this and his break through role as the Frankenstein monster required no dialog.
The Old Dark House is one great Halloween movie and listen close to the campy dialog that will tickle your funny bone if you don't miss it.
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