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The Old Dark House (1963)

Approved | | Comedy, Horror, Mystery | 31 October 1963 (USA)
An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother.



(screenplay), (book)


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Complete credited cast:
Cecily Femm
Joyce Grenfell ...
Agatha Femm
Mervyn Johns ...
Potiphar Femm
Fenella Fielding ...
Morgana Femm
Caspar Femm / Jasper Femm
Danny Green ...
John Harvey ...
Club Receptionist


An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Key to Spooks, Kooks, and Coffin Nooks... where the host with the most turns into a Ghost... and you... die...LAUGHING! (movie poster) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »


Official Sites:




Release Date:

31 October 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Velha Casa Assombrada  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(original cinema release) (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although filmed with a color negative, the film was released in black-and-white. See more »


When Caspar loses at cards in the opening scene, he pushed four stacks of chips towards the old lady who won; the stacks fall over. In the next shot the croupier is pushing the now upright stacks towards the lady and one falls over. In the next shot the lady pulls four upright stacks towards her. See more »


Agatha Femm: [Knitting] I capture time and space in my stitches. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I stopped.
Tom Penderel: Happen? To you?
Agatha Femm: No, no. To the world.
See more »


Referenced in The Persuaders!: Someone Waiting (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Dead-End "William Castle" Whodunit/Comedy.
3 September 2014 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

Just like Castle's movie "Zotz!", The Old, Dark House was yet another inane farce that easily proved just how clueless this guy was at directing Comedy (more so than he was with directing Horror).

Once again (just like with "Zotz!") this less-than-funny, hare-brained story had the distinctive feel of being an imitation (a very poor imitation) of a typical Disney, family movie of the early 1960s. This film's targeted audience was that of children under 10 who obviously had very low expectations about what was entertaining and what wasn't.

This film certainly had all sorts of potential to be a really fun and humorous story for all ages. But it seemed that at the hands of such a clueless amateur like William Castle, its story just didn't come anywhere near to living up to that potential.

At every opportunity to generate some genuine laughs, Castle missed the mark, over and over again, and let its story fall flat on its face and flounder around in what seemed like a literal no-man's land of B-grade mediocrity.

I believe that The Old, Dark House was one of the few Castle films that was actually shot in colour.

This film's story is something of a "Whodunit". It involves the peculiar specifics of a family Will, the 7 eccentric relatives who all reside at Femm Hall (a grand, old, English mansion falling into ruin), and an American outsider who inadvertently gets dragged into an unpleasant family affair that goes way beyond his power of control.

One of this film's biggest downfalls was Castle's inability to build suspense, sustain drama and be humorous, all at the same time. Long before it's actually revealed, the viewer will have no trouble guessing the identity of the killer who's been bumping off all of the Femms at Femm Hall.

This is not a good movie. I don't even recommend it as entertainment for young children. Let's face it, William Castle just didn't have the knack for creating memorable Comedy.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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The Old Dark House basebosox
Mentioned by Tony Curtis in The Persuaders matthew-196
Now available On DVD in the U.K. PeterDawson
Hammer + Wm. Castle should equal a DVD release! onnanob2
The clock rhyme ReWriteMan62
On TCM Oct 20, 2009 02:30AM sam913
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