12 user 18 critic

House of the Living Dead (1974)

On a South African plantation, a maniac is on the loose, first killing the estate's animals, then starting on the human members.



(screenplay) (as Marc de V. Marais), (original story)

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A kid is hypnotized by a scientist to kill his parents and ends in a mental institution. As a grown up he returns to seek revenge over the scientist.

Director: David Blyth
Stars: Michael Hurst, Margaret Umbers, William Upjohn


Cast overview:
Mark Burns ...
Sir Michael Brattling / Dr. Breckinridge Brattling
Mary Anne Carew
David Oxley ...
Dr. Collinson
Margaret Inglis ...
Lady Brattling
Dia Sydow ...
Lynne Maree ...
Bill Flynn ...
Nobby Clark ...
Capt. Turner (as William Baird Clark)
Ronald France ...
Col. Pringle
Don Furnival ...
Pieter Geldenhuys ...
Shoemaker (as Peter Geldenhuys)
Ben Dekker ...
Limpie Basson ...
Hugo de Groot
Amina Gool ...
Aia Kat


A mad scientist (Mark Burns) is conducting hideous occult experiments at the family estate of Brattling Manor, monkeying about with things man was not meant to know, including the transfer and containment of living souls. It's only a matter of time before he begins to experiment on the souls of human beings - including his own family. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What monstrous evil lurks...and feeds...and kills...in the attic of the...HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD See more »




PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

12 August 1974 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

Curse of the Dead  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Was shot under the title "Shadows over Bridge Place", but later released as "House of the Living Dead" and "Curse of the Dead" to cash in on the then-popular zombie movies, even though there are no zombies in the movie whatsoever. See more »


Referenced in Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

A rare African made horror movie that's not as bad as its rating would suggest
12 October 2016 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

As I watched this one I felt something was odd about it. While the cast seemed to all be English, the terrain and deep blue sky seemed somewhat foreign, so I was interested to learn afterwards that this is a South African production. It's a pretty rare thing to find a horror movie from that country, and this was probably the most interesting thing about this one. It's another costume horror, of which there were many back at the time this was released. Set in the 19th century, it centres on a young woman who travels to the plantation home of her fiancé, whose family has a grim history. The mother tries to encourage her to leave, while the other brother is an unseen lunatic in the attic. As is so often the way, a series of murders start happening. But are they a result of voodoo? Is it mad science at work? Or is this the work of…a horse!? All, is eventually revealed.

The combination of a hokey mad scientist plot-line with traditional voodoo is slightly unusual. As is the way that animals are sometimes presented, with a major character being what can only be described as a so-called devil horse which the locals actually believe could be roaming around in the dead of night committing all the killings. The science bit is covered by the not entirely interesting idea of human soul transferal. So the story has quite a few disparate ideas kicking about and there is undoubtedly some potential in the set-up but the presentation is often quite meandering and uneventful. But it's overall actually not bad really, as there is some atmosphere generated in some of the night scenes depicting strange goings on and there is a quite well executed chase scene involving a hooded villain too. The South African setting adds something new as well which definitely elevates the material by itself. As I say, it doesn't always maximise its ideas and it is a bit messy but it does also have a lively ending to round things off. All things considered, despite a few faults, this one is definitely better than its reputation would suggest.

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