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The Legend of Hell House
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Legend of Hell House More at IMDbPro »

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64 out of 78 people found the following review useful:

It's the Mount Everest of haunted houses...

Author: mister_pig from Cincinnati, Ohio
17 June 2003

You've just got to love this 70's classic. It has everything a haunted house tale should have. Unlike most of the haunted house tales, this one manages to keep things a little bit more believable. The time and date stamps are particularly effective here.

All the players do a great job with their roles, especially Roddy McDowall. I love Mrs. Barrett's erotic fixations. Unfortunately, they'll probably get the bright idea of remaking this into a horrible piece of crap.

This movie relies mostly on atmosphere, not on gore or other special effects. If thats what you are looking for, you'd better try somewhere else.

9 out of 10

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48 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

First rate haunted house movie

Author: Bjorn (ODDBear) from Iceland
30 November 2005

Haunted house movies generally don't deliver the goods. There are a few exceptions; the original The Haunting (1963) is the best example. That was a truly terrifying film. The Legend of Hell House is one these exceptions 'cause it really serves up some decent scares and maintains a very creepy atmosphere throughout.

The plot is similar to The Haunting. Various people spend time in a supposedly haunted house, each of them with different background and experience, one of whom has already spent time there and was the only one to come out alive. Needless to say the house is indeed very haunted and pretty soon these people are fighting for their lives.

Featuring excellent performances by all, first rate direction and production values, a solid script; The Legend of Hell House is really a first rate horror film in most respects.

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38 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

No Chicken Exits

Author: sampleman411-1 from Los Angeles, California
27 February 2002

Under-rated, unduly over-shadowed, and quite rightly the most notoriously scary and deadly place (billed by American author, Richard Matheson, as "The Mt. Everest of all Haunted Houses" in his novel on which this British interpretation is based). The Author, in his attempt to write the be-all and get-all of all Gothic adventures, threw everything conceivable into the mix; cannibalism, sexual deviance, drug induced homicidal and suicidal tendencies, and a walloping ending which explains the mystery of this heretofore unsolved monster of a puzzle. Even in Hough's film, with a serviceable Matheson script, the basic formula remains intact; the smug para-psychologist, the traumatised evangelist, the cautionary medium and 'smug's' sexually frustrated wife, all come to the doorstep of Belasco House, and enter at their own risk. If you read the novel first, then the film will come to mean much more, and is better appreciated.

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43 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

GREAT little horror film

Author: ( from Seattle, WA
17 August 2000

This film is an outstanding example of what you can achieve in a horror film without resorting to special effects trickery. "Legend Of Hell House" is everything that turkeys like "The Haunting" tried to be.

Kudos to everyone in the cast, especially Roddy McDowall as Fisher, the only man to survive a previous expedition.

There is also some interesting dialogue regarding combatting the supernatural with science, a topic that popped up in later films such as "Ghostbusters."

MANY horror movies have been made on much larger budgets than Legend Of Hell House, but very few can match it for pure psychological terror. I give this film a 10.

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29 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Haunting Story

Author: CMRKeyboadist from Sleesburg, VA.
30 August 2006

I have heard this movie be described as menacing and that is a great way to describe it. This has to be one of the darkest of the haunted house movies out there. With an extremely creepy soundtrack and an equally creepy storyline, throw in actors that can play there parts well, and you have a classic film.

Four people must go to a house known as "Hell House" and must exorcise the ghosts that torment and murder all that have gone in prior. Roddy McDowell plays as the one surviving group members from an earlier trip.

A simple storyline, yes, but the way it holds itself up is amazing. The acting is just excellent and convincing. Also, this movie has virtually no special effects at all. This actually works to the movies advantage as we, the audience, must rely on the atmosphere to terrorize us. And it works very well.

One of the all time best haunted house movies ever, this one is definitely worth buying. 8/10

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40 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Hoorah for stuffed cats!

Author: ( from London, England
3 September 2002

What a pity that today's films rely so heavily on special effects.

Here is a perfect example of how what you don't see is much more unnerving than what you do. Do not watch this film alone at night unless you are already in bed and have the remote control to hand.

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21 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

if only for a couple of scenes ...

Author: chexmix from United States
17 December 2004

For one or two reasons, this film (despite the flaws others have pointed out) stands as a perfect example of what is scary as opposed to what ... just isn't. At least for me, of course. Here's what I mean ...

When I first saw this film, I was working as a Security Dispatcher at a small college in Northeastern Ohio, making a few dollars over the very long (6 week) winter break. Because I worked for Security, I was allowed to remain in my single room in my usual dormitory rather than be herded into another dorm along with the foreign students and others who stayed on campus over the long break. So there I was, all alone in a very big building during a long, dark and very snowy winter ...

I saw THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE at a friend's place in town, and enjoyed it greatly. I found the brief scene where Florence sees the awful shadow of, well, something _dead_ sort of ... dancing in the shower stall particularly creepy. But then I went back uphill to the silent dorm ...

Since it was winter and there was no one (but me!) in the building, the Security guards would sort of wander through on autopilot and make sure all the lights were out. So I was returning, night after night, to a _dark_, deserted dormitory.

In a nutshell, let's just say that after seeing this film, I found committing to showering very, VERY difficult ... and I tried to do it very QUICKLY, all winter long! I was 20 years old, by the way. You may argue that this is all due to my peculiar living situation -- but it is THIS, for me, that is the essence of effective horror. This is what good horror DOES to you: it comes back into your head, makes you look over your shoulder and causes the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up when you remember it ... whether you remember it because of where you are, because it comes up in conversation, or what have you. No amount of liquid plastics, animated goo or CGI can replace -- or increase -- the shudder-power of one blasting, ghostly image. And THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE has at least one of those.

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22 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

One of the best haunted house films ever!

Author: preppy-3 from United States
17 December 2004

Four psychic investigators (Roddy McDowall, Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill, Gayle Hunnicutt) are to spend a week in the Mount Everest of haunted houses to see if life does exist after death. They are given only a week and, in that time, have all the ghosts attack full force.

Next to the 1962 version of "The Haunting" this is the best haunted house flick ever made. It starts up and never stops. There's no humor and it's beautifully atmospheric. Also creepy sound effects and eerie music help keep up the mood and director John Hough shoots the film from weird angles keeping you off balance. Good performances help especially by Franklin and there's one harrowing sequence in which she "offers" herself to the spirits of the house. Not for the blood and guts crowd (this is PG rated). A very scary movie.

The book is much better and a LOT more graphic but there was no way they could have shot the book faithfully--it would have had an X rating! For instance when Franklin has sex with a ghost--in the movie she looks into the camera and screams. In the book she finds a rotting corpse forcing itself on her!

This seems to have disappeared off the radar--even the 2003 DVD release is pretty bad. The colors are faded, there's only a trailer as an extra and there was no big publicity campaign for it. Still you should seek it out if you haven't seen in--it's worth it. I give it a rare 10!

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20 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Nice and creepy

Author: Movie_Man 500 from La La Land
4 October 2001

Now that it's spooky time again, one should plug this in at night and watch during windy weather, eventho' the timeline of the story unwinds around Christmas. Was this intentional? Imagine spending the holidays in this place!

Yes, the highlight is the possessed stuffed black cat but the real big scene that will leave you breathless is the haunted sequence at the dinner table, with the table itself going nuts and the dishes slamming about, the chair tipping backwards, the fireplace burping out a huge fireball, etc. I always look forward to that moment everytime I re-view this, since it is a great movie to watch again.

Probably Mcdowall's best role, until he camped it up in Fright Night. And Pamela Franlkin? Well, she's just ducky. ... wait until that ghost machine explodes. Dynamite stuff.

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21 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece! When is it released on DVD?

Author: liderc from Austria
13 January 2001

This movie is a masterpiece! The strange music, the wonderful setting, the superb photography...The actors are great, too, I especially love Pamela Franklin and Gayle Hunnicutt. When she acts sex-driven it is one of the best scenes of the movie. But, is she really possessed or does she just act this way so she can satisfy her sexual needs with everybody thinking she is just possessed by a ghost..? Also this odd, quit atmosphere the movie has I've never experienced in another movie. John Hough is one of the best directors! But when is this masterpiece released on DVD?

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