4.6/10
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39 user 11 critic

Horror House (1969)

The Haunted House of Horror (original title)
Teenagers gathered in an old mansion are being murdered one by one. The survivors must discover who among them is the killer before he finishes off everybody.

Director:

Michael Armstrong

Writers:

Michael Armstrong (screenplay), Gerry Levy (additional material) (as Peter Marcus)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frankie Avalon ... Chris
Jill Haworth ... Sheila
Dennis Price ... Inspector Bill Bradley
Mark Wynter ... Gary Scott
George Sewell ... Bob Kellett
Gina Warwick Gina Warwick ... Sylvia Fuller
Richard O'Sullivan ... Peter
Carol Dilworth ... Dorothy Pulman
Julian Barnes Julian Barnes ... Richard
Veronica Doran Veronica Doran ... Madge
Robin Stewart Robin Stewart ... Henry
Jan Holden ... Peggy
Clifford Earl Clifford Earl ... Police Sergeant Pelley
Robert Raglan ... John Bradley
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Storyline

A group of sixties teenagers bored with the party they're at drive out to a deserted old mansion, but their laughter turns to fear when one of them is killed in a frenzied knife attack. Another of them persuades the rest that they should solve the murder themselves rather than go to the police, not surprisingly opening the way to further carnage. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The dead are restless tonight at... See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Horror House See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Veronica Dolan was very pleased to be acting in a non comedy role. See more »

Goofs

Richard stabs his mate with a huge knife, which emerges covered in blood almost to the hilt. 30 seconds later Richard is holding the knife with no blood on it then 1 minute after that, the knife has just a little blood on it. See more »

Connections

Featured in Fantastic Fantasy Fright-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Grey Skies
(uncredited)
Performed by The Pretty Things
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR (Michael Armstrong and, uncredited, Gerry Levy, 1969) *1/2
30 May 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I wasn't expecting much from this one, given that I had been let down by the director's subsequent - and signature - film, the notorious MARK OF THE DEVIL (1970); I would still like to watch HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS (1983), however, which Armstrong only scripted (it was directed by Pete Walker and featured genre stalwarts Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, John Carradine and Sheila Keith). Similarly, the fact that the majority of the cast was made up of juveniles (with Frankie Avalon - referred to in the film as "the epitome of Swinging London"! - the most experienced among them!) wasn't exactly enticing; however, at least a couple of the girls - Jill Haworth and Gina Warwick - don't register too badly under the circumstances and, interestingly enough, a pre-stardom David Bowie had originally been slated for the role of the killer! As for Dennis Price, he's wasted as the investigating officer; the role, insignificant as it was, had been intended for Boris Karloff - but he was too ill to appear, and died not long afterwards.

Anyway, the end result is a truly lame film full of obnoxious characters (particularly the couple that's supposed to provide comic relief), wooden acting…and pointless zooms onto the Gothic architecture of the titular house! Surely the best thing about it is the rapid editing of certain sequences (a couple of brutal murders, a suspenseful scene at a gallery), in which the director admits - during the Audio Commentary - to being influenced by the work of Sergei Eisenstein! Reg Tilsley's score - except for a terrible song near the beginning composed by Gerry Levy (more on him later) - is quite good…and the ending offers a couple of surprises as well, but all this isn't enough to salvage the film! It was released in the U.S. as a double-bill with CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR (1968), which I watched for the very first time only a couple of days prior to this one.

Writer-director Armstrong's Audio Commentary was very interesting, however, because he went into great detail about how the film was taken out of his hands by AIP (it was made in conjunction with Tigon) and changed considerably: a new director - Gerry Levy - stepped in, generally softening the characters and toning down the sex (which became practically non-existent) and violence (one bloodless killing was clearly his work), but also adding a new subplot involving an extra-marital affair between Warwick and George Sewell! It's very probable that the original version made a better film altogether, but there's little to suggest that it would have been anything special - despite Armstrong's vehement, denigrating comments throughout about Levy and AIP's Louis M. 'Deke' Hayward! Ironically, the exact same thing happened to Armstrong on his second film (the intrusion this time around came from producer Adrian Hoven), which basically put him off directing for good - though his bad experience during the making of THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR did translate into a feature-film script, ESKIMO NELL (1975)!

Interestingly, I followed this with the only film Gerry Levy directed by himself - THE BODY STEALERS (1969) - which, being a Tigon release as well, it ended up as part of the same Box Set with THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR! Needless to say, Armstrong had no kind remarks about Levy's film (despite the presence in it of one of my favorites, George Sanders) - but I'll comment on that film in its own brief space…


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