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Spanish Horror at its finest
acidburn-102 July 2012
The Plot = A young girl joins a French boarding school for problem girls and soon feels that something's amiss with a sinister head mistress and nasty students, and girls begin to disappear and the teaching staff keep covering it up.

Despite being over 40 years old, this movie still holds up well in my opinion and is still effective and creepy by today's standards. The directing is both skillful and artistic and the suspense is spot on, with the murder sequences played out like a stylish nightmare and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Okay there is not a lot of blood and gore and this flick does rely on character development more, but that works because the cast are well acted and keeps you interested the entire way through. The killer's identity was easily figured out, but the motive when it's revealed is highly shocking and effective and will stick with for a long time afterwards.

The formats of this movie is nothing new but given the fact that this movie came out in 1969, it's pretty easy to see where a lot of these slasher movies get their inspiration and this proves that this movie is ahead of its time. The performances like I said before are excellent, Lilli Palmer who plays the head mistress simply steals to show, with a strong performance easily hold a film together single-handedly, and inject menace or compassion into a scene with a subtlety missing from many horror films of the period. Christina Galbo balances emotion and strength perfectly, as the new student.

All in this entire movie works well as a Gothic murder mystery filled with tension, a definite must see for any fans of European horror.
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Exceptional, unique and ahead of its time
rundbauchdodo5 August 2001
This rather rare film from the director of "Quien Puede Matar a un Niño" (better known as "Island of Death" or "Who could kill a child", see also my comment on that) tells an intriguing and uncomfortable story about sinister things happening in a French boarding school around 1900. The acting is thoroughly outstanding, especially by Lilli Palmer as the head of the school, and John Moulder-Brown, her seemingly weak teenage son.

It is said that this mix of classic and modern horror that undoubtedly was years ahead of its time was Dario Argento's inspiration for his own masterly "Suspiria", and although the two movies are quite different in style, this seems to be undoubtedly true. The creepy atmosphere of the school, the uncanny characters of the women in charge: it's all there already, only that Argento put the whole thing into a more extreme shape.

"La Residencia" is probably a little bit slow moving for today's standards, but no time is wasted: The careful development of the characters make the viewer involved in all characters very soon, so one really cares about them when they reach their grisly demise. The film's atmosphere is terrific, extremely creepy throughout the picture.

And there is also the topic of oppression: Palmer's character is leading the school relentlessly; she knows no mercy for girls that are disobedient. But the oppression also works (in a far more subtle way) towards her teenage son, who has learned to obey his mother a long time ago.

One more word about inspiration: It seems to be, without a doubt, Juan Piquer Simon too was inspired by some elements of "La Residencia" when he made his overtly gory chainsaw-killer-film "Pieces" ("Mil Gritos Tiene la Noche" in spanish), although you can't compare the two films.

This hard to find gem is highly recommended for all true fans of the horror film.
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Gothic set designs, fantastic widescreen visuals
Libretio27 May 2005

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Franscope)

Sound format: Mono

(35mm and 70mm release prints)

A young girl (Cristina Galbó) arrives at an isolated boarding school in the south of France where several students are believed to have run away, but were actually the victims of a psychotic killer...

Odd mixture of giallo mystery and Hammer-style Gothic, set in a labyrinthine girl's school where principal Lilli Palmer struggles to contain the passions of her youthful charges, all of whom she considers 'marked' by their sublimated sexual desires. However, Palmer is quickly revealed as a hypocrite with an incestuous crush on her handsome teenage son (played as a child-like simpleton by John Moulder Brown), and the students are forced to endure a regime which fosters cruelty, rebellion and murder. Palmer dominates the film with effortless grace, and there's solid support from Mary Maude as the ice-cold beauty who makes life miserable for heroine Galbó. Memorable set-pieces include a slow-motion murder in the school's greenhouse, Galbó's doomed attempt to flee the building at midnight, and - believe it or not - an erotically-charged sewing circle! But the film reaches an apex of horror in its closing moments, when the killer is unmasked during a showdown in the attic, staged with stunning conviction by debut director Narciso Ibáñez-Serrador (¿QUIÉN PUEDE MATAR A UN NIÑO?).

But the *real* star of the show is cinematographer Manuel Berenguer (55 DAYS AT PEKING, KING OF KINGS, etc.), whose prowling camera-work makes a virtue of Victor María Cortezo's Gothic set designs, and the widescreen compositions are judged with startling clarity (indeed, Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA owes an obvious debt to the style and tone of Ibáñez-Serrador's movie). For all its virtues, however, THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED is a little too leisurely in places, and the film's sumptuous visual aesthetic disguises a fairly routine plot line, spiced with 'subversive' trimmings. Flawed, but beautiful.

(English version)
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A Good Older Horror-Thriller
Rainey-Dawn15 January 2016
Generally speaking, the reviews on this film are in it's favor. After watching the movie I have to agree that this is a worthwhile older horror-thriller - it's good.

It's fairly easy to know whodunit and why but it's still interesting to watch how the film plays out. Knowing whodunit and why does not spoil the film.

Sexual repression, incest, murder, a sadistic boarding school owner/teacher, lesbianism, torture and mystery - this movie has all of that. It is reminiscent of the 60s/70s Hammer Horror films. If you like all that then you might enjoy this film. It's sorta a hidden gem.

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The Ideal Woman
claudio_carvalho7 August 2017
In the Nineteenth Century, in France, the teenager Teresa Garan (Cristina Galbó) is the daughter of a single mother, who is a cabaret singer. She is brought to the boarding school owned by the headmistress Ms. Fourneau (Lilli Palmer) by a friend of her mother that pays one year tuition for her. Soon Teresa learns that the boarding school is also a prison for the girls since Ms. Fourneau keeps everything locked. Her protégé, the wicked student Irene Tupan (Mary Maude), keeps watch over the other girls and uses her power to bully and torture them. Ms. Fourneau has a teenager son, Luis (John Moulder Brown), who is a peeping Tom, and his mother secludes him from the girls. Ms. Fourneau tells that he needs to meet a girlfriend "like his mother" and that the students of the boarding school are worthless. Meanwhile the runaway students are vanishing and their school mates believe they are fleeing from the boarding school. What they do not know is that a serial-killer is killing them. When Irene discovers that Teresa is secretly meeting Luis, she tortures Teresa that decides to flee from the school in the middle of the night. What will happen to her?

'La residencia", a.k.a. "The House that Screamed", is a stylish Spanish horror film. The cinematography, lighting and art direction are impressive and gives a scary atmosphere. The screenplay keeps the attention of the viewer until the very last scene when the surprising identity and motives of the serial-killer are disclosed. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Internato Derradeiro" ("Ultimate Boarding School")
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Creepy gem.
HumanoidOfFlesh29 June 2005
This stylish and very eerie thriller stars Lili Palmer as Senora Fourneau,the severe headmistress of a French boarding school for wayward young women.The rigid constraints of 19th-century social conditioning have turned the school into a hotbed of uncontrolled sexual urges.Soon it is discovered that one by one, the young girls are vanishing.It is assumed they are sneaking away at night,so the school is securely locked down at night.But the young women continue to go missing,as it appears a mysterious assassin is stalking the dark hallways of the ghostly manor."La Residencia" by Chicho Ibáñez-Serrador combines Gothic atmosphere of Mario Bava's early horror movies with plenty of tension.The film resembles a lot Dario Argento's masterpiece "Suspiria"-the young Cristina Galbó who plays the new arrival at the school-looks like and has the general doe-eyed demeanour of Suzy Banyon.All the main characters are well-developed and intriguing and the acting is fantastic.The murder scenes are stylish and the film deals with several taboos surrounding sexuality.So anyone who is a fan of Hammer,Bava or Argento will probably find something to appreciate in this obscure gem.9 out of 10.
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lars777416 September 2004
I saw this on a double-bill with Murders in the Rue Morgue back in the early 70s. According to IMDb, it was released in America in 1971, but I think I saw it later. Anyway, that year saw the release (in the US, at any rate) of two of the absolutely BEST horror movies of the decade: Daughters of Darkness and The House That Screamed. The comments are right about House being about sexual repression: whew! If you've only seen this on TV, YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT!!!! Not that there's anything especially graphic in the film, but you just won't be able to "get" it. I keep hoping it'll come out on DVD: it is, in Spain, but I don't understand Spanish, and it doesn't have subtitles! VSOM sells it on tape, but it's p&s and just too dark. Why don't we start a write-in campaign to Blue Underground??? I just wanted to add my two cents: RUNDBAUCHDODO's comments are right-on. I will say this about the greenhouse murder: it's pretty creepy when the girl enters, but it's a real shocker when the murderer STANDS UP RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA!!!! Maybe it was done before, and it's probably been done since, but it's the first time I saw it and I've never forgotten it. In fact, it surprises me how much of this whole movie I remember -- and remember correctly!
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Unexpectedly high-caliber horror
drownnnsoda29 September 2016
"The House That Screamed," better known in Spain as "La residencia" ("The Residence"), focuses on a remote girls' boarding school in nineteenth-century France. The school is run by the stone-cold Mademoiselle Fourneau (Lilli Palmer), whose methods of punishment border on sadism. New student Thérèse (Cristina Galbó) arrives, and almost immediately notices something is not right with the headmistress, her wayward son, or her female peers—which becomes increasingly clear as students begin to disappear into the night.

Let's be honest—a film with a title like "The House That Screamed" doesn't exactly generate high expectations, and the plot summary on IMDb would further lead one to assume this film is in the ranks of the sleaziest of Euro-sleaze. I went into the film with such expectations, but about an hour through it, realized there was a huge chasm between what I'd anticipated and what I was getting.

This is not to say that "The House That Screamed" is necessarily a masterpiece—but it's damn good. The film operates almost more as an astute period piece than it does an outright horror film; the isolated school setting and multitude of sexual repression themes would recall "The Beguiled," though "House" predates it—and this is another reason the film seems to have garnered more interest in recent years. Given that its production took place in 1969, it begins to look more and more like a predecessor of the contemporary slasher film.

It is supremely Gothic in its aesthetics, with the majority of the film taking place within the confines of the castle-like school. The costumes and sets are historically accurate and elaborate, and the film captures the era successfully. Apparently pioneering (at least in Spanish cinema) slow-motion shots of murder sequences add a grim layer to the film. There is not much in the way of violence, but the lingering murder scenes are effective. The film has often been criticized for being too slow, and those claims are somewhat fair; it does begin to drag its feet in the second act, but the production values and performances are enough to keep most audiences chugging along with it. The performances are all above-average, with Lilli Palmer leading the cast as the stone-faced headmistress, and "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" star Cristina Galbó as the newcomer who seems to stir up the school's dynamics.

The conclusion is effective in spite of the fact that it seems in retrospect quite obvious, but in any case, I was taken by surprise. All in all, "The House That Screamed" truly outdoes its title, which is something of a rare occurrence in the genre. It's a semi-cerebral, moody, and atmospheric film with a handful of great scare scenes (the conclusion in the attic is genuinely nail-biting). Given its 1969 production, its influence seems fairly obvious, whether it be on the likes of Argento or even "Black Christmas"—but even in spite of those conjectures, the film succeeds on its own as a Gothic murder mystery that functions as well as a period piece as it does a horror film. 8/10.
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Simply The Best in Older Horror!
Carrigon14 October 1999
I first saw this film many years ago on late night. So it was the chopped up cut version. However, even back then it left an impression on me. I remember that the mystery of who the killer was, was so good, that I didn't even know until close to the end of the film. The movie has alot of adult themes and was so ahead of its time, it's amazing. The basic plot is that the school is really a sort of reform school set in the late 19th century.

So the girls of that time are considered bad girls. The heroine ends up there, I believe, for running away from home. Soon after she arrives, girls start to disappear and she finds a certain amount of lesbianism going on at the school, too. And she meets the son of the headmistress. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but this movie is really a must see for Argento fans. Try for the uncut version. You'll remember this movie for a long time to come.
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Great Movie!
kita1177 August 2003
This is a really good horror film to be old, just barely making it to the 70's. I recorded this movie off of regular TV so I was trying to get a copy of this movie just in case I missed a lot of parts that were cut out. The movie was scary at times and very mysterious. My rating 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.
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Spanish classic terror about a boarding school where happens dreadful murders
ma-cortes2 November 2009
The story deals with a respected house (managed by Lilli Palmer and Candida Losada) of rebel girls (Mary Maude , Maribel Martin , Teresa Hurtado , among others) where arrives a new boarder (Cristina Galbo). There happens several astonishing murders with bloody and gruesome executions . Lilli Palmer has a teen son (John Moulder Brown) who looks for a girl just like his mother . Various suspects (Victor Israel) implicate about anybody girls are running away and dieing one by one. Meantime , the girls are escaping and someone originates a frightening massacre of the remaining wayward girls .

Chicho Ibañez Serrador's first great success is compelling directed with startling visual content . This frightening movie is plenty of thrills , chills , high body-count and glimmer color in lurid images with phenomenal results . This is a classic slasher where the intrigue , tension , suspense appear threatening and lurking in every room , corridors and luxurious interior and exterior . Agreeable performance from Cristina Gabo who played various Giallo and Horror movies such as ¨Sleeping corpses lie¨ , ¨What have you done to Solange¨ and ¨The killer must strike again¨ . This genuinely mysterious story is well photographed by Manuel Berenguer in location of Palace of Sobrellano (Comillas , Cantabria, Spain) with shades of ochre , translucently pale turquoises and deep red . Creepie and eerie musical score by Waldo De Los Rios.

This splendid movie belongs to Giallo genre . These Giallo movies are characterized by overblown use of color with shining red blood , usual zooms , and utilization of images-shock . The motion picture is well directed by Chicho Ibañez Serrador . Chicho directed another classic as ¨Who can kill a child ? ¨ and for TV , ¨Historias para no Dormir¨, being his last film an episode titled ¨Blame¨(2006) . Rating : Good, this is one of the more imaginative slasher pictures in which the camera stalks in sinister style . Well worth watching .
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Outstanding and artistic Spanish Giallo that deserves a much stronger seeding
LuisitoJoaquinGonzalez31 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I said in my review of 'Al Filo Del Hacha' that Spain has a bad track record with slasher movies and I still see no evidence to dispute that fact. However when it comes to the Spanish giallo, I have a completely different opinion. Whilst we don't boast a catalog to rival that of our Latin contemporaries over in Italy, La Residencia is a seminal picture, which Dario Argento himself called an inspirational piece of film-making.

There are numerous reasons as to why the film is rarely mentioned in the same breath as the classic 'Sei donne per l'assassino' or other such genre giants. The lack of any significant distribution outside its country of origin certainly didn't help and although it isn't particularly gory as apposed to some of the more notorious giallos, most prints of that time exclude the stylish greenhouse killing. This is the same in principle as removing the clocks from Salvador Dali's 'La persistencia de la memoria'. I couldn't imagine the film without it.

A young woman joins a French boarding school for problematic girls and almost immediately begins to feel uncomfortable with the sinister head-mistress and the aggressive dictation of the elder students. At first it seems that the girls are running away one by one during the night in order to escape the disciplinarian modus operandi of the sinister staff, but soon it becomes apparent that the girls are falling prey to a vicious killer.

Despite La Residencia being nearly forty-years old, the film is a masterpiece of skillful direction and extreme suspense. Here, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador is not so much the director as he is an artist and he succeeds in rolling the viewer up in his optical illusion throughout the entire runtime. If his movie is a surrealistic painting, then the 'greenhouse killing' that I mentioned earlier is its focal point. It plays on the screen like a vivid nightmare and Serrador's choice of musical accompaniment achieves a cinematic portrait that has rarely been accomplished to such an exemplary level. Like all good artists, we get the impression that the final print had been viewed countless times by Serrador as he planned it in his mind prior to production and he must have been satisfied to have translated his vision onto the screen so successfully.

Accusations of exploitation are entirely unfounded as the movie never relies on gratuitous shock tactics. Despite an almost entirely female-populated cast there is no real nudity on display and the film is not misogynistic at all. In fact it is quite the opposite as the female characters have the more dominant personalities of the script. The performances are superb from a mixed European cast of stars and Christina Galbó Sánchez's portrayal is both convincing and highly emotional.

Another plus point is how the film chews up the rule-book and throws it straight out of the window to achieve a totally non-stereotypical synopsis. The revelation of the killer's identity is hardly shocking, but the motive clearly is; and like the more modern films of Almodovar, La Residencia doesn't escape your mind after the credits have rolled. Some forty years later this conclusion feels somewhat old-hat, especially as it has been repeated many times throughout the giallo and slasher genres of later years. But if you keep in mind that this was released way back in 1969, it proves that the film was somewhat ahead of its time.

Gore hounds may find the long excursions into character development rather disappointing and it's true that the maniac killer is not the key point in the plot for the entire ninety-nine minutes. But with that said, when he does strike, the slaughters are excellently conveyed and the film's approachable characters and Samson-like-in-strength performances make this something of a cinematic treat. It's nice to see a movie where every shot has been painstakingly planned to perfection and the net-result is a visual masterpiece that excels from start to finish.

La Residencia was the first Spanish movie to be shot in English and it benefits from a strong and intelligent script. It has certainly improved with age and initial Spanish reviews were mixed at best. But it's undeniable now that this is an artistic and wholly recommended slice of cinema memorabilia and it deserves a higher seeding amongst the giallo elite. It left its mark on horror through the countless features it inspired, which include the excellent 'Suspiria' and Juan Piquor's 'Mil gritos tiene la noche'
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Dark and eerie Eurohorror gem!
The_Void6 August 2006
Director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador is most famous for his under-seen cult gem, 'Who Can Kill a Child?', but this Gothic horror treat is definitely well worth tracking down! Perhaps not as original or thought provoking as Serrador's later film, The House That Screamed presents it's situation and characters well, and the atmosphere that the director bathes every scene in is a major highlight. The film works like a cross between a film about imprisoned women (along the same lines as Pete Walker's masterpiece 'House of Whipcord') and an Italian Giallo; although it's clear that Serrador wanted to keep the focus on the girls' and their plight, as the murder theme exists almost like an afterthought. The film focuses on a French boarding school for wayward girls. The owner and mistress of this establishment is the unforgiving Mme Fourneau, who sees fit to enforce a strict discipline upon her pupils, which has lead to widespread deviance among the girls. The mistress is never more strict with anyone than her own son, however, who has fallen in love with one of the girls, leading his mother to tell him that he should find a girl "just like her"...

It's amazing that this film was made in 1969, as the production values are amazing owing to the director's care and attention to detail, and it's also clear that this film was a major inspiration for a barrage of later Gothic horror films, including Dario Argento's most famous film 'Suspiria'. Its own influence comes from Gothic horror the likes of which the great Mario Bava is famous for producing, and the dark and gloomy look of the school bodes excellently with the themes of the plot. Lilli Palmer is the pick of the cast, and delivers an excellent strong lead performance in the lead role. She receives decent feedback from the likes of Cristina Galbó and John Moulder-Brown who, along with the rest of the support players, help to ensure that this is above a lot of Euro-sleaze being released around the same time. The murders aren't the main point of the film, and while they're not overly gory or brutal; they work well in the context of the movie, and succeed in being extremely stylish. The film ends on a definite high, as although the identity of the murderer isn't a shock; the reason for the killings completely caught me out and the dark and shocking finale is a treat. Overall, this masterpiece comes HIGHLY recommended to fans of cult horror!
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Needs more sleaze.
BA_Harrison31 October 2012
Señora Fourneau (Lilli Palmer) is headmistress at a finishing school for wayward girls, where she rules with an iron fist, punishing those who step out of line with solitary confinement and corporal punishment (her sadistic assistant Irene happily administering a good flogging); when students occasionally disappear, they are presumed to have run away, but in reality, the girls are being brutally despatched by a homicidal maniac who stalks the school grounds.

Given its lurid subject matter, La Residencia is a surprisingly restrained affair in terms of nudity and graphic violence, director Narciso Ibáñez Serrador dealing with his themes of repressed lust, lesbianism, sadism and incest in a far less sleazy and exploitative manner than many a Euro-horror of the same era. This reserved approach seems to have gone down well with the majority of reviewers here on IMDb, who commend the film for its subtlety, sense of style and haunting atmosphere, but who fail to mention just how dull it all is as a result. Hell, this film even manages to make a communal shower scene boring, the pretty girls remaining clothed as they wash themselves (!?!?).

A delightfully twisted final revelation—in which we learn the identity of the killer and the reason for the murders—just about makes it worth struggling through to the bitter end, but I'm definitely in the minority with this one: as far as I'm concerned, it could have done with less 'suggestion', and more in the way of actual blood and boobs.
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Dull and uninvolving
quinoble5 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I can't believe that so many are comparing this movie to Argento's. His work is far more imaginative and vicious--and a lot more fun.

The director simply lacks the ability to build real tension. The murder scenes--and let's face it, that's what this genre is all about--aren't interesting. It was not hard to guess who the murderer was, and I really didn't care when it was revealed. The cinematography isn't memorable, and the much-praised 19th century Gothic atmosphere just didn't draw me in. Several of the actors are quite good (especially the headmistress and the sadistic girl who lords it over the younger students), but they're given very little to do.

Yes, there are undertones of incest, sadomasochism, and lesbianism, but amazingly, they add very little spice or suspense.

If you're looking for a good horror movie, look elsewhere.
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Naughty Girls go to Boarding School Hell!
Coventry14 September 2006
Ever since I beheld a masterpiece called "Quién Puede Matar A Un Niño" ("Who Can Kill a Child?"), I've been on a constant lookout for THIS Spanish gem that also spawned from the clearly gifted mind of writer/director Narciso Ibáñez-Serrador. Thanks to the help of a good friend, I'm now the proud owner of this film on DVD and I can finally do my share of recommending this genuinely frightening film to other fans. "The House that Screamed" differs a lot from the aforementioned film, but it's a genre highlight all the same. "Who Can Kill A Child", which got released during the mid-70's, depended a lot on brutal shocks and one truly disturbing theme whereas "The House that Screamed" (dated 1969) teaches us a lesson in pure tension and atmosphere. There's very little on screen bloodshed here, but the film features – without exaggerating – a constantly high level of suspense. Literally every sequence bathes in an atmosphere of sheer eeriness and it feels like ominous events lurk behind every corner of every set piece used in the film. As far as I'm concerned, only brilliant directors such as Mario Bava, Dario Argento and Alfred Hitchcock can achieve such a depiction of subtle emotional terror, and now Ibáñez-Serrador is one of the elite. The story is set around the year 1900, in a Southern French boarding school for girls only. These girls supposedly all have discipline problems and the utterly strict headmistress Mme. Fourneau keeps them on a short leash. She has her hands quite full, as her students continuously plan escapes and she also has to prevent her own teenage son from having contact with the wayward girls. When more and more girls disappear without leaving a single trace, the girls righteously begin to fear that the boarding school also homes a vicious killer. The plot is occasionally slow and predictable, yet you easily forgive all this just because our director puts so much effort & dedication into building up the tension and the drawing of his characters. The climax, albeit implausible, is pretty sensational horror stuff! The acting performances are FAR above average, with Lilly Palmer in the most memorable role of her career, and the decors are very convincing. This isn't a movie for the nowadays horror audiences (too little action, I presume), but its themes and plot-twists were very ahead of time back in 1969. If you truly love horror and if you can find a decent copy, I strongly suggest purchasing "The House that Screamed".

Note: This comment is dedicated to fellow IMDb-user G.B, for helping me to obtain this fine movie!
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Atmospheric, slow-burning film
tomgillespie200227 August 2012
Spanish director Narciso Ibanez Serrador was never happy with the marketing for the release of his first horror film, particularly in the United States, where it was released by AIP. It is understandable when the trailer is not very representative of the tone of the film. The trailer is more salacious, and hints at more kinetic horror than is actually delivered. However, this does not mean that the film fails. Far from it. In fact, the trailer does a disservice to this rather atmospheric, slow-burning story with horror elements, set in a French boarding school for naughty girls. Teresa (Cristina Galbo) is newly introduced to the school, and the tensions of hierarchy are established immediately, and this brooding sense illustrates itself in moments of sexual frustration, sadism and humiliation.

The school of corrective discipline is overseen by headmistress, Sra. Fourneau (Lili Palmer), whose son, Luis (John Moulder-Brown), lives a floor above the girls, but is known for his voyeurism - he often peeps whilst the girls shower (consequently, the girls shower in bathrobes). Fourneau is over-protective of Luis, and refers to the girls who come through the school as no good for him, too unsettled and dirty. You could indeed call Luis a Bates-in-waiting. As Teresa discovers, through gossip and hearsay, girls have been "escaping" because they need to see boys - their sexual urges too great to ignore. But as a love-struck girl, Isabelle (Maribel Martin), takes the advice of Luis to leave with him, she is murdered on her way to meet him, in a slow-motion, abstracted and balletic scene in the forests.

Whilst the finale's "twist" will be spotted instantly, this does not effect the impact of it, with its macabre, and chillingly sycophantic nature. It certainly plods often, particularly in the first half, but it instills a climbing sense of peculiarity. With the dynamic of the hierarchical systems in the school, suspects are everywhere, and it is the relationships, often signified with repressed sexuality, a deeply sadistic nature, the girls are often humiliated, and Fourneau seems to relish (much like her son) these voyeuristic-sadistic explorations, as non-conformist girls get beaten. The setting of a Gothic period piece lends itself to the ponderous repression, and makes the girls less accessible; the time of full coverage, their frocks thicker than a winter quilt.
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Nice Atmosphere and Performances
Michael_Elliott27 April 2017
The House That Screamed (1970)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

The setting is a French boarding school where Teresa (Cristina Galbo) arrives and soon realizes that there's just something that isn't right. The head mistress (Lilli Palmer) is an abusive woman who forces her will onto the girls of the school but she seems to be unable to control her young son (John Moulder-Brown). Before long some of the girls start vanishing.

Narciso Ibáñez Serrador's THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED is a rather interesting Spanish horror film that became a hit back when it was originally released. The film did well throughout the world including its release in America but then it pretty much fell off the map. For years it was hard to find and it really became known for its story apparently inspiring Dario Argento and SUSPIRIA. The film certainly isn't a great one but if you're a fan of the genre then it's certainly worth watching.

For my money the best thing about the film was the atmosphere. I thought the director did a really good job at building up an atmosphere that worked a certain magic throughout the running time. I thought it managed to make you feel as if you were in the middle of this location and it certainly benefited the film. Another plus are the performances by the three leads. All of them are quite good in their roles and I especially liked Galbo and Palmer.

For me, the biggest issue with the film was the actual screenplay. Some have called this an early giallo but I really wouldn't considering the film that. The problem I had with the screenplay is that it never really builds up the mystery aspect. I mean, all the girls start to disappear yet there are only a handful of possible suspects and the film doesn't even try to play it up. It's as if the director just wanted a visual style and the before mentioned atmosphere.

Another problem is that there's really not too much that happens. There's not much of a story here and the film is extremely slow-moving at times. With that said, there are enough interesting moments to make the film worth watching.
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Life in a boarding school
AAdaSC27 May 2017
These boarding schools are all the same – a mixture of sadism with a sexual undercurrent. Well, that's certainly my experience and this film perpetuates this idea only it takes it to a level that is way out there! Headmistress Lilli Palmer (Fourneau) runs a school for wayward teenage girls. They are troublesome young women who need to be put through a strict corrective regime that remoulds them into marriage material. Palmer has a teenage son who resides at this school – John Moulder-Brown (Luis) – but she insists on shielding him from these girls and stresses that he must look for someone in her own image. Cristina Galbó (Teresa) is an 18 year old who is brought to the school and we are introduced to the cast of girls who reside at this institution. The dream seems to be to escape….

From the moment we are introduced to Lilli Palmer, we know that there is something evil going on – her eyes say it all. She is great in the lead role. The film retains an eerie atmosphere throughout and filming takes place in a suitable spooky schoolhouse set in the middle of nowhere. We are aware that some girls have previously escaped and Palmer insists that all doors and windows are nailed down so this can not happen again. It does, though. And we realize that the girls are not escaping but meeting another fate altogether and these escape scenes are done with maximum tension. The film is unpredictable, atmospheric, thankfully lacking in gore although you will get a shock or two on this front and as for the ending – it takes you to another level! The film plays as a mystery thriller and whilst you may guess who is responsible, you won't be completely sure and you certainly won't guess the motive. That's where we go into the realms of horror factor ten!

Several scenes are memorable, eg, one of the girls being whipped as a punishment for disobedience, the escape attempts and Moulder-Brown watching the girls shower. Indeed, it's very nearly game over for him at this point and you'll probably being shouting "No!" at the telly. Ha ha.
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adriangr23 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"La Residencia" is in my opinion a superb Gothic chiller about nasty going's on at a girl's boarding school.

The plot is simple, a school for troubled teenagers seems to be harbouring a secret as the girls keep disappearing and do not seem to have run away, although if they are dead then where are the bodies? All is revealed in the last 10 minutes, but before then what we have is 90 beautifully filmed minutes of suspense and atmosphere.

Surprisingly for a film about a bad girl's dormitory, there is no nudity and very little violence, instead there is a lot of subtle imagery and some quite beautiful widescreen photography. The film starts with the arrival of a new pupil, which is a clever way of letting the plot unfold as we see a lot of it through her eyes. Some of the current pupils are already in big trouble, as demonstrated by scenes showing a nasty beating. There's also a power struggle going on with the senior girls (lead by a particularly icy head girl) terrorising the younger inmates, while all the time the whole school is overseen by the elegant and aloof Madame Forneau. The period detail is great, the school setting looks authentically ramshackle, and the murders - when they happen - are stylishly filmed. The shocking ending almost seems like a different film, as there's no hint that such a morbid pay-off might be on the cards, but it's good to have something this dramatic to pay off for the slow build up.

The acting is great, most notably the statuesque Lilli Palmer, who is terrific as the troubled Madame Forneau, and Mary Maude makes a strong impression as the vicious head girl Irene. Poor dubbing ruins most of the other performances, but it's nice to see Euro starlets Cristina Galbo and Maribel Martin as two of the schoolgirls.

Some critics have called it misogynistic, which could be down to the fact that all the actresses are attractive and obviously older than the teenagers they are supposed to be, and all are obsessed with sex, so yes that aspect is used to titillate, but there's nothing explicit on screen, instead the attention and focus is on the period detail, plot and characters, so I don't see it myself. Therefore I call this a success, due to it's sense of style. Bear in mind this was made in 1969, before any of the explosion of Italian giallos or gory Gothic excesses of the 1970's, so I think for that reason alone it's a remarkable work.
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Profound, original and very interesting film with woman's desire as main topic
MandarinaMelies4 April 2013
The characters are drafted in a sharp and catching way, something unusual in Horror flicks. They are even multifaceted, with shades and contradictions, something much rarer yet in this Genre.

The climate is also excellently defined, connecting you with the suffering of the girls but also depicting oppression and silent rebellion in a fun way.

The Suspense game with your speculation about who is the killer is well played.

The Theme, as I anticipate in this review's title, is smart and juicy.

On the other hand, the major script lacks are the absence of a precise leading character and the miss of a substantial enough construction of the issues that will define the ending. In addition, the profound human issues linked to the main theme, and the personal, intimate, conflicts of the characters, are not boarded with the intensity this adult Thriller about female behavior deserves.

The rhythm and tone in some moments are a bit slow or lack of intensity. But the acting is quite good (maybe with the exception of the boy).

Great music.

Unfortunately, most of the DVDs available, both in English and in Spanish, use as source the original Spanish version, which is censored with cuts that reduce the desire aspect and eliminate lesbianism and the subtly excessive maternal love. Anyway, cuts are not so significant and the cut version (the common one) is still a good movie.
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A Perfect Example Of Why I Typically Don't Like Older Horror Films...
EVOL66624 February 2006
Reading my review of THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED, many may assume that I'm some 14 year old who thinks SCREAM is considered "classic" horror. This is not the case, as I'm 30 years old and have been watching horror films for most of my life. But admittedly, I'm a child of the 80's that grew up on slasher/zombie/ghost/cannibal, etc...types of horror films - so I do typically prefer horror films that are more graphic and faster-paced. Just like someone who can appreciate different music, painting, or in this case, film - but not necessarily like them - I can appreciate why some people may enjoy this sort of film...I just don't...

THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED is an exceedingly dull and tedious film about a school for wayward girls. The heavy-handed mistress of the school rules with an iron hand (or whip in some cases...) to keep the girls in line. She has a young son who creeps around and peeps on the girls while they shower (in their nightgowns no less (?!?)...), and meanwhile, girls are disappearing from the school as they are the victim of a murderer who's lurking about the campus...

I can see why THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED is often compared to SUSPIRIA (which is a masterpiece of a film in my opinion...), in terms of the atmosphere of the school itself and the interaction between the girls and their guardians - but this film is so dull and uneventful that I could barely stay awake. I'm all for "tension" and "suspense" in horror films - but this film held neither for me. Luckily, I wasn't expecting a whole lot going into this one, so I can't say I was really disappointed - THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED just reinforced the fact that I personally don't typically enjoy most horror films much older than from the 70's. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but those that I HAVE enjoyed definitely seem to be more of the exception. Probably a "must-see" for horror fans who enjoy more understated and suggestive horror films - but as I don't really know too many fans of that sort of material, I can't really recommend this one...4/10
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A true masterpiece
bensonmum24 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm kicking myself – Why in the world did I wait so long to watch this movie? The House That Screamed (or La Residencia which I think I prefer) is a film right up my alley. The movie tells the story of a boarding school owned by Mme. Fourneau. She runs the place with an iron fist. A new student, Theresa, has had enough of the rules and the humiliation and desires to escape. But does anyone really escape from this place? Not if Mme. Foureneau can help it. And not if an unknown killer with a penchant for slashing young girls' necks gets hold of you.

I admit that I went in expecting typical Euro-trash, but instead, I was treated to one of the best Gothic horror films that I've ever seen. La Residencia plays a bit like a cross between the early giallo Naked You Die and Dario Argento's masterpiece Suspiria with a touch of a WIP thrown in for good measure. The whole movie has a sense of dread about it that I found appealing. And I love a movie with atmosphere and, fortunately, La Residencia's got it to burn. The large, rambling, darkly lit school with its many secret rooms and passageways; Waldo da los Rios' mood-enhancing score; and the magnificently creepy lighting and cinematography all add to atmosphere that all but beats you over the head with its effectiveness. Of course a major factor in the film's success is the masterful direction of Narciso Ibáñez Serrador. He's more than capable of handling the more suspenseful moments and wringing every last drop of tension out of even seemingly mundane scenes. And switching the film's focus from Theresa to Irene about 2/3 of the way through the film is genius. Well done! The acting is also wonderful. I expected a good performance from Christina Galbo and she didn't disappoint. Lilli Palmer is new to me, but her Mme. Fourneau is one of those characters I'll never forget. But most impressive is the job turned in by Mary Maude as Irene. The fact that she's able to transform her character from the loathsome tormentor of Galbo's Theresa to the film's heroine in the final act is nothing short of a miracle. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the film's final twist. I won't give anything away, but I will say that it's amazingly well handled. Bravo!

In the end, La Residencia is a real undiscovered gem that should have a wider audience even among Euro-horror fans. It will most likely go down as one of the best "new" movies I see in 2009. Something else it deserves is a good, legitimate R1 release. It certainly deserves better than the Elvira treatment. Nothing against Elvira – I loved her show and miss seeing a lot of the cheesy horror she brought the screen. La Residencia, however, doesn't fit that description.
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Seemed this one should have been better
Aaron137520 May 2013
I got this film in a collection of horror movies...this one is the first I viewed because the booklet which came with the collection stated this film had satanic stuff in it and lots of sleazy stuff at an all girls school...I mean, just try to stop me from watching this one. However, the film I watched was rather tame, it also appeared to be missing huge tracks of time as at one point a boy is trapped in the walls of a boiler room asking for help, the next minute the girl who I never see help him has been hanging out with the boy for apparently a good portion of time. Turns out I may have watched a heavily edited version. Not sure if there was more sleaze in the uncut version, but I am sure it would have made more sense as things seemed to jump forward all to often.

The story has an all girl school run by a woman who is strict. A new girl comes to join this school, which is apparently for wayward girls. We watch as all the normal functions occur, and we also see that the girls like to have a bit of fun. Though they never really showed much in the version I watched. I just had to guess at some of it. Well, some of the girls are being killed, though we only see two killings, there may have been more in the uncut version. Is it the head mistress? Is it the creepy caretaker? Or perhaps, one of the girls? The story has a couple of surprises as I was certainly shocked at what happened to one of the girls. The ending I guessed just before it was revealed.

So the story had its moments and the girls were all cute, but I was expecting more nudity and death. Of course, once the film started, I kind of figured it was not going to be as naughty as I was hoping because the film was set likely in the early 1900's or so rather than a more current time. Still, the movie had a shower scene where all the girls remained clothed...really? Did they actually do that? Had potential and the plot sans the murders would have made an excellent adult film, but what we do get is a rather tepid horror film that really did not show much. Then again, the version I watched was 91 minutes and IMDb lists the runtime at 99 minutes and a VHS version at 105 so I may have just got a super cut edition.
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A fascinating erotic horror-mystery
Gorm30 June 1999
Not to pique anyone's prurient interests, but there are significant reasons that might explain why this film was "edited" for TV. By all means, see it intact in the original version. This film works on many levels-not the least of which is as a mystery.
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