4.8/10
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33 user 15 critic

The Ghoul (1975)

R | | Horror, Thriller | 1 June 1975 (UK)
A former priest named Doctor Lawrence harbors a dark and horrible secret in his attic. The locked room serves as a prison cell for his crazed, cannibalistic adult son, who acquired his ... See full summary »

Director:

Freddie Francis

Writer:

Anthony Hinds (screenplay) (as John Elder)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Peter Cushing ... Doctor Lawrence
John Hurt ... Tom Rawlings
Alexandra Bastedo ... Angela
Gwen Watford ... Ayah
Veronica Carlson ... Daphne
Don Henderson ... The Ghoul
Ian McCulloch ... Geoffrey
Stewart Bevan Stewart Bevan ... Billy
John D. Collins ... Young Man
Dan Meaden Dan Meaden ... Police Sergeant
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Storyline

A former priest named Doctor Lawrence harbors a dark and horrible secret in his attic. The locked room serves as a prison cell for his crazed, cannibalistic adult son, who acquired his savage tastes in India during his father's missionary work there. Lawrence fears that his son will escape to prey upon the effete guests at his rural English estate during a cross-country auto race. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hindu | estate | secret | priest | attic | See All (38) »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 June 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Night of the Ghoul See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the U.S., this film has been released as "Night of the Ghoul" and "The Thing in the Attic". Contrary to belief in some quarters, the film is not in the public domain, the rights holder is still Tyburn Film Productions. See more »

Goofs

At c. 27 minutes we see Peter Cushing tuning his violin but he is not playing the open strings that we hear. Furthermore, later shots of his violin playing are extremely badly mimed. See more »

Quotes

[after Dr. Lawrence mentions his wife's suicide]
Daphne Welles Hunter: I'm sorry, I shouldn't be so inquisitive. It must be very painful for you to talk about it.
Dr. Lawrence: The pain is there, whether I talk about it or not.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Ghoul was originally certified by the UK BBFC at 93m following cuts to (a) remove the third close-up of the knife embedded in Geoffrey's face (b) remove a knee to the groin delivered by Veronica Carlson to John Hurt. However, the subsequent theatrical version was only 87m following some last minute snipping by the distributors. The full 93m version, with BBFC cuts restored, was subsequently released on UK video on the Taste of Fear label. The differences are as follows:
  • the opening party sequence is extended by about 2m 30s via several additional dialogue extensions that largely serve to explain Carlson's character. In particular the conversation between her and Ian McCulloch when she is sitting in the car is nearly a minute longer and the subsequent three way conversation by another car involving Stewart Bevan is extended by about 40s.
  • About 35m into the film, directly after Peter Cushing asks Carlson whether there is anything she would like before dinner, the extended version has a new sequence lasting about 2m 30s in which Carlson is escorted upstairs to her bedroom and takes a bath (fans of the lady should note that her left breast is briefly visible). This sequence is missing entirely from the theatrical print.
  • After Bach's tocatta and fugue strikes up on the soundtrack the extended version has an extra 1m showing Carlson emerge from the bedroom, clothed again, and go down the stairs where she then peeks in on Cushing in his chapel. In the theatrical version it's a bit odd that Cushing is surprised by her given that in the previous scene they'd been together in his drawing room.
See more »

Connections

References Psycho (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne No. 2, Op. 9 in E-Flat Major
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good film,spoiled a bit by glib stereotypes.
20 April 2001 | by DIRKSCHNEIDERSee all my reviews

I enjoyed "The Ghoul" in the main,but felt that it pandered to some annoying stereotypes.Firstly,and most obviously I think,is that of India,or of the East in general being a home of sinister pagan beliefs and of rituals that engender evil.Now,I am aware that the film is set during the British Raj,and it would be perfectly fine if the characters in the film were to hold ignorant and arrogant views about Hinduism as being basically a kind of devil-worship,views which the character played by Peter Cushing(a former clergyman who stayed for a considerable time in India,where he encountered local religion in which he says he found only depravity) does indeed hold;but,the film was set in that age,not made during it,and these frankly racist attitudes are reinforced,as in the film it is made pretty evident that the source of the main unhappiness that has beset the household is India and Indian ways.Indeed,even the eponymous character,whenever he appears,is donning Indian clothes,when he is actually English. Another stereotype which is perpetuated is a class one.The character played by John Hurt is a scruffy ex-soldier(although it is suggested at one particular point that he had been a deserter) who murders people,abducts women,beats them and attempts to rape them.By his strong West Country accent,the fact that he was a private,and other peoples' manner towards him,it is obvious that he is a pleb.The upper-class characters on the other hand,are better-looking,more self-confident,and( particularly the character played by Peter Cushing and the character of the ex-army officer),generally nobler. Again,I have no objection to the behaviour of the upper-class characters towards the working-class ones,as that is plausible,but I feel that the film itself is confirming the idea of upper-class British people as some sort of superior beings. John Hurt,in my opinion,steals the show here,as I feel that he imbues in his character a depth which none of the other characters even remotely has.In fact, it is him that actually rescues the film from being farce. There are perhaps some who regard this film as an intentional parody of period horror;the amount of stock items is huge:"the numerous variations of

don't go there"",the stereotypical rural bobby and his "you don't want to go

down there" warning,the dark family secret,the woman who reminds a character

of his dead wife,the big house in the middlle of nowhere,and many more.If this were a parody,then what I have stated above about stereotypes pandered to in the film would probably be nullified.However,I don't believe that in general this film was intended as satire. I am,nevertheless a sucker for this kind of thing,the more clichéed the better,and despite the irritating elements,I still found the film well-paced and very entertaining.Also,John Hurt was very good.


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