Saturday, April 13, 2013

The House that Would Not Die (1970)

Aunt Ruth and niece Sara move into a huge old house that Ruth inherited from a long lost relative.  Manly neighbor Pat stops by to say hello as he's surprised that anyone is living in the house.  He invites them to a party so they can meet some of the local folks.

Turns out their new house is a mystery to the townfolk as Ruth's relative wouldn't let anyone inside. Everyone is curious to see what it looks like and there are rumors of a haunting so they also want to hold a seance.  Ruth and Sara think it might be fun so the gang comes over and they raise a supernatural ruckus.

Soon Sara is acting strange and falling into trances, and Pat is  getting rough with Ruth and being scary.  The portrait above the fireplace falls on the floor and the door to the cellar is found open when it had been closed. Also people start seeing ghostly figures from the Revolutionary War period.  Spooky.

The spirits in the house start gaining more power. They begin taking over Sara, even when she's at Pat's house.  And Pat's getting super creepy.  The kind of creepy where no woman is going to want to be alone in the same room with him, even if there are other people in the house.

One of the things I like about older films is that they have long shots where the camera follows the action unfolding.  Instead of the quick cuts that make up a scene in modern films, the characters have to relate to each during the scene.  It's just far more interesting and can really help to build tension.

Barbara Stanwyck plays Ruth.  When I was a kid, I only knew Stanwyck as the old lady on The Big Valley. She annoyed the hell out of me.  But actually she's a really good actress. She does a great job in this.

So if you're in the mood for an older film which is more about atmosphere than blood, this is a decent movie.  It's more along the lines of 1963's The Haunting, just not as good.  Be aware that if you need those quick cuts to keep from being bored, you'll want to avoid this.  This is story based and the tension builds based on the performances.  When Pat gets possessed, he's really uncomfortable to watch as there's something extremely menacing about him.

I have to mention the updated graphics for the movie.  The cover and main menu make it look like a recent horror movie with an eyeless Marilyn Manson ghost coming to get you. This is bound to disappoint everyone. Anyone who falls for the new cover will be disappointed by getting an old film.  While anyone who'd be interested in old film will ignore it due to the new cover made to appeal to teens.  Nice marketing ploy.
You think you're getting this....
...but you're really getting this

No comments: