“This house… It knows we’re here.”
A physicist (Clive Revill), his wife (Gayle Hunnicutt), and two mediums (Pamela Franklin and Roddy McDowall) are solicited by a wealthy older man (Roland Culver) to visit an infamous haunted house and investigate the secrets it may possess about life after death.
Based on a novel by Richard Matheson, this highly atmospheric “old dark house” flick — a mash-up of The Haunting (1963) with The Exorcist (1973) — delivers plenty of bang for its buck. It’s creatively directed (by John Hughes and DP Alan Hume), finely acted, and genuinely suspenseful. Franklin is particularly effective in a challenging role: her self-possessed demeanor contrasts nicely with her youthful appearance, and her character transformations are both believable and shocking. The film’s main’s disappointment is its climactic “reveal”, which viewers have apparently been debating for years (see IMDB’s message boards); but it’s easy enough to forgive in light of the satisfying tale we’ve witnessed until then. The score is exceptional, too.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Pamela Franklin as Florence Tanner
- Alan Hume’s cinematography
- Fine direction
- An effectively spooky electronic score by Brian Hodgson and Delia Derbyshire
Yes, as a cult favorite.