Monday, October 15, 2012

31 Days of Halloween - Day 15 - Movie 2

The House That Dripped Blood (1970) is an anthology film starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Denholm Elliot, Ingrid Pitt, and Jon Pertwee. The framing device that brings the stories together involves a detective from Scotland Yard who is investigating the disappearance of a famous actor. His investigation leads him to discover that the house the actor was leasing has a history of tragic endings for its previous occupants. Those tragedies are the stories that make up the rest of this film.

The first story is about a horror writer whose main character in his novel in progress seems to have escaped the work and into the real world, where only he can see him. The second story involves a pair of bachelors who see the uncanny likeness of the woman the once competed for in a figure in a wax museum that houses a sinister secret of its own. The third story brings an instructor into the home of a strange child and her stern and secretive father. The fourth story concerns the missing actor, who in a quest for authenticity in his latest role as a vampire, searches for a suitable cloak to wear, and winds up with one that's far more authentic than he bargained for.

As with any anthology movie, some of the segments are stronger than others. In the case of The House That Dripped Blood, there aren't any outright clunkers. All of the segments are decent, but the last two are the strongest of the group. The first story is predictable, but has strong performances and nice atmosphere. The second tale is the weakest of the group. The third story is the best with some nice mystery and a strong performance by Lee. Jon Pertwee hams it up in the final, more comedic story, but is completely enjoyable to watch. It's also refreshing to see a novel approach to vampirism. The wrap around story isn't much more than a connecting device with a "shock ending," but feels a lot more natural in serving to connect the disparate stories than the wrap around stories in most anthology movies.

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