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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The House that Dripped Blood (1971)
(2020 Reissue)


Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Denholm Elliott, Ingrid Pitt, Nyree Dawn Porter and Jon Pertwee
Distributor: Second Sight Films
5 028836 041177
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 06 January 2020

Second Sight Films releases the Amicus portmanteau classic from 1970, The House That Dripped Blood, written by Psycho author Robert Bloch – a prolific writer of short stories – and debut directed by Peter Duffell. Police Detective Holloway (John Bennett) is called in from Scotland Yard by a local police sergeant to investigate the grisly events that have taken place at a mansion house available for rent. One by one, the tales are relayed to the dismissive Holloway...

In Method For Murder, Denholm Elliot plays Charles, a horror writer who finds the house the ideal seclusion to write his next book. He creates a twisted killer called Dominic, seeing the man so vividly in his mind’s eye that he sketches his likeness. But when he begins to see the man in reality in and around the house, his wife suggests he see a psychiatrist. The idea is to send Charles mad and have him committed. However, his wife’s lover – who has made himself up to resemble the sketch depiction – has mentally taken on the role of the mad killer. He murders not only the psychiatrist, but Charles too, before returning to strangle Charles’s wife.

In Waxworks, Peter Cushing plays Phillip, who rents the house to relax, read and listen to music. When he pays a visit to the nearest town he finds a waxwork lookalike of his lost love. Rogers is an old rival in love to her and, when he sees the waxwork, he can’t stop going back. The woman was murdered by her husband who turns out to be the proprietor. Both Phillip and Rogers come to a grisly end as exhibits. A nice build-up of suspense, but with a somewhat rushed cop-out ending.

In Sweets to the Sweet, the Christopher Lee character brings his young daughter Jane to the house. He hires Mrs Norton, a private teacher for her (played by Nyree Dawn Porter). The girl’s father is very strict and doesn’t allow her toys, but Jane is brought out of her shell a little by the teacher, who also tells her to respect fire rather than fear it. The girl’s father, it turns out, is afraid of his daughter as he was her mother. She is a witch, and finds books in the study to brush-up on the craft. She fashions a doll from candle wax and torments her father by sticking it with a pin. He suffers great pain but the doctor can find nothing wrong. When he finally reveals Jane’s nature to Mrs Norton, the little girl is one step ahead and throws the wax doll into the fire.

In Curse of the Bloodsuckers, Jon Pertwee plays horror film star Paul Henderson. He despises the cheapness of the sets and props of the vampire film he is working on (“Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula… Bela Lugosi, of course, not the new fellow.”). He finds a much more authentic cloak at the Hartmann Theatrical Costumers. It is heavier, with red lining. Von Hartmann (played by Catweazle, the wonderful Geoffrey Bayldon) seems glad to be rid of the thing. Henderson soon realises he can’t be seen in a mirror when he puts it on. He also grows fangs and rises up into the air. But when he inadvertently really bites his co-star Carla (played by Ingrid Pitt), he locks the thing in a closet. However, he hasn’t counted on Carla’s interest in the cloak.

The Scotland Yard detective finally visits the house – at night, no less – and gets the trouble he has invited. In the basement he finds a coffin, and is attacked by the Pertwee Henderson vampire. He manages to stake it, but then is assaulted by the beautiful Pitt Carla vampire. It is a truly hammy ending to what is a fun and enjoyable – if pretty much horror-by-numbers affair. The first segment is probably the best and least corny of the four, but even the climax of that one is rushed.

Extras include: Two Audio Commentaries (one with the Director and horror historian Jonathan Rigby, the other with author Troy Howarth); Interview with Second Assistant Director Mike Higgins; A Rated Horror Film – a featurette containing interviews with the director and actors Geoffrey Bayldon, Ingrid Pitt, and Chloe Franks; there are also trailers and a stills gallery. There are several other great portmanteau horror films from Amicus and Hammer; hopefully, we’ll see new releases on Blu-ray for all of them. And what about a boxset?


Ty Power

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