The House That Dripped Blood
Release Date: Jul 29, 2019
Directed by: Peter Duffell
A Scotland Yard detective investigates a mysterious mansion with a ghoulish history and a chilling fate for its occupants in these four tales of terror. One of the classic Amicus anthologies written by Psycho author Robert Bloch.
The House That Dripped Blood is an anthology in which four tales are interlinked with the framing device of John Bennett's police detective trying to find a missing actor. During his investigation he discovers a link to him and the previous occupants of a creaky, old country house.
The first story Method for Murder stars future Indiana Jones confidant, Denholm Elliott as a hack Horror novelist who, with his wife played by Joanna Dunham, looks for inspiration for his next book in the spooky house. He creates a character called Dominic, a murderer who ends up terrorising the writer to the point of losing his mind.
From this tale of terror the film goes into overdrive - for me the scares and campiness get ramped up beginning with the second story, Waxwork starring horror genre legend Peter Cushing. Cushing plays a broken-hearted man who arrives at the house and becomes fixated with a life-like waxwork doll who seems similar to a woman he knew, that sits in a local museum of murderers; Every 1970s high street had them I guess - they've been replaced by bookies these days.
When an old friend of Mr. Cushing's character turns up at his new dwelling, played by a very young looking Joss Ackland, he starts having the same obsessive behaviour towards the proprietor's wife, Salome, a model that is as beautiful as she is dangerous to these men's life expectancy. The segment has a fun twist in the climax.
From this story of the macabre we go straight into Sweets to The Sweet starring screen icon Christopher Lee. Lee plays a strict widower who rules over his young daughter and is convinced to hire a tutor, Ann, played by Nyree Dawn Porter, to home-school her. Under the Ann's tutelage the young girl, who at first is combative, gets her head into books and comes on leaps and bounds. Things go wrong when the teacher buys her pupil a doll which her father throws into a fire - a move that he'll end up regretting later with her interest in a far more deadly type of doll.
Finally we have my favourite sequence, The Cloak. A twisted tale that veers into a comedic approach thanks to Jon Pertwee's wide eyed, theatrical performance as a full-of-himself horror movie star who buys a cloak for 13 shillings that happens to have vampiric powers. It makes him bite his leading lady, played by, Hammer films regular, Ingrid Pitt. The previous stories had a horror tone but this final story veers strongly into comedy. Jon Pertwee camps up his role and there are several, unsubtle digs at the world of 70's British scare cinema with comments on the cheapness of the movie he’s working on reflecting the films of that era.
The House that Dripped Blood is directed by Peter Duffell who is inventive within the confines of a low budget and a short shooting schedule and he does a lot with great use of production design and a muted colour palette. While the script, by Psycho novelist Robert Bloch, wouldn't scare a modern day audience, for me the pleasure of the film comes from the raft of classy British actors in leading or in supporting roles - seeing Peter Cushing and Joss Ackland together on screen was a delight.
The film's re-release by Second Sight Films come in a limited edition, rigid slipcase featuring gorgeous artwork by Graham Humphreys and a 40-page booklet containing contributions from John Towlson, genre expert Kat Ellinger and Dark Side Magazine's Allan Bryce. When it comes to the contents of the disc, the film looks great - although HD hasn't been kind to the flying sequence of Ingrid Pitt coming direct to camera because you can see the strings pulling her up.
In terms of special features there's everything from an extremely informative new commentary from Film Historian/Author Troy Howarth and a previously released chat track with director Peter Duffell & Author Jonathan Rigby that appeared on the Anchor Bay release of the movie.
On top of the above supplemental material there's a new interview with assistant director Mike Higgins, a vintage featurette with key cast/crew members, trailers, radio spots and, for me, always fun to see a stills gallery containing the promotional material of the film's release in all of its garish forms from around the world - a marketing tool that, today, is a dying art form.
As a newbie to the world of Amicus Films, The House that Dripped Blood serves as a delightful dip into their productions and I'll be diving deeper into their work, as should you.
Audio Commentary with Director Peter Duffell and Author Jonathan Rigby
Audio Commentary with Film Historian and Author Troy Howarth
Interview with Second Assistant Director Mike Higgins
A Rated Horror Film - Vintage featurette featuring interviews with Director Peter Duffell and Actors Geoffrey Bayldon, Ingrid Pitt and Chloe Franks
Amicus Radio Spots
Reversible sleeve featuring new artwork by Graham Humphreys and original artwork
Optional English Subtitles for the hard of hearing
Limited Edition Contents:
Rigid Slipcase Featuring New Artwork by Graham Humphreys
40 page booklet with new essays by Allan Bryce, Jon Towlson and Kat Ellinger
Reversible poster featuring new and original artwork
Region Code: B
Picture Format: HD 1080p 1.85:1
Running Time: 93 Mins Approx
The House that Dripped Blood from Second Sight Films is available on Limited Edition Blu Ray now.