365horror

The Legend of Hell House

by on Jun.03, 2010, under Daily Review

I cannot emphasise how good this film is. It’s not just a great film, it’s probably the greatest ghost film ever made which is a strong term when classed alongside The Innocents and the Haunting: This for me is the finest of them all.

A simple yet effective plot which is solid as it is obvious. A team of ghost hunters spend some time in a huge haunted house in order to gain evidence of supernatural activity. So we’ve heard this plot before? Yes, but this film is a whole new ball game to what we’ve seen prior. This is 1973. The film is groundbreaking, beautiful and engrossing. Mesmerising in fact.

From the opening scene, we are straight into the plot. No slow build up to this one, so room for lengthy character generation and tension and history. This is right in there. Within the first few scenes we are in the house with a séance taking place, a few scenes later and we have stuff flying around rooms, possessions and apparitions. The character generation is applied through the events which happen within the house and although the film has a real dream like quality, the film rockets along at such an aerie pace, it injects pure creepiness into the mind of the viewer, a terrifying experience which clings and leaves you wanting more. There are absolutely no laughs here, this is as close to experiencing a true supernatural experience as you will ever get.

The film itself looks absolutely glorious, one of the finest looking films I have ever seen. Comparitable to Suspiria: huge praise I know, but this has got to be one of the greatest films of its genre and probably one of the most underrated. My only reason for its underratedness has to be the dreadful video/DVD box cover, and the title is slightly questionable.

The cast are stunning. Pam Franklin is obviously the highlight here. Amazing performance, and last seen on these pages in The Innocents, but she’s all grown up now and what presence she has. Clive Revill, Gail Hunnicutt and Roddy McDowall all offer brilliant performances here too. Probably McDowall’s best role outside Planet of the Apes.

Based on a Rich Matheson novel with accompanying screenplay, John Hough (Twins of Evil & Incubus) Directs his cast into outstanding performances which is gripping to watch. Cinematographer, Alan Hume (Lifeforce) here creates some legendary shots with plenty of green and red lighting, each frame is perfectly balanced making plenty of use of the screen, from obscure angles and close-ups to swirling spinning scenes of madness.

I can’t speak more highly of this film. I encourage you all to buy and view this movie, and promise you will not be disappointed.  

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