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The Legend of Hell House

Horror movie directed by John Hough

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spellbinding horror masterpiece

  • Sep 6, 2005
Rating:
+3
LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE is a genuinely-terrifying entry into the `haunted house' genre, based on the book "Hell House" by Richard Matheson. The shocks and surprises are brilliantly-executed and just as harrowing for the audience as they are for the on-screen victims.

Barrett (Clive Revill) leads an expedition into the infamous `Hell House', the mission being to complete a total spiritual cleansing of the area. He's joined by his wife Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt), young and idealistic medium Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin) and Ben Fischer (Roddy McDowall), who took part in the previous attempt to exorcise the house 15 years ago and was the sole member to emerge unscathed.

Slowly but surely, the effects of the house and the unspeakable horrors that ocurred within it's walls succeed in turning the members of the team against one another. Outstanding acting from all concerned but the big standout is Pamela Franklin (who could win a Nicola Pagett look-alike contest) and lights up the screen in her performance as the sincere young medium who is deceived into aiding the wrong side. Gayle Hunnicutt makes the most out of the least-developed and passive character in the piece, who becomes a raving nymphomanic in one of the most memorable scenes. Roddy McDowall is amazing as the world-weary Ben, and Clive Revill brings a good dose of sensibility to Barrett. The DVD is presented in a crisp 16:9 print. Colours are very rich and black levels are good and deep. The ahead-of-its-time electronic score is provided by Brian Hodgson and Delia Derbyshire. One of the greatest horror-thrillers ever made.

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More The Legend of Hell House reviews
review by . October 07, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****    I am starting to get the feeling that Richard Matheson's novels and short stories don't make very good movies most of the time. The material either gets overly extended or feels too restrained, with few cinematic storytellers being able to distinguish a difference between the two. Matheson adapted his own material for "The Legend of Hell House", which should be an indicator that the film is better than most adaptations just for that, although I'm not too sure. …
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Byron Kolln ()
Ranked #146
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Four people enter the Belasco Mansion, the so-called "Everest of haunted houses," hired by a dying millionaire to investigate the possibility of life after death. Physicist Clive Revill leads the quartet, which includes his wife Gayle Hunnicut and two mediums. Pamela Franklin, young and impulsive, immediately makes contact with what she perceives as a tortured spirit, while Roddy McDowall, the only survivor from the previous investigation 20 years ago, closes himself off completely, deathly afraid of the malevolent forces that crushed his former comrades in body and spirit. Science fiction and horror legend Richard Matheson, responsible for penning such horror classics asThe Devil Rides Outand Roger Corman'sThe Pit and the Pendulum, brings a literate sensibility and a refreshing seriousness to the haunted-house genre with this adaptation of his novelHell House. Director John Hough follows Matheson's lead with a moody but sober approach, balancing the physical threats of objects lethally leaping to life with the slow, subtle possession of the characters by a truly evil spirit. Parts of the script feel like so much scientific mumbo jumbo, with characters discussing the finer points of supernatural manifestation and ectoplasmic activity, but Hough's deliberate direction gives it the necessary solemnity to take it all seriously.--Sean Axmaker
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Details

Director: John Hough
Genre: Horror
Screen Writer: Richard Matheson
DVD Release Date: September 4, 2001
Runtime: 95 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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