Movie Name: The House that Dripped Blood
Studio: Amicus Productions
Release Date(s): February 22, 1971 (UK)/March 31, 1971 (US)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Inspector Holloway (John Bennett) is called to investigate the disappearance of Paul Henderson (Jon Pertwee) but learns the real problem might not be the missing actor but the home itself. Holloway learns the home’s troubled past from a writer (Denholm Elliot) who fears he’s going crazy, a man (Peter Cushing) and his friend (Neville Rogers) obsessed with a local wax museum, and a new teacher (Nyree Dawn Porter) who has been summoned by a father (Christopher Lee) to teach his young daughter (Chloe Franks). Paul Henderson’s disappearance might be the most recent, and it might not be the last!!!
Directed by Peter Duffell, The House that Dripped Blood is an British horror anthology. The film features four stories “Method for Murder”, “Waxworks”, “Sweets to the Sweet”, and “The Cloak”. The film received positive reviews and a relatively strong box office return.
Anthology films are fun but anthology horror films are really fun. I have always enjoyed shows like The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt, and Night Gallery and comics like The House of Secrets and The House of Mystery where the horror is short and sweet…it is often better than the longer form which often feels like filler. The House that Dripped Blood is a good film in that stylish tradition.
Like most anthologies the horror is sometimes unbalanced. “Method for Murder” is a fun classic horror type story (with a predictable ending). “Waxworks” is also predictable but a rather dull entry in the series. I always like creepy kids and “Sweets to the Sweet” is a fun story and “The Cloak” is the obligatory funny story in the horror anthology…which is odd because the funny story generally isn’t last in a horror anthology (there is a more horrific topper to it). All entries have an EC Comics feel to them and in general are fun.
The cast is also quite strong. The movie wanted Vincent Price to add to the collection (but he was locked in to his contract). Even though Price isn’t involved, they have classic horror actors Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in starring roles. Denholm Elliott stars in the first tale and Doctor Who’s John Pertwee holds down the final act (there is even a nod to Doctor Who with a picture of his car Bessie snuck in at the studio). The main leads also have good leading females with Joanna Duhnam, Nyree Dawn Porter, and Ingrid Pitt plays the female costars.
Though it isn’t a Hammer film, it has a Hammer feel. There isn’t really any bloody shots, nor are there any real horrific jumps…it is just solid gothic “haunting” horror. The gore and guts might not be there, but it still is fun.
The House that Dripped Blood is another entry in a long line of fun anthology films. It doesn’t provide much new to the genre, nor are any of the stories much of a surprise, but that doesn’t take away from the fun. I’m always up for a good anthology, and The House that Dripped Blood provides.