The House that Dripped Blood
Director: Peter Duffell
Stars: Jon Pertwee, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and Ingrid Pitt
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons
I love the old Amicus anthologies from the 1970s. The original Tales from the Crypt film was done by them, as was the follow up: Vault of Horror. This here was their first collection of stories by Robert (Psycho) Bloch, and they followed that up with the awesome Asylum the following year. This one was one of their first and to stack the deck more in their favor, they got a ton of great actors for it. Dr. Who himself, Jon Pertwee, the two giants that all built UK rival horror house, Hammer, of course I mean Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, and the first lady of Hammer, the lovely Ingrid Pitt. So yeah, I am a fan of the film, but how is this new Blu-ray release from Scream Factory? Well, let’s find out.
There is an old house in England with a bit of a history: everyone that lived in it had very bad things happen to them. That’s the wraparound for this anthology and as such it is more than serviceable. As for the stories, the first is about a horror writer who thinks his latest killer character has come to life. There is a twist to this mystery (of course) but it works even if it is a bit over the top. The next has the awesome Peter Cushing moving into the cursed house, and while exploring the nearby town he discovers a little waxworks devoted to horror and murder. There’s a bit of backstory, a love triangle, and murder (again, of course). Sadly this one might be my least favorite of the four, but Mr. Cushing always classes up whatever he’s in, as he does here. Next is Christopher Lee as a very strict father who hires a new governess for his young, quiet, and weird daughter. He’s a bit of a jerk, but he says he has his reasons. Does he? The last one has a stuffy old horror actor (Jon Pertwee) and his hot (costar? wife? girlfriend?), played by Ingrid Pitt, moving into the old joint to do a nearby vampire movie. Dr. Who doesn’t like the wardrobe he is given, so he sets out to get his own vampire duds, and boy are they authentic.
These are classic Robert Bloch stories with Mr. Bloch’s trademarked blend of chills, mystery, puns, and fun. Nothing is all that scary, but everything doubles down on the fun aspect. Sure somethings are a bit goofy, but it always ends up putting a smile on my face. The actors all do great work and it’s always good to see the class acts well, act, and the direction is more than solid.
On to the special features Scream Factory has given us on this new Blu-ray release. First it must be said that this movie looks amazing in HD. The colors pop, the image is sharp; this is how this beautiful movie should be seen. As for the actual extras, there are two audio commentary tracks. One is with author Troy Howarth, and the other one with director Peter Duffell and author Jonathan Rigby. There is a vintage featurette about A-rated horror films that is 17 minutes long, and an interview with the second assistant director Mike Higgins that runs for nine and a half minutes. There is a collection of theatrical trailers, radio spots, a still gallery, and then a collection of other Amicus radio spots and stills.
The House that Dripped Blood is pure class and I love it. It’s like the best of Hammer, but it’s not Hammer, it’s Amicus and I am more than fine with that. It’s fun, it looks amazing, and it’s an anthology and it’s just hard not to love one of those. So yeah, I highly recommend it. Make sure you pick it up when it comes out May 8th.