There isn’t anything quite like the cinematic comfort food feeling of wrapping your eyeballs up in a good ol’ Universal Pictures classic fright flick, and baby let me tell ya, they don’t come as classic as James Whale’s 1932 ghouls n’ giggles shocker The Old Dark House!
The story for The Old Dark House concerns a sall group of rain soaked travelers seeking refuge from the deluge in…you guessed it, an old dark house! At said house they are greeted by a scared, mumbling man servant named Morgan (a heavily made up Boris Karloff) who allows them entry where they encounter the effete Horace Femm and his partially deaf sister Rebecca…two whirlwinds of off-kilter eccentricity that eventually allow our heroes to stay…but is that better than facing the storm? I’m going to go with a rock solid “no”, as the manse is chock-a-block with moldy-oldie family secrets that become a real problem after Morgan gets blotto and releases Saul Femm…a psychotic family member with a flame fetish!
The Old Dark House is as pitch perfect a film of this genre as you will ever find; it’s loaded with Gothic trappings (the locale, the deranged family, the ambiance of long shadows and stormy weather), a fantastic cast delivering spot on (and rather broad) performances, an absolutely killer set for the titular abode, and a nice balance of titters and terror. In short, this film is an absolute must own for lovers of the classics of the horror biz, or those that crave a great Gothic tale told right!
While the film is of course fantastic (and looks gorgeous courtesy of a new 4K restoration), there are a fair number of beastly bonus features to sweeten the pot for those picking up this Blu-ray. Include in this release are: commentary tracks by actress Gloria Stuart (who is full of great first hand stories of the film’s production…a rarity with a picture of this age), and James Whale biographer James Curtis (filled to the brim with historical facts about the film and it’s production), an interview with Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara about her father’s involvement with the film, an interview with film director Curtis Harrington and his role in preserving the film, and a trailer for the film’s re-release.
The Old Dark House is an essential for any horror hounds collection, and this presentation of the film is second to none. A must own!