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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 7- The Old Dark House (1932)

Directed by the legendary James Whale less than a year after his success with Frankenstein, The Old Dark House features a few names that people might recognize, such as Boris Karloff and Gloria Stuart (who 65 years later would play the 100 year old Rose Dawson in James Cameron's Titanic).

The story is about two different groups of people that get stranded during a storm while travelling in a remote region of Wales. All of these travelers are taken in for the night by the very strange Femm family. This family includes the host, Horace Femm (played by Ernest Thesiger), as well as his religious fanatic of a sister, Rebecca, their bed-ridden 102-year old father, their psychotic pyromaniac brother Saul (who spends the majority of the movie locked up in the house), and their alcoholic mute butler, Morgan (played by Boris Karloff).

During the movie, it seems like everything that could go wrong does for the stranded travelers. Morgan gets drunk and goes on a rampage, brutally beating anyone he comes into contact with and smashing windows, and the psychotic brother Saul escapes and attempts to murder the travelers and set the house on fire.

At the time this movie was made, it was not received terribly well in the U.S., but was very well received in England, James Whale's native country. In modern times, however, it has been seen in a more positive light and is considered a staple for anyone interested in classic gothic horror films.

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