The Old Dark House (1963)

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Keeping with the theme set by my previous post on a lost Australian gem, I would like to share another ‘lost’ film that is perhaps one of the most unusual pictures that I have ever seen. The Old Dark House was found in the vault at Universal Studios after thirty years M.I.A. and I can safely say that I am thankful to whoever uncovered it. It mixes a fantastic combination of comedy and horror as it follows a collection of people who have taken shelter in an old, almost dilapidated, mansion in Wales; it is based on the novel ‘Benighted’, which was originally written by JB Priestley.

The family who lives in the mansion are a colourful bunch of misfits includes the ultimately camp Horace, his dead sister, their father who has lived for well over a century, the fire-obsessed brother who is held prisoner in his own attic, and the butler who has a habit of getting blind drunk. The Femm family is filled with hilarity and witty dialogue, which all adds to the appeal of this, almost lost, classic.

Despite the comedic elements, there is still an eeriness to the whole affair and a dose of creepiness to savour. I highly recommend this to anybody who wants an old classic to pass the time – Boris Karloff is a wonder.

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