The Old Dark House (1963)


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.

The Lost Australian Horror Film

We all love the aura that surrounds a long lost film. We love the idea that something is existing out there, untouched by human eyes and waiting in the shadows for someone to discover. The thought of this wets our appetites and intrigues us greatly. Our interest grows further when we discover that this long lost film is described as being beautifully calibrated in a “..visually, dramatically, atmospherically and psychologically..” pleasing way by Martin Scorcese. The trouble is that lost films are rarely found; thankfully, Wake in Fright does not conform to this. 

The film depicts a teachers descent in to madness while being confined to the outback. It is highly regarded enough to receive a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and the story of how it was discovered again is no less than remarkable. 

After years of searching, Tony Buckley, the films editor, tracked it down to a warehouse where it was distributed across two large boxes both labelled, ‘FOR DESTRUCTION’. If he had arrived any later, the film would of been destroyed in a mass clear out – the man is a hero!

It is worth noting that the film also premiered at Cannes Film Festival in 1971. Do you need any more reasons to go and check this out? I will give you one anyway – Donald Pleasance is in it. 


The First Horror Film

With ongoing posts about Nosferatu and The Caninet of Dr Caligari it is easy to think that these two films were the beginning of what we know as ‘horror’ today. To assume this would be wrong. That is however, depending on what you define as ‘horror’.  

Below is a link to, what is believed to be, the first recorded ‘horror’ film; the movie was made in 1896. The film is called Le Manoir Du Diable and it was directed by Georges Melies. 
Watch Film Here

The film clearly intends to provoke a comedic reaction as opposed to fear from the audience; this is often why some people do not accept Melies’ 3-minute film as the first ever ‘horror’ film.


Facts About Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu is a classic and I could watch it on repeat. It was not until recently that I stumbled upon this page. My personal favourite is the fact about the rats. It looks like The Men Behind The Sun was not the only film to treat them badly! Imagine PETA’s reaction today! 

Check out all the interesting facts at the link below:

Nosferatu – Things you didn’t know