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The old dark house

After some holidays out-of-town, the good William Castle returns home. In a haunted house, of course, with new friends and an old idea. New friends are represented by the "Hammer Films" that with William Castle and the "Columbia Pictures" produce the remake of a 1932’s film. The mission is very ambitious, because the original, inspired by the story "Benighted" by JB Priestley, was directed by the legendary James Whale and starring the great Boris Karloff but especially the two had recently created and given life to "Frankenstein". But despite these two monsters the movie was not very successful in the US but has a good success in Britain.
It’s perhaps for this reason that we find the "Hammer Films" among the producers of a film that shows the characteristics of the English company and the American director. An explosive mixture that generates a film, badly received by critics and which, as reported by various sources, Boris Karloff says no, to the offer to play a role.
The movie by William Castle has characters and different developments, compared to the movie by Whale. Robert Dillon who with Castle had already worked for "13 Frightened Girls!" and who writes about the same time "X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes" by Corman writes a script changing the dynamics but not the core.
The good Tom Poston is Tom Penderel an American car salesman who lives in London and who has to deliver a car to a customer, a Casper Femm, who lives in a gloomy house. And he is dead. Tom was invited by the family of the deceased to spend the night with them. It would be a good idea if the family had not made up of bizarre characters. There is the shy Cecily, there is the seductive Morgana, his a little mad uncle Potiphar, which is building an ark for a possible new flood, and there are Agatha and Jasper’s twin Casper. The relatives of the dead are obliged to stay there not to lose the inheritance, but at night, they begin to die mysteriously. After find out who is behind this bloody trail Tom must defuse a series of bombs that were placed in the watches of the house.
A black comedy that brings the American director after "Zozt!" And "13 Frightened Girls" in territories that he loves and knows well. That mix of comedy and thriller/horror that combined with his elegant way to direct and use lights creates a pleasant entertainment. A bit 'of slapstick, flashes of horror and that's it, embellished by the wonderful opening credit created by another expert of bizarre houses, that Charles Addams, the creator of the same name family.
Castle also works with a cast of big stars. Peter C.Bull, Casper and Jasper Femm, seen in the role of the Russian consul of "Dr.Strangelove", Fenella Fielding, Morgana, English icon of the fifties and sixties and other actors that have made the history of cinema, theater and British TV, as Robert Morley, Janette Scott and Joyce Grenfell.
A nice movie that suffers too much the comparison with the Whale film and especially doesn’t have due to “Hammer Film” decision any famous and bizarre gimmicks that made famous the good William Castle