Sunday 3 January 2021

House of the Long Shadows

House of the Long Shadows
Brash, materialistic American writer Kenneth Magee (Desi Arnaz, Jr.) accepts a bet from his publisher Sam Allyson (Richard Todd) that he can write a gothic classic of the calibre of Wuthering Heights in 24 hours given the right atmosphere.  Relocating to a supposedly deserted manor house in Wales named, 'Bllyddpaetwr Manor' where in its gloomy corridors he meets the eccentric Grisbane family and learns their terrible secret.

Made seemingly with the sole purpose of finally getting four horror icons Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine onto the big screen together which is an absolute pleasure to see with each playing very much to type - Price in particular letting rip with his customary OTT style - with each making a memorable entrance from the shadows but unfortunately there is little else to recommend here.  

Director Pete Walker ('The Flesh and Blood Show' (UKUS)) and screenwriter Michael Armstrong's 'comedy' horror is a wasted opportunity all round with a paper thin plot and unfunny jokes cobbled together within an adaptation of the novel / play / movies Seven Keys to Baldpate.

Arnaz and Julie Peasgood (as Allyson's secretary Mary) have neither the chops nor the presence to carry the film and the presence of the four greats cannot make up for some very poor acting and the woeful script that inflicts on us an ending that will make you want to kick your TV screen in.  It is though the one time that we got to see Cushing, Price, Lee and Carradine together on screen and for that reason and pretty much only that reason it's worth at least a watch.

Buy it here - UK / US.


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