Sunday 16 May 2021

The Haunted House of Horror

Wyrd Britain reviews The Haunted House of Horror.

Director Michael Armstrong's 1969 debut feature 'The Haunted House of Horror' (also known as 'Horror House') has become well known as an example of studio hackery over directorial vision as his taut proto-slasher was re-edited and added to by studio (Tigon) dictat turning it into a bit of an overlong and meandering mess.

It's late 60s London and a group of pretty young things bored by their own party head off to a derelict and supposedly haunted house to hold a séance where one of them is brutally murdered.  Realising there's a murdering lunatic among them they decide to simply cover it all up and hope for the best which of course is exactly what doesn't happen.

At its core is a solid thriller with some strong performances from much of its cast especially Jill Haworth - who made a few horrors around this time including 'Tower of Evil' - but one has to wonder if some of Armstrong's original casting choices - including David Bowie as 'Richard' - would have made for a stronger movie with US popstar Frankie Avalon - cast at the insistence of US investor AIP - making for a very ineffective lead right up to his eye-watering end and both the subplot featuring a stalkery George Sewell and the final reveal drag somewhat but this is a movie that despite its many flaws I have a real soft spot for although it is tinged with a hankering for what could have been.

Buy it here - UK / US.


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