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The Legend of Hell House (1973)

Roddy McDowall , Gayle Hunnicutt , John Hough  |  PG |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Roddy McDowall, Gayle Hunnicutt, Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill, Roland Culver
  • Directors: John Hough
  • Writers: Richard Matheson
  • Producers: Albert Fennell, James H. Nicholson, Norman T. Herman, Susan Hart
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 4.0), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2001
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005LIRD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,810 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Legend of Hell House" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

In sits there, shrouded in mist and mystery, a nesting place for living evil and terror from the dead. It's Hell House. Roddy McDowall heads the cast of this exciting chiller about four psychic investigators and the dark, brooding mansion they themselves call "the Mt. Everest of haunted houses." It's already destroyed one team of researchers. Now this brave quartet ventures in for another try at unraveling its secret. But before they succeed, they must suffer through madness, murder and everything else the spirits that dwell here have in store for them. Yet learning the truth just might drive them all insane. An ingeniously-devised ghost story, THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE will thrill and delight veteran horror fans from the first creaking door to the very last slithering shadow.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very scary! July 13, 2000
By Ed N
Format:VHS Tape
"The Legend of Hell House" freaked me out as a child. I could barely go to sleep after the first time I saw it on TV. Yet thereafter, everytime it came on, despite the fact that I was scared to death of this movie, I always tried to watch it (under a blanket cover, of course). It is probably one of the most frightening movies, haunted house or not, ever made. It relies on the bare minimal of special effects but rather gets its chills from the eerie cinematography and sound and the uniformly solid performances from the actors. The film has a deadly serious tone to it, which makes it all the more scary, unlike such modern junk like the new "Haunting" or the "Scream" series. In fact, I would consider this film the equal of the original "Haunting" and "The Changeling" in terms of haunted house movies.
The plot is this: a small group of people is hired by an eccentric millionaire to determine if there is indeed life after death. The millionaire assigns them to investigate a notoriously haunted house in order to provide him with an answer within the week. The group consists of a scientist and his wife and two mediums; one guess whether they are all alive by the end of the film. By the way, this is not a slasher movie at all. It is almost a psychological film, which is probably why it may give you nightmares after you see it. But definitely see it, especially if you are in the mood for an honest scare.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Short List of Best Haunted House Movies! February 15, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I'm very gratified, having read the other reviews of this film on Amazon.com, to see THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE getting its due. This is truly one of the best haunted house movies there is. Everyone is "right on" to place this with Robert Wise's THE HAUNTING and Clayton's THE INNOCENTS. Oddly, THE UNINVITED now tends to seem a bit dated while these other three films hold their impact well. For the modern jaded youth, HELL HOUSE has the added "advantage" of being a color film, though in style both INNOCENTS and HAUNTING are visually superior. HELL HOUSE may suffer by virtue of its budget, but not in much else. Richard Matheson's story (the novel IS very good) is mysterious and fascinating and perhaps more fully formed in some ways than that of THE HAUNTING.
The premises of HELL HOUSE and THE HAUNTING are similar enough to make one wonder about cross-pollenation, but the truth is that the stories and their handling are quite different. All 3 films deal in some form with repressed sexuality. Pamela Franklin was a child actor when she (coincidentally) turned in her exceptional performance in THE INNOCENTS. Now as a young woman medium in HELL HOUSE it is her sexuality which plays a key role in the unravelling of the Belasco mystery.

HELL HOUSE has flaws pertaining mainly to a tinge of melodrama in its execution, but overall it sits very comfortably in company with THE HAUNTING (NOT the new version) and THE INNOCENTS, and if these reviews serve any purpose I assume that the overwhelming recommendation of this film will encourage new viewers to see this movie and enjoy what it has to offer.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of those rare horror flicks that will actually scare the pants off you. I read the book years ago, and it somehow escaped me that this movie even existed. I bought it immediately when I saw that Matheson himself wrote the screenplay, and let me tell you, it all works. The actors really stepped up to the plate on this one and delivered a real bone-chilling performance. I find this doubly impressive given the low budget and economical use of special effects. bravo.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable haunted house thriller December 9, 2005
Format:DVD
Any haunted house thriller owes a huge debt to Shirley Jackson's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and Robert Wise's different but equally evocative film "The Haunting". "The Legend of Hell House" based on Richard Matheson's bestselling novel (and a homage to Jackson)is turned into a no nonsense thriller by director John Hough. Featuring distorted camera angles, strong performances and (thankfully)a complete absence of CGI effects, "House" is still highly atmospheric and effective 32 years later. Those that are looking for gore and a lack of subtly and intelligence are instructed to purchase/rent the latest version of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" instead.

Dr. Lionel Barrett (Clive Revill)a physicist who has been studying the paranormal is given a plum assignment; prove to the new owner of the Belasco House that there is life after death by documenting the supernatural occurances there within a week and receive 100,000 pounds. He'll also get the funds to complete his new device designed to measure psychic activity scientifically prior to embarking on his mission to "Hell House". Barrett is saddled with Benjamin Fischer (Roddy McDowall) a psychic who was the only survivor of the last attempt to study Hell House and Florence Tanner a young medium. Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt)Lionel's wife insists on accompanying him on this difficult and dangerous investigation. What they discover defies explanation and what they discover about the house and Belasco himself is frightening and surprising.

Hough's stylish direction makes up for the slim budget of the film and the strong performances by veterans of British screen and stage add a grim sense of reality to the events.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Legend of Hell House
Product arrived in what looks to be excellent condition but have not viewed this DVD yet so I cannot comment on its content. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Jimmy C.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great one from the vaults***
I've been a classic buff for quite sometime, and this film is by far one of my favorite's***If you enjoy the classics like I do, then I'd suggest this one for your collection***
Published 21 days ago by Eddie Szymborski
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE
THIS IS THE ORIGINAL. THE REMAKES ARE NOT AS GOOD. RODDY McDOWALL... IS AT HIS BEST. JUST AS GOOD AS HIS PERFORMANCE IN PLANET OF THE APES
Published 1 month ago by MR.K
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the scariest movies I have ever seen.
It would have been nice though to have seen it in its entirety. The movie abruptly ended shortly after the professor's wife arrived and the doors to the nursery opened of their own... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Parsley
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent visual adaptation
I loved the book by Richard Matheson. The movie doesn't really do the book justice, but it's a classic must-see for the aficionado of older, obscure horror.
Published 1 month ago by Jake
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Haunted House Thriller
A great story which keeps your attention. I own the DVD, but it is worth seeing in HD, which I could find nowhere else but here on Amazon. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eric Bushmaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky!
Love this movie ... very spooky ... Roddy McDowell is very good ... if you have seen and liked The Haunting (1963) I'm sure you will enjoy this one also.
Published 3 months ago by R. Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Creepy
I first saw this at eight years old as the opening feature for The Omen. It's much scarier, in an atmospheric dread sense, than The Omen and the pacing is slow enough to draw you... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Arnold Dion
4.0 out of 5 stars Old fashion terror
Old school scare tactics but very well done. Music and acting are excellent. It proves a good ghost story can be done without today's computer graphics. Read more
Published 5 months ago by razins
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, poor quality transfer
I purchased this movie from Amazon so no chance this is a fake DVD. The movie is one of my favorite on this topic but the transfer is poor. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rodney C. Wilson
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