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The Legend of Hell House

237 customer reviews

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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.

Special Features


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
  • Dubbed: French, 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 (237 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005LIRD
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,464 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Legend of Hell House" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Ed N on July 13, 2000
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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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By S. H. Towsley on February 15, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I'm very gratified, having read the other reviews of this film on, 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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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Carlos Dot Danger on November 5, 2006
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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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