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The Legend of Hell House [Blu-ray]
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Richard Matheson's novel ("Hell House")and screenplay for "The Legend of Hell House" was something of a homage to Shirley Jackson's novel "The Haunting of Hill House" (and Robert Wise's classic film adapted from it "The Haunting"). The two novels and films have the same basic premise but go in different directions with them.
Physicist Lionel Barrett (Clive Reville)is hired to investigate the possibility of life after death. The location selected is that of the Belasco House once owned by the imposing Emeric Belasco. According to legend, Belasco was a sexual pervert who tortured his victims and their spirits supposedly still reside inside its walls.
Barrett hires two different mediums to participate in the experiment with him and his wife ((Gayle Hunnicutt). The first psychic is Ben Fischer (the late Roddy MacDowall)a survivor of a previous experiment in the house who reluctantly agrees to participate because he needs the money. The second Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin)has her own motivation for wanting to join the party.
Shout Factory does a nice job of renovating Hell House for its Blu-ray debut. The film has never looked quite this good--images are quite nice with depth and there's little to no debris evident in this transfer. There are occasionally small scratches and speckles but, on the whole, the film looks quite nice.Read more ›
That said ...... in terms of being the two scariest films I'd ever seen; despite being filmed & released theatrically a decade apart ...
... there first came director ROBERT WISE'S 'THE HAUNTING' (1963) from the novel 'The Haunting of Hill House' by Shirley Jackson and then --
-- director JOHN HOUGH'S 'THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE' (1973) from (alas, the recently late and forever great) Richard Matheson's novel / screenplay 'Hell House'. (FYI: He gave us the oh-so-Vampire-epic novel 'I Am Legend' -- that became the films 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH', 'THE OMEGA MAN' & 'I AM LEGEND')
I share these credits by Mr. Matheson because when you had him writing your screenplay of his novels, you had one of the best.
SPOILER ALERT: And, so -- please forgive the rambling as part of this review comes from the eyes and memories of a then 14 year old boy and so, I best jump to the proverbial chase. This film, had not a single CGI effect (not invented yet) -- nor was there a man in a ghost suit (if ever they made one, that is ...) -- nupe .... 'THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE' relied on the best special effects ever created:
a) What you HEARD on the sound-track (from an electronic music score and sound effects created by Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson) and --
b) Then what your BRAIN SAW in your IMAGINATION from what the film's perfectlly casted actors reacted to (Roddy McDowell, Clive Revill, Gayle Hunnicutt, Pamela Franklin and as 'Emeric Belasco' aka, the notorious "Roaring Giant" -- Michael Gough ...Read more ›
If you've never seen the movie this is your chance. Shout Factory has gone out of their way to present the film in all of its eerie glory with a transfer that doesn't overly clean up the print but allows it to retain that fog shrouded walk to the house as it was first seen and presents it much as I recall seeing it that first time as a second billed film at the drive in. Too bad they didn't realize that the better film that night was this one, so good that I can't even recall what the first movie was after all these years.
The story takes place in the Belasco house, a home said to contain the most evil of spirits. The current owner employs Dr. Barrett (Clive Revill) to give him conclusive proof that there is or is not life after death. To do so he gives him one week inside the house with all expenses to get his equipment there. He also insists that a select team accompany Barrett including a psychic named Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin) and the only survivor of a previous effort to the house, Benjamin Fischer (Roddy McDowell). If they make it through the week and return with the answers he seeks, each will be paid handsomely.
Joining the group is Barrett's wife Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie without modern day special affects. Very well donePublished 4 months ago by Dan Wienckoski
A good 70s haunted house film. Great atmosphere & a performance by Roddy McDowall. You don't really get to see much, a lot of things are left to your imagination but what you do... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Darkness
Meh. I had watched this long ago, and at the time found it very spooky. So I bought it - and am somewhat disappointed. Read morePublished 8 months ago by N. Miller
Excellent haunted house movie without all the digital effects and gore (until the end and it's not much). Read morePublished 8 months ago by J. Osullivan
The Legend Of Hell House comes to Hi Definition Blu-ray. This perhaps is one of the best Haunted House movies made. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Leland
It turns out this is what Scary Movie 2 is based off of. I've never seen this until today. I love older scary movies and this one was pretty good overall. Read morePublished 10 months ago by I. Arch
Considering this movie was made in the 70's, not a bad show. However, if you haven't read the novel, you may be lost on a lot of the plot. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Robert E. Collins