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The Legend of Hell House [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

It sits here, 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 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 secrets. But before they succeed, they must suffer through madness, murder and everything else that the spirits who 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

  • New Interview With Director John Hough
  • New Audio Commentary With Actress Pamela Franklin
  • Theatrical Trailer

    Product Details

    • Actors: Roddy McDowall, Pamela Franklin
    • Directors: John Hough
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC
    • Language: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      Parental Guidance Suggested
    • Studio: Shout! Factory
    • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014
    • Run Time: 95 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00JHH22O4
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,036 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 26, 2014
    Format: Blu-ray
    Horror or suspense movies that take place in haunted houses are tough to do. The remake of "The Haunting", for example, managed to be too literal and show too much which undermined its effectiveness especially compared to Robert Wise's spare, stark original film which was much more about atmosphere.

    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.
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    15 Comments 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Blu-ray
    OK -- this review, even though I see it is now FINALLY out on DVD & BLU-RAY (yeaaahhh!) -- is based on when I saw it in the theaters back in the early 70's ...

    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 ...
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    1 Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: Blu-ray
    So my guess is the immediate question is what is number one? That is reserved for, and always will be in my mind, Robert Wise' THE HAUNTING. That movie set the stage for haunted house films. The great thing is that this movie tips its hat to that film in the extras. This is not to say that his film doesn't deserve great rewards though. It stands out as an amazing movie in the genre, filled with enough scares to haunt your dreams and enough great moments to deserve a spot in the horror hall of fame.

    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).
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