Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE


THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE (1973). Director: John Hough.

A group of parapsychologists come to investigate the haunted Belasco house, known as "The Mount Everest of haunted houses" as part of a paid experiment to see if there really is life after death. The last investigating team were all killed except for one man, Ben Fischer (Roddy McDowall), who is going along on this trip as well. Also in the party are scientist Lionel Barrett (Clive Revill), his wife Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt), and the psychic Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin), who is convinced that the strong presence of the dead old owner Emeric Belasco is permeating and corrupting the spooky mansion. The film has a choppy continuity, but it's also suspenseful, absorbing, and quite creepy at times. McDowell and Franklin give particularly good performances, and Michael Gough has a notable guest appearance. Based on a novel by Richard Matheson, who also did the screenplay.

Verdict: Watch after midnight with a friend. ***.

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