Tuesday, October 19, 2010

13 Nights of Hallowe'en 2010: Night #1 The Legend of Hell House

Hello and welcome to the first of the 13 Nights of Hallowe'en in 2010. Our first movie is The Legend of Hell House (1973). This is a hard one to pindown because there are other very similar movies, but this is the one based on the Richard Matheson novel of the same name and Matheson wrote the screenplay as well. A scientist--descriptions call him a physicist but essentially a parapsychologist--takes people to a supposedly haunted house to determine if there is life beyond death. A very popular plotline. So why this movie? Well for starters it's Matheson who brought us a lot of great novels and screenplays. Without spoiling anything this is a nicely atmospheric haunting movie. What I particularly like about it is the equipment Mr. Barrett uses in his investigation. The inclusion of Mrs. Barrett and what that adds is interesting as well.

It's easy to see what other movies the Hell House storyline has influenced. I won't go into most of them for the sake of those seeing this for the first time. It's not a direct comparison since he is not the psychic so I can tell you that I see Roddy McDowall's Benjamin Fischer as an influence on Matthew Lillard's Dennis Rafkin in Thir13en Ghosts. At the same time it's hard to deny the influence of Hell House on Stephen King's Rose Red. The film is considered a British horror movie despite Matheson's script. Most of it happens within the house so that doesn't really tie its location either. What is more telling about this production is that technology I mentioned before. While its purpose and inner makings might be timeless the outer design certainly wasn't. It was purely by happenstance that this first movie of the festivities is the oldest. Enjoy!

Mood: excited.

Music: Welcome To My Nightmare by Alice Cooper. MP3s

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