Blu-ray Review: The House That Dripped Blood

There’s always tales of cursed property which often sounds outlandish. Until it happens to you. Or someone you knew. In my case, it was a pal who killed himself in his condo. Nobody knew he was dead for about a month. It was sort of a shocker. But the bigger shock came a year later when the local news reported a man who had killed his wife and a children. When they cut to the reporter at the location, I immediately recognized it as my pal’s condo. Strangely enough the local news while covering the murders never mentioned the suicide. Would the real estate agent mention the fate of the previous tenants to any prospective occupants? Amicus’ House That Dripped Blood is an anthology film that covers a cursed house over the last four people that dared to move inside and enjoy the countryside.

The movie features four short films with a framing device of a Scotland Yard’s Inspector Holloway (The Fifth Element‘s John Bennett) arriving to discuss the disappearance of an actor. What he learns from the real estate agent (Blake’s 7‘s John Bryan) is that there’s been unusual things from another three people who received the key on the country estate. The first involved the time a writer (Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s Denholm Elliott) and his wife settled in so he can write his new novel. He created a killer character so real, he fears the man has arrived in reality. The next tenant was a retiree (Star Wars‘ Peter Cushing) who just wanted to listen to music. Except things get weird when he visits the nearby wax museum of horror and sees a familiar face. Later he gets an unexpected guest from his past. Later he mysteriously disappears too. The next renter turns out to be a widower (Lord of the Rings‘ Christopher Lee) and his daughter. They hire a teacher (From Beyond the Grave‘s Nyree Dawn Porter) who thinks dad’s tough love with his kid is too much and sneaks around the rules. She realizes unfortunately that there’s a reason for the rules too late. And then we get to the disappearing tenant that brought the inspector to town. A famous actor (Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor Who) is in the area to make a vampire film at a nearby studio. He rents the place to be close enough to work and far enough away to relax. He also enjoy the company of his co-star (Countess Dracula‘s Ingrid Pitt). His desire to have an authentic looking vampire cape leads to unexpected consequences for himself and ultimately the Inspector.

The script for the movie was written by Robert Bloch (Psycho) based on four stories he had written for magazines including Weird Tales. The stories work well together with the house not being completely responsible for the supernatural wickedness. This isn’t like the Amityville house. What really makes this Amicus production such fun to watch is that it uses the stars of Hammer Horror. While Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee don’t share the screen, they set the mood for the horror on the screen. Jon Pertwee is able to go beyond his Doctor Who persona as he loses his cool on the set and flirts hard with Ingrid. If you pay attention, you’ll see Jonathan Lynn working at the studio. He’d star in Doctor in the House and direct Clue. It’s easy to think Amicus was a company that tried to rip off Hammer. But like House, Amicus had their films take place in contemporary settings unlike Hammer’s period action. They weren’t making low budget knock offs so much as taking advantage of the amazing talent England had to offer. The House That Dripped Blood captures the nightmare of real estate with a cast that you don’t want to check out.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer is the cleanest I’ve ever seen of the film.. Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio Mono. The levels bring out the creeks inside the house and the horrors of the unfortunate tenants. The movie is subtitled.

Director’s Commetary has Peter Duffell talking with Jonathan Rigby. Duffell is excited to discuss all that went into the film. The big part of his talk is news that Pertwee’s part was originally offered to Vincent Price. Duffell recently passed away so it’s good that he was allowed to delve into his work. There’s a second commentary with author Troy Howarth that gives more detail about the actors.

A-Rated Horror Film (17:03) is a standard def piece from 2003. Peter Duffell, Geoffrey Bayldon, Ingrid Pitt and Chloe Franks discuss the film. Duffell talks about how Amicus was good at hiring new directors. Pitt was cast from previously working with Jon Pertwee on Dr. Who. Franks mentions approaching play Christopher Lee’s daughter.

Mike Higgins Interview (9:29) features the second assistant director. He breaks down how they could hire big actors since they only needed them for four or five days.

Theatrical Trailers (3:38) sets up the fear of the house and the terror.

Radio Spots (3:28) will scare you as you drive around town.

Image Gallery (5:04) is a montage of production photos and promotional materials.

Amicus Radio Spots (14:08) contains a gallery of images from 12 of their productions. You might want to pick up Scream Factory’s Blu-ray of Tales From the Crypt/Vault of Horror afterward.

Scream Factory presents The House That Dripped Blood. Directed by: Peter Duffell. Screenplay by: Robert Bloch & Russ Jones. Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Jon Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt. Rated: PG. Running Time: 102 minutes. Released: May 8, 2018.

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