Best Movies by Farr

The Old Dark House

The Old Dark House Poster
The Old Dark House Poster

Released

1932

Runtime

71

The Old Dark House

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What's it About

Caught in a violent storm late one night, a group of English travelers — Roger Penderell (Douglas), Philip Waverton (Massey), and his wife Margaret (Stuart) — seek shelter in the rotting ancestral home of the Femm family, along with Sir William Porterhouse (Laughton) and his escort, Gladys DuCane (Bond). Plagued by sinister psychoses, the Femm household is attended by hulking, possibly malevolent butler Morgan (Karloff), and it isn't long before the weary, rain-soaked refugees realize they are stranded in a mansion peopled by crazed maniacs.

Why we love it

One of Whale's most indispensable horror films, "House" marries dark wit with bizarre, wonderfully eerie scenarios involving the three Femm children: addled aesthete Horace Femm (Ernest Thesiger), his fanatically Christian sister Rebecca (Eva Moore), and older brother Saul (Brember Wills), a pyromaniac kept under lock and key — usually. Karloff, in his first big role, is memorably ghoulish as a gin-swilling servant, but Thesiger and Moore play the demented siblings to sinister effect. Inspired camerawork, spooky lighting, and brilliant ensemble acting from the whole cast put a sardonic twist on this sublime tale of gothic lunacy.