Friday, May 23, 2008

THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR - The Pretty Things - Reg Tilsley - "The Dark" (1969)

It's Friday night and it's time to rock!!! Long overdue for the credit it deserves as being one of the first ever 'slasher' movies, and almost impossible to find anywhere, "The Haunted House Of Horror" is a killer movie on a number of levels. The location is Mod Carnaby Street London 1969, and most of the rockin' music (too bad a lot of the time it's way in the background) is by one of the most underrated and coolest longhair bands of the 60's, The Pretty Things!! Just like the theme, when the Pretty Things weren't rocking the joint, the background music you'll hear was provided by composer Reg Tilsley, who also wrote the music for a couple of Benny Hill episodes among his other many accomplishments!!

1960's ballad singer turned actor Mark Wynter belts out what sounds like a classic drunken pub tune written by Peter Marcus, entitled "Responsibility"!!

This movie is so odd, you've got Frankie Avalon in the starring role as Chris. At this point Frankie's beach party movies were a good 4 or 5 years behind him, and his career consisted of mostly TV shows. It's shocking right from the beginning watching him smoke and drink and talk about his drug arrests, and all that's long before the blood starts flowing, but somehow this movie is just not recognized for it's very early effort in the 'slasher' movie genre, even though it's about young people, has multiple gruesome killings, and has an unsuspected killer with at least a couple of personalities!! This movie is much more related to "Halloween" and "Friday The 13th" than "Psycho" is, and last but not least, it's in color and there's real honest to goodness rock and roll!!! So, what's up with all that? How come this movie doesn't get the praise heaped on it that it deserves, and instead, for all rights and purposes, the master copy probably doesn't even exist anymore for all we know!!! Wha'Happen??? I don't get it!!! All we know is after you hear this music, you're not only going to want to find a copy of this film, but you're also going to be wanting to hear some more of The Pretty Things, one of the best bands of the 60's, period!! Try not stomping your foot along with this party music!!

Let's not forget to give Cinematographer Jack Atcheler a big hand for his part in the awesome look of this film!! "Look, it's a hole!"

Still to this day, one of our favorite things to do is get drunk and have a seance in a haunted house!

Gina Warwick as Sylvia needs to answer some questions!! "Yes, Please come in!!"

Jill Haworth as Sheila comes into this very chic club to talk to Chris and the Inspector as some band wails "A Very Cool Tune" in the background! It looks like the name on the drum is Jazz Mine or something like that! Oh, yeah, nice outfits, and how about the fact that their friend was just violently murdered but Chris is still horny and he smiles a lot!!

This really nice shot is for all you Frankie Avalon fans!!!!

Here we have Chris and Richard portrayed by Julian Barnes face off!! It's up to you to decide who the real psycho is!! It's said that David Bowie was originally chosen for the role of Richard, but that A.I.P. felt that David and Frankie Avalon would clash on screen!! Aw!!! Too bad!!!! Like this flick isn't cool enough already!!!!!

"The Haunted House Of Horror" is definitely worth searching out. The only place I could find a copy of it on the whole Internet was on sold by the seller named 'sirrastus.' Just go there and do a search, he has pretty dang nice copies! I don't even like 'slasher' films, but this classic horror fest has got it all, conceptually, musically and visually! Dig In Fiends!!


Greg Goodsell said...

Better yet, if you have a region-free player, you can get a PRIMO widescreen version of this film in the coffin-shaped Tigon Terror five-disc set from Britain! The set also includes the classic BEAST IN THE CELLAR, THE CONQUEROR WORM and BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW!

dom said...

You can find all the Electric Banana albums, containing all the music from Haunted House of Horror on this blog...

The boxset that greg mentions features a commentary by director michael armstrong, well worth buying. Armstrong made a short film with David Bowie called "the image", which you can find here...

Haunted House could've been alot better, much of it was padded out with scenes not shot by Armstrong & the script was messed about with by the producers, the experience on this film & "mark of the devil" put Armstrong off film making altogether, when he was barely in his 20's. A pity as he showed some talent, like his Tigon colleague Michael Reeves.

There is an interesting shot in the film of blood dripping from a ceiling, in one shot you can see that a "blood icicle" was made to acheive the shot.

Eegah!! Tabonga! and Rodan! said...

Nice stack of information! Thanx Dom!!

David Kalvan said...

Unfortunately all the links of electric banana are dead at the blog....

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