Friday, February 10, 2012

THE OLD DARK HOUSE / William Castle Productions - 1963

Welcome to Friday Night Drive-In with Tabonga!.. It looks like February's going to be William Castle month, here at The Dungeon. Tonite's offering stars Tom (ZOTZ!) Posten in a Castle/Hammer production. Get this... Boris Karloff, who played the butler, Morgan, in the original 1932 version of THE OLD DARK HOUSE, was offered a role in this one, but, turned it down because he didn't like the script. He considered it too much of a comedy, instead of a horror film!

The story's about an American who sells automobiles in England, he's to deliver a car to an old house in the country where the client lives with his eccentric family.

Charles Addams gets a credit for his hand, another one of Bill's little gimmicks... Anyway, the music's by Benjamin Frankel, this is his first and only time we'll feature his work. Born in London in 1906, he earned a living as a jazz fiddler, pianist and arranger from the age of seventeen! He had 72 composing credits which include the titles RADIO PARADE OF 1935, THE SEVENTH VEIL, NIGHT BEAT, DULCIMER STREET and FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG.

Lettuce bring in our tiny lil' Dungeon helper and button pusher, Rufus The Gnat!.. Rufus always shows up on Friday to tend to his most important duty around this joint, to start our Eariffic Soundclip for your listening enjoyment! So, push the big red 'GO' button there by the atomic furnace, now, Rufus! Here's some sounds from... THE OLD DARK HOUSE!

Here's Tom Penderel, American auto dealer in London, on his way to deliver this most awesome 1962 Lincoln convertible, possibly my very favorite classic car.

The car gets stuck and Tom has to hoof it the rest of the way to the house. Once he gets there and knocks on the door, it turns into Scooby-Doo and he slides down a ramp into the basement!

He gets to meet some of the strange family members, Mervyn Johns as Potiphar Femm in top photo, then, finds out that his client, Caspar Femm, has just died! But, what the Hell, Caspar has a twin brother, Jasper! Peter Bull plays both characters, Peter can also be seen in THE LOST PEOPLE, THE LAVENDER HILL MOB, THE AFRICAN QUEEN, WHO DONE IT?, TOM THUMB, TOM JONES, DOCTOR DOLITTLE, THE EXECUTIONER and THE TEMPEST.

My personal favorite moment in this flick, when sexy Morgana Femm decends the stairs for the first time... They bounce nicely, too!

On a rainy night, dinner can be quite interesting, since they spend absolutely zilch on repairs to the house! The roof leaks like a sieve.

And, they use chamber pots to collect the rain water! The definition of eccentric. Robert Morley plays the head of the family, Roderick Femm.

Morgana's jealous hubby shows Tom just how strong he is! We used that same gag in the Dungeon flick, SILVER ANGEL vs THE DEATH ZOMBIES, where the evil Dr. Mercury grabs his doofus assistant Pluto by the neck and lifts him up over his head!

Tom accidently finds out that someone has put acid in his water bowl!

Joyce Grenfell plays the always upbeat obsessed knitter, Agatha Femm. Everything's fine, even in death, scurred by her own knitting needles even!

The stuffed pet hyena causes a big mess of trouble for Tom!

And, it doesn't get that much better for him either, it's always something!

We finally find out who the psycho is, the normal one, of course!

Tom discovers that the place is loaded with bundles of TNT and has to try and diffuse them.

Tom tosses the last lit explosive into the swamp and it lands right at the feet of Cecily, played by Janette (THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS) Scott. Then, go ka-boom!

Morgana's hubby rips the wall apart to get her out of her prison... Morgana's played by the sultry, Fenella Fielding.


Douglas McEwan said...

I saw this a couple years ago, and it really stinks up the place. (And as your screen-caps show, that "Old Dark House" isn't very dark.) Mind you, I LOVE James Whale's hilarious original. (It was basically a comedy also, but a dark, subtle one, not this sledgehammer of movie.) I also love Tom Poston. In fact, when I met him (at a taping of an episode of Murphy Brown when he was the guest star), I gushed so much fulsome praise at him for his large body of great comedy work (Any show is improved by having him in it. This movie goes from "Utterly Unwatchable" to merely "Inhuman Torture" solely because he's in it) that he said to me: "Stop. You're going to turn my pretty head."

[My word Verification letters for this posting are "sucfast" which is what this movie did: it sucked-fast!]

DZONDZON said...

I saw this movie in my hometown theater when I was nine with my best friend. We wanted it to be scary and we did our best to be frightened. The scene with the knitting needles through the woman's neck made us jump a little. I've watched this film for the second time recently. I can't believe it scared us at all. Tom Poston does redeem it somewhat, as Mr. McEwan commented.

Tonio Kruger said...

Great review. However, I am curious why you keep referring to a certain male character as Morgana's husband when she distinctly refers to him as Daddy several times throughout the movie.

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