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The Curator of Schlock #59 by Jeff Shuster

The House That Dripped Blood

(Don’t spend the night there. You might die!)

The House That Dripped Blood

Hey, it’s that time of year again, time for your illustrious Curator of Schlock to transform into The Curator of Shock! Cue the lighting and wolf howling. This Halloween season we’ll be doing something a bit different. I’ve decided were going to cover some classic anthology horror movies. We’ll start with 1971’s The House That Dripped Blood from director Peter Duffell. The movie is based on four short stories by Robert Bloch, and stars Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt, and Jon Pertwee. If you don’t know who any of those people are I’m going to cry.

Anyway, it would seem that Scotland Yard isn’t a fan of The House That Dripped Blood. One of the police inspectors is trying to get to the bottom of all the grisliness going through the past cases. That brings us to the first story, “Method for Murder.” I love that title. It makes me think of MURDER!!!

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This tale revolves around a horror story writer named Charles Hillyer (Denholm Elliot). Hillyer is writing a new novel about a psychopathic madman maniac named Dominic. In fact, Hillyer has such a vivid imagination that he keeps seeing Dominic everywhere. This wouldn’t be so bad if Dominic didn’t look like the sort of guy who would strangle you to death just for the fun of it. Hillyer decides to go see a psychiatrist on account of the fact that no one else seems to see Dominic. Of course, Dominic shows up during the session and strangles the psychiatrist. I won’t spoil the twisted ending.

Story number two is called “Waxworks,” and it involves a wax museum. Wax museums are always bad news in these kinds of movies. Let’s just say there’s usually a reason why the wax statues are so lifelike.

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Phillip Grayson (Peter Cushing) sees a wax statue of his first love holding a silver platter with some guy’s decapitated head on it. Grayson’s friend Neville comes to visit him. I guess they were rivals for the affections of the same woman whom the waxwork statue now clearly depicts. Neville insists they stop inside the wax museum for kicks, but Grayson’s gut tells him it’s a bad idea. Neville is mesmerized by the statue and can’t stop paying visits to the wax museum. When Grayson goes looking for him, he finds a new head on the silver platter. Can you guess whose head it is?

Story three is titled “Sweets to the Sweet” and involves a widower named John Reid (Christopher Lee) and his scary voodoo doll obsessed daughter.

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He hired a private tutor (Nyree Dawn Porter) to look after her, but Reid’s little girl can’t seem to stop doing research on the dark arts whenever the adults leave her alone for two minutes. By the way, there’s a bit of false advertising on the poster for this film. It’s not Christopher Lee’s head that ends up on a platter, it’s Peter Cushing’s. Oh darn.

The last story, “The Cloak,” features Jon Pertwee playing a horror movie actor named Paul Henderson. I’m sure all you Doctor Who fans are excited. What? You don’t know who Jon Pertwee is? I’m going to cry now. Ingrid Pitt plays his costar in the latest horror production he’s working on, a vampire movie.

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Unfortunately, Henderson hates the sets and the costumes for the film. He yearns for an authentic looking vampire cloak.  He finds one in a scary costume shop in town that sells black mass candles and other assorted occult items. I can’t imagine stores like that and the wax museum are helping the town with tourism. Henderson dons the cloak and gets the mysterious urge to bite his costar. He also can’t see himself in the mirror whenever he wears it. I think that cloak may be a little too authentic. Oh, and it turns out Ingrid Pitt is a vampire.

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If a vampire ever kills me, I want it to be her. There are worse ways to die.

Five Things I Learned From The House That Dripped Blood

  1. The House That Dripped Blood should really be taken off the market.
  2. Creepers who run wax museums should not be allowed to chops their patrons’ heads off with impunity.
  3. Don’t throw your creepy English daughter’s dolly into the fireplace. It makes her yearn for revenge.
  4. When you see coffins in a basement of a residence that’s rumored to house vampires, run!
  5. Vampiric Ingrid Pitt is should be allowed to rule the world.
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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102) is an MFA candidate and instructor at the University of Central Florida

 

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