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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The House that Would Not Die (1970)

One of my favorite things growing up was checking out the made for television horror and science fiction movies that filled the schedule in the seventies and early eighties. I thought it might be fun to check a few more out here at Crappy Movie Reviews.

The legendary Barbara Stanwyck portrays Ruth Bennett who has just inherited an old New England home from a distant aunt. She brings her niece, Sara, with her to check the place out. The locals are friendly and very interested in the house. Not only is it historical but because her deceased aunt was a recluse and unfriendly no one has a clue what it looks like on the inside. This leads to a small party and a séance where things get strange. Sara becomes possessed by the spirit of a long dead girl that has something to share with them. Something that the house or perhaps something else in the house doesn’t want to be known. This leads to all sorts of shenanigans until at last the truth sets the ghost free!

I love old school ghost movies, and this plays out like one of those. You have a creepy house and a new family moving in only to discover their new home has a mysterious past. At first no one believes the haunting, but when faced with more and more proof they decide to help the ghost. But what does it want? This leads to them poking around the city archives, old newspapers and of course the spooky attic. Along the way paintings fly off the wall, doors creak open menacingly, and family diaries are tossed into the fireplace. These are the old Hollywood tricks that were used to create the atmosphere and vibe of ghost stories. Now we get jump scares and CGI nuns… Not a fan. Sorry about the mini rant, now back to the review.

Seances are never a good idea!
What is the big secret and who is haunting the house? I can’t really say more without spoiling things. Though I will say that when you are investigating a haunting and find that the basement has a false wall you can be pretty sure that someone is buried down there. We have all seen these stories enough times to figure that out. Still The House that Would Not Die does give us a cool twist and motive for the shenanigans that have been going down. While comfortably predictable I was still pleased by the ending.

I realize that I’m talking this movie up a lot. As I’ve already mentioned I’m a sucker for old haunted house movies like The Uninvited and The Haunting. This movie isn’t nearly as good as those but has that same sort of charm to it. There is something about a movie that uses doors opening slowly on their own and the wind blowing to give the impression that something unseen is with the characters that puts a smile on my face. Clearly this is the vibe that The House that Would Not Die is going for and they nail it. But if you don’t dig classic Hollywood chillers like this then this isn’t the movie for you. I enjoyed the movie but it likely isn’t for everyone. If you want to give it a chance I've linked to the YouTube link above where you can watch the movie. 

 

Ó Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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