Quantcast

The House That Dripped Blood (Blu-ray Review)

When it comes to the notable classic horror studios or collaborations of the 1960s and early 1970s, we immediately lean toward Hammer Films, American International Pictures, the Roger Corman Edgar Allan Poe films, the works of Mario Bava and more. And included in that “more” is definitely Amicus Productions. Not that people aren’t immediately thinking of them too, but in terms of Blu-ray, it seems we are finally getting around to giving them some love. Last year (Which wound up coming out this past January), Severin Films put together an exciting box set of their films. Using many of the same actors as AIP and Hammer, these films fit right with them, albeit more modern than they are period. Scream Factory has brought together another of their famous anthologies (Previously they did the Tales From the Crypt/Vault of Horror double feature), The House That Dripped Blood onto Blu-ray May 8th.

Film 

A Scotland Yard inspector’s search for a missing film star leads him to a haunted house. The house sets the framework for four separate tales of terror written by the author of Psycho, Robert Bloch, and starring horror icons Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt. All four stories center on the mysterious fates of tenants who have leased the mansion over the years.

The House That Dripped Blood hasn’t one drop of blood in it, but it does carry four stories and a wraparound by Robert Bloch (the writer of Psycho). Said wraparound involves a detective from Scotland Yard investigating a disappearance, only to be told horror stories about the house the actor was living in. All four stories revolve around the tenants of the estate, and its pretty awesome to see that the house feels very different in each tale. That’s really  no easy feat to accomplish either.  The title may suggest a gushing blood grindhouse picture, but this one is far more into being eerie, mysterious or utilizing a creepy atmosphere.

This anthology film brings together an absolutely delightful cast. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing make for their usual dynamite selves in each of their roles (separate stories). One of my real joys was seeing the third doctor, Jon Pertwee, play a pompous asshole actor trading chops with the lovely Ingrid Pitt in the final story. They are both having a blast while also keeping with the tone of the film. You also get a cool look at a very well down performance of mental paranoia from Denholm Elliott in the first story.

This film is oozing with really good atmosphere. The house never feels of the obvious haunt, but still has an eerie and cold sense of never feeling like “home” to any of its occupants. Don’t worry, they aren’t always in the house, the movie never fears leaving it. What’s fun to add to all of the horror sets and stages are some of the shops and town things we get to see when it does explore the areas surrounding the house. I especially loved the wax museum in the Peter Cushing segment.

Amicus Productions’ key element in the horror lexicon of the 60s, may just be that they were pretty good at making anthology films. The House That Dripped Blood is rock solid and a lot of fun while delivering eerie elements and classic formulas for horror fans to enjoy.  This film came toward the end of their run, but shows they still were very strong in terms of producing some quality horror.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The House That Dripped Blood comes to Blu-ray in a very pretty looking transfer. It carries some nice grain that is complimentary to the image. Due to the nature of the lighting and use of fog, there is a bit of a natural softness and glossy look to it at many turns. Details are quite strong (there is a crowbar that showcases every spec of rust at one point), seeing all the textures on rugs, wallpaper and wood in the house. Clothing shows wrinkles and seams with ease. Overall, its a pretty strong image given what we have.

Depth:  Spacing looks really great here and characters feel free and of their own volition. Movements are smooth and cinematic with no real signs of blurring distortion or jitters.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and manage to hold on to plenty of details in the shadows. Clothing, hair and surfaces look well texture and detailed for the most part. No crushing witnessed during this viewing.

Color Reproduction: Colors are very natural and well saturated. Nothing really pops off the screen, but feels bold and full in its presence.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Closer up shots produce excellent facial details like make-up, wrinkles, stubble, moles and more.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean. Some specs here and there, but nothing harmful.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: A very nice original mono track comes with The House That Dripped Blood. Its no knockout, but it sounds pure and crisp. There’s a good balance and the mix of the foley work is effective. This track will give you a nice genuine feel when viewing of the film.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, with good audibility throughout.

Extras 

The House That Dripped Blood features a publicity photo on the reverse side of the cover insert.

Audio Commentary

  • By film historian/author Troy Howarth
  • With director Peter Duffell and author Jonathan Rigby

Mike Higgins Interview (HD, 9:29) – The second assistant director gives a solid recounting of this film and a little bit about Tales From The Crypt which he worked on. He talks some of the business semantics in making an anthology film. Higgins also gives some fun anecdotes about those he worked with. There’s also a lot of actor by actor “What were they like to work with/be with on set” stuff he goes on about.

A-Rated Horror Film (SD, 17:03) – A vintage featurette featuring interviews with director Peter Duffell, actors Geoffrey Bayldon, Ingrid Pitt and Chloe Franks. This mini-doc was produced back in 2003.

Theatrical Trailers (HD, 3:38)

Radio Spots (HD, 3:28)

Image Gallery (HD, 5:04)

The Amicus Radio Spots & Gallery (HD, 14:08) – In a clever move, they play the radio spots over the still gallery with the appropriate movie.

Summary 

Normally, I find four stories to be one too many with an anthology film containing a wraparound, but The House That Dripped Blood is an exception. They all have their strengths and if you’re into classic horror of this era, its a load of fun with vintage thrills. Scream Factory has put together a really wonderful looking presentation to go along with some suitable extras. If you own their previous Amicus double feature as well as the Amicus set from Severin, this will go nice with it.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments