There are certain films that come to mind when someone mentions “Haunted House.” Some films come to mind such as Poltergeist, House, House on Haunted Hill, and the list goes on. Legend of Hell House is one film that should be better known, as it is one of the more superior “haunting” related films. From the eerie score, to the spine tingling story this film should be more
talked about than it is.
The Blasco estate, or as it is better known Hell House is the Mount Everest of haunted houses. Known for its debauchery, and much other taboo acts that occurred inside the house. A group of paranormal investigators, including a physical median and a mental median are assigned to discover if there is life after death. Mr. Fischer (Roddy McDowall) has been to the house before, and that time it almost killed him. He knows that the house is alive, and holds very dark information about its past. Only time will tell how long the secrets will be kept, and how long the investigators have to survive.
In the opening paragraph I mentioned how the score is so eerie, and once you see the film it gives it the biggest effect. It reminds me of Suspiria, though both are great movies, the score is what makes them. The score in Legend of Hell House is phenomenal, and it (like Suspiria) adds a lot of tension to the scene.
Another very positive factor about the film is that the actors know how, and when to look and act scared. Roddy McDowall is great, and he is very well cast. As is the rest of the cast, another actor who really plays the role perfectly is Pamela Franklin who played Ms. Tanner, the psychic median. Without her the story would not have been as solid because a lot of it falls onto how she reacts to what is going on.
One of the best things about the movie is the story by Richard Matheson who penned the original novel Hell House. He is a phenomenal writer who carries character development nicely throughout all of his novels. Though this is my favorite story by him there are other stories that people should check out including I Am Legend, and The Incredible Shrinking Man.
Though there are several extraordinary haunted house films, this one holds a very special place in my heart. I really think this film needs a nicely done remake, but the only problem that I see that would happen is that they would use the CGI to the extreme when they don’t have to. It’s a ghost story without the ghosts, and that is what really makes the film, the fact that the terror is in what you think you see, not what is actually presented to you.