Tony Mastroianni Review Collection
Horror film is not all horrible
Cleveland Press May 8, 1971
Somebody notes toward the end of this picture that they don't make horror movies the way they used to and the fellow is right. But there's no use laboring the point in connection with "The House That Dripped Blood" which is not so bad as some recent examples of the type and in part, at least, is rather good.
"The House That Dripped Blood" is an omnibus movie containing four separate stories linked loosely by the setting of a Gothic mansion some distance outside of London.
Stories one and two are grim and creepy but standard fare for this sort of thing. The first finds an author of horror tales along with his wife renting the old mansion which he finds an ideal place in which to work. The strangler of his imagination seemingly comes to life and then the fun begins.
THE SECOND involves Peter Cushing renting the place, wandering into town where he finds a wax museum. In the museum is a figure representing Salome holding a tray with a head on it. Salome looks like a long lost girl friend and what will happen after that is fairly obvious.
Both episodes are marked by the usual cliches -- the creaking doors, the flickering lights, the camera that pans to the top of a dark stairway to reveal -- who knows?
Episode number three swings into high gear. The cliches are not needed in this tale of a sweet looking eight-year-old girl and her harsh father. The governess installed in the house cannot understand the father ‘s unrelenting attitude -- no companions, no toys and particularly no dolls. Pop knows something we don't know but it isn't enough to save him from a grisly end.
The fourth is a rarity, a funny horror story. The house is rented by an aging actor who has appeared in hundreds of horror movies. He is shooting a new one nearby and he needs a vampire cloak. He acquires one from a strange shop in town and he gets a strange feeling when he puts it on. In front of the camera he gets overly realistic in a neck nuzzling scene with his leading lady.
"I'VE BEEN playing vampires for years and have never bitten anyone before," he says as he apologizes.
Matters get more mysterious and funny before it is all over. It's enough to make the movie worth seeing.