Thursday, October 9, 2014

House of the Long Shadows (1983)

Director: Pete Walker

Writers: Michael Armstrong, Ear Derr Biggers, George M. Cohan

Composer: Richard Harvey

Starring: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Desi Arnaz Jr., John Carradine, Sheila Keith, Julie Peasgood, Richard Todd, Louise English, Richard Hunter, Norman Rossington

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Room for every nightmare... A nightmare in every room.

Plot: An American writer goes to a remote Welsh manor on a $20,000 bet: can he write a classic novel like "Wuthering Heights" in twenty-four hours? Upon his arrival, however, the writer discovers that the manor, thought empty, actually has several, rather odd, inhabitants.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I think I'm being a little generous in giving this a 5.5.  Having Cushing, Lee and Price being awesome and all in the same scenes is worth the price of admission no matter how bad the movie is and this one isn't that good.  I think we can all agree that those three in the same picture (the only time it ever happened) is remarkable.  John Carradine is being John Carradine.  But it's the casting of Arnaz and Peasgood that call into question someone's judgment on the production team.  They're absolutely awful and it's even worse when the four classic horror actors above appear and show you how to, uh, act.  Really, those two deliver line readings like you'd expect in a high school play.  Not always but there are a lot of them.  It's boggling.  The story isn't all that bad but you'll probably figure out one of two scenarios early on and one of them will be right.  This is my first experience watching a streaming movie from Amazon Prime.  The browsing and search system is weak and I encountered at least a dozen stoppages (where I rarely ever have one on Netflix which gets A LOT of play in this house).  To make it worse, the print they had for this was incredibly dark and difficult to see.  Is it worth checking out?  Not from Amazon but you'll want to see it if you're fans of Price, Cushing and Lee.  They're scene together after Arnez wins or loses the bet is hilarious.  But it's Arnaz and Peasgood that do a lot of damage from their inexperience as actors.  It's worth noting that this is the last film for director Pete Walker. 

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