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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat

The Old Dark House

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

The 260th review overall!

It was a pretty successful night up in Grand Rapids. After a few beverages and screaming about everything, I’m looking forward to some breakfast. But before I get ready for round two, I need to tell you about...

The Old Dark House (1932). Shudder.

A married couple and their friend are driving in a terrible rain storm in the Welsh countryside. They made a wrong turn somewhere, their map is completely soaked and the rain is making it next to impossible to see. The couple starts bickering while their friend in the back is clearly enjoying himself while being obnoxious. It’s been awhile since I’ve identified with a horror movie character.

They eventually come upon the house the title alludes to and meet the eccentric people, an old brother and sister living inside. As they start to learn more about the inhabitants they start to realize they might be in danger. There’s not too much say about this movie, the cast is highlighted by Boris Karloff in his first credited starring role and the woman who played the older version of Rose in Titanic. It’s not bad, but a bit slow. It’s very atmospheric, the storm is as much of a character as the other threats, and the inside of the house, is a good spooky set. It’s one of those things that older horror gets right that the new stuff has a difficult time with, setting a perfect atmosphere.

If you’re watching this, it’s probably because you want to see Karloff. He plays a mute butler who likes to hit the bottle. Sober, he’s everything you can ask for in a butler, drunk, and he’s dangerous. Because of the storm, he sneaks away to start pounding drinks. After the couple heads upstairs to find a lamp, they learn the inhabitants of the house have their brother locked in a room because he enjoys trying to set fire to the house, and when he drinks Karloff likes letting him out. It’s kind of silly, but you let it go because this movie has already subjected you to about 15 closeups of Karloff’s weird stare and makeup. It’s also funny when he does get out, he tries to act normal for like 30 seconds before immediately trying to burn down the house. Dude has objectives.

It’s not bad, it’ll pass the time and it hums along at a brisk one hour and 12 minutes. It’s not something I’ll ever watch again unless I want to see the fastest, non-arranged marriage engagement offer in the history of Earth.

6 Dr. Chainsaws!

Learn More: The Old Dark House

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