Archive for the ‘Rosalie Crutchley’ Tag

And Now the Screaming Starts (1973)   3 comments

-and-now-the-screaming-starts-198702l
Newly married Catherine Fengriffen (Stephanie Beacham) arrives at her husband’s ancestral castle expecting romance and love.  Instead she encounters weird portraits, a peeping ghoul, and a disembodied hand.

pic hand
“Hiya!”

Catherine keeps seeing nutty stuff no one else sees.  Everyone thinks she’s rattraps so they send for Dr. Whittle, played by the always comforting Patrick Magee and Dr. Pope, the kind and brilliant Peter Cushing.  Catherine’s husband, Charles (Ian Ogilvy), gets a bit frustrated with his neurotic wife and the fact that their honeymoon is less sexy romance and more researching the family curse and calling the doctor.

yes
“Yes, a hand.  I see.  Is it time for bed?”

Anyway, the house continues to gaslight Catherine and no one will tell her the backstory.  She sees hands and spooks and windows open by themselves.

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“Let me give you a hand with that.”

It’s a real party until she finally hears the legend.  You see, Henry Fengriffen, Charles’ grandfather, had a wife and child, but ignored them and filled his house with the scum of the earth.  Drunken orgies, full of harlots, debauchery, and bad singing, go on for days.  During one particularly grotesque spree, Fengriffen breaks into the house of humble serf, Silas (Geoffrey Whitehead) and his new bride, Sarah (Sally Harrison).  Fengriffen’s attack on the young couple brings on a curse which haunts poor Catherine today.

hand
“Coochie coochie coo!”

Will Patrick Magee and Peter Cushing rid the house of demons?  Will the curse continue to annoy and vex Catherine?  Will Herbert Lom trim his eyebrows?

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“Apply leeches liberally until sense is restored.”

Roy Ward Baker directed AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS based on Roger Marshall’s screenplay of David Case’s book.  Phew.  It’s a decent horror film, but it could use a little oomph.  More screen time for Cushing, Magee, and Lom could only improve it.  Look for Rosalie Crutchley as a servant.

alone
In the night. In the dark.

haunty

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The Haunting (1963)   1 comment

The Haunting poster

Based on The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and written for the screen by Nelson Gidding (Andromeda Strain, Odds Against Tomorrow), The Haunting tells the story of a disparate group brought together in a long unoccupied New England mansion by Dr. John Markway (Richard Johnson) to discover whether or not spooks reside there. The actual house was Ettington Hall in Warwickshire, England and is now the Ettington Park Hotel, for those who dare to stay there.

Anyway, the house has seen its share of mysterious deaths and weird occupants over the years and the locals won’t go near it.


“We don’t stay. We go back to our cottage near Dunkin’ Donuts.”

Markway’s archaeologist/parapsychologist wants to prove places can retain the spirits of people and their actions and proposes an experiment. He and a hand-picked group of people with histories of psychic ability will inhabit the manse, study its original owners, the late and somewhat sadistic Hugh Crain and family, and report any ghostly happenings, thus justifying Markway’s career choice to his conservative family and possibly securing him a government grant.


“I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”

Markway’s serious and academic demeanor lends the expedition gravitas and makes the coming events seem that much more real. Julie Harris as the put upon Eleanor Lance gives a terrific performance. Her character narrates the film and her interior dialogue delves into her thoughts without being overly expository. Claire Bloom as Theo, the clairvoyant, gives a layered performance which could easily have descended to mere snarkiness, but shows some real vulnerability and empathy. Russ Tamblyn, as Luke, a playboy related to the wealthy owner of the house, goes along to protect the house from damage, both physical and moral. The owners hold little stock in Markway’s spiritual phenomena. Tamblyn surprised me with the humor, subtlety, and credibility of his acting.


“Colonel Mustard?”

Together this motley crew of paranormal researchers begin what they think will be a painless week in a great house. Needless to say, Hill House holds many secrets and, as Eleanor points out, “This house—you have to watch it every minute.”

The Haunting’s main attraction, its cinematography by Davis Boulton (Brighton Rock, Night Train to Munich) gives the house a sinister quality. Gorgeous angles and ominous shadows abound and the direction, by the always fantastic Robert Wise, fills each scene with a sense of doom. After each frightening encounter, the director cuts to an odd angled shot of Hill House’s exterior, letting the viewer know the house is always watching.


“Gotcha!”

I love The Haunting. It’s one of my favorite films of any kind and you can’t beat it for atmosphere. If you’re looking for a literate, atmosperic haunted house film done in beautiful black and white, pop some corn and watch The Haunting.

Haunting exterior
Boo!

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