The Old Dark House

The black and white film contained many well-known and familiar elements of old horror classics, such as spooky shadows, flickering light, and warped facial reflections, resulting in a horror which resonates even today.

The scripting of the film makes for a hilarious watch, with theatrical acting and more one-liners than a Hollywood action flick. At times the age of the film shines through, such as when the word handsome is used to describe a woman. At other times it feels more con-temporary, such as when the phrase ‘gives me the creeps’ is used. The general datedness of some of the language adds more to the film’s watch-ability than it does to detract. It most certainly will deliver more laughs than scares, however, this is definitely welcomed.

The film itself is short, running for a little over an hour, how-ever manages to pack a surprisingly dense story line and significant character development in, without feeling too rushed. The pace is neither slow nor fast, it is comfortable to watch, yet continuously entertaining.

The Old Dark House (1932) is definitely worth a watch and could be suggested for people who are not usual horror fans, as it is tame com-pared to modern day films. The atmosphere of the film is more mystery and suspense, rather than implementing to-day’s common shock and gore tactics. The sheer quality and entertainment value is likely to leave viewers embarrassed that they have not endeavoured to see more films of that era.

I would rate The Old Dark House 4 out of 5 stars.

Universal Pictures

presents a film by James Whale

Produced by Carl Laemmle, Jr.
Written by J. B. Priestley (novel)
R. C. Sherriff
Benn W. Levy

Starring Boris Karloff
Melvyn Douglas
Charles Laughton
Gloria Stuart
Raymond Massey
Music by David Broekman
Cinematography Arthur Edeson
Edited by Clarence Kolster
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
October 20, 1932
Running time
71 minutes

This article originally appeared in the Australia Times Film Magazine.

Published by

Ghill de Rozario

Ghill is interested in politics, social science, human rights, policy analysis, environmental issues and public affairs. She has previous experience contributing writing and graphics to Farrago Magazine and articles for the Australia Times. Ghill is always looking for new opportunities or projects. Website: Ghill de Rozario

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