Thursday, November 17, 2011

The House That Would Not Die Movie Review 209

 The House That Would Not Die is a made for TV movie from 1970. It is directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and was produced by Aaron Spelling. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Egan, Kitty Winn and Michael Anderson Jr.

Ruth Bennett(Stanwyck) and her niece Sara Dunning(Winn) move into an old house left to Ruth by a dead aunt.They meet their neighbour, Pat McDougal(Egan) when he drops by to welcome them to the neighbourhood. Patrick invites them over to dinner and Ruth and Patrick become very good friends. A medium called Sylvia is at Patrick's house and she tells Ruth that she wants to have a seance in the house. Thinking that it is just fun, Ruth agrees and invites everyone. Meanwhile, at Pat's house, Sara meets Stan(Anderson Jr) and they get along well.Sara manages to get hold of an old picture and she brings it into the house. Ruth begins to have weird dreams where she hears someone calling out. Ruth asks Sara if she heard the calling and Sara didn't.

The seance takes place and the medium, Sylvia begins to feel that there is something wrong in the house. She  lets out a piercing scream which spooks everyone. Sara begins to act strangely and the picture she bought falls into the fire and gets burned. That night, Ruth hears Sara crying in her room. She asks Ruth to help her and then tries to kill her. Suddenly, she collapses and the next day, remembers nothing about it. Pat thinks that she is going crazy and wants to put her in a hospital but Stan doesn't agree. Stan tells them that he saw a face at the seance and that he thinks that Sara is being possessed by a ghost. Pat disagrees. Stan wants to research the history of the house and see what a ghost could want with Sara.

Ruth decides that she wants to leave the house because of the way that Sara is acting, but Sara doesn't want to. Stan and Pat stay the night and Stan goes to the attic where he finds an old diary. He is going to read it but a sudden gust of wind throws it into the fire where it is destroyed. He tells Pat and Ruth what happened. Pat thinks he imagined it. Ruth wants to leave so they go and stay at Pat's. Ruth and Pat go back to the house and look through the attic. They find an old writing desk and in it is a bible and a scroll. The scroll tells of a General whose daughter was a young woman called Amanda. She looked after the General for years after her mother's death and when she met a young man called Anthony and fell in love, she disappeared. They think that she ran off with the young man.

There is another seance and Sylvia screams once more. She says that there is something evil in the house and that they should leave immediately. The next day, Ruth and Stan look through the cellar for anything of use.
Pat and Sara go into town and search too and they find a notice from that time from the General begging his daughter to return home. That night, Sara is possessed by Amanda and this time Pat is possessed by the General. He pushes Stan out of the way and he pushes Ruth. He is going to kill Stan when Ruth smashes a vase over his head, stopping him. They all sit around wondering what is going on when Sara begins writing something. It turns out that Amanda's love, Anthony, found out that the General was working with the British and that he was betraying his country. He went to tell the General what he knew. They all go back to the house and search through the cellar. This time, they find human bones and a pocket watch. It is Anthony's.

The General was so angry at Amanda's plans to elope that he killed Anthony and buried him in the basement. But, Stan also finds a hair comb with Amanda's name on it, so it turns out that he killed his own daughter too.
He put the notice up so that people would think that the couple eloped. The General appears through Pat and Sara is possessed by Amanda who confronts her father. He is finally free and so is Amanda. They leave the cellar. A voice is heard which we assume is the General , begging for forgiveness. This was an entertaining movie. It is a little tame compared to today's movies, but I liked it. I enjoyed the story and it was well made for it's time. I would recommend it for a Sunday afternoon....It gets a 6/10.


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