Monday, December 12, 2011

The Legend of Hell House Movie Review 212

  The Legend of Hell House is a 1973 horror movie directed by John Hough. It is based on the book Hell House written by Richard Matheson. It stars Roddy McDowall, Pamela Franklin and Clive Revill.

The movie begins with a Physicist called Lionel Barrett(Revill) who is called in by a eccentric millionaire to investigate the Belasco House or Hell House as it is known as. He thinks that there is something supernatural in the house and others have stayed there and not survived. His wife, Ann(Gayle Hunnicut) is coming with him along with a medium Florence Tanner(Pamela Franklin).Another medium, Ben Fischer(Roddy McDowall) is going too. Ben was in the house before with other mediums and he was the only one to get out untouched. They all meet and they enter the house for a few days. The house was built by a man called Emeric Belasco and he was reported to have been a huge looming figure with perversions and sick fantasies. His family were murdered in the house and he disappeared. Is his ghost still in the house????

There are many strange occurrences in the house after they enter. Florence is haunted by something which gets into bed with her. Ann is turned into a pleasure seeking temptress and she goes into a trance. She tries to seduce Ben and when he slaps her face, she comes to and has no idea what happened. There is something sinister about the chapel. Florence thinks that the evil might originate from there. Barrett is unconvinced and he doubts what she tells him. He thinks that there is electromagnetic energy in the house and that is what is causing things to move around etc. He has built a special machine to get rid of the unwanted energy and cleanse the house. Florence is sure that there is something evil in the house but she cannot get him to see sense.

Things go very wrong for Florence when the spirit actually hurts her and leaves marks on her skin. Something attacks Barrett and he begins to think that Florence is using the negative energy in the house to attack him. He tells her that she should leave the house, but she won't go. They find a skeleton behind a wall and think that it is Belasco. They bury it and hope that things in the house will go back to normal. But, they don't. Ben is attacked and he tells the group about his time in the house 20 years ago. He says that he was the only one not to suffer. His other friends all ended up crippled or scarred from their experience in the house. He wants to get Florence out before the spirit kills her. Barrett is going to use his machine and Florence isn't happy. She goes into the chapel, thinking that Belasco's dead son is calling her there. A huge crucifix falls on her, killing her. After this happens, Barrett turns on his machine and lets it do its work.

The three head outside while the machine goes. When it has finished, they go back inside to see if it has worked. Ben has to open himself up to the house and see if the evil has gone. Ben tells him it has, but he is wrong. Barrett gets blown up by his own machine. Ben and Ann go to the chapel and  Ben realises that it was Emerich Belasco haunting them all along. He was not the huge looming figure of legend, he was a small man who was illegitimate. He hid away in his house and preserved his body after death. The house is cleared and Ann and Ben leave. This movie is a gem which has not been given the recognition it deserves. It is very entertaining and spooky. I like haunted house movies and this is one of the best. It gets an 8/10.


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