The House That Dripped Blood (1971)
First off, The House That Dripped Blood is not a Hammer film. It was, in fact, produced by rivals Amicus – though the film does share some familiar faces. This is an anthology film, comprising of four short stories, wrapped up in to an overall narrative, concerning the spooky abandoned house of the title.
The first segment sees Denholm Elliott portray a writer, who slowly begins to lose his sanity whilst staying in the house. Elliott gives a solid performance as he starts to crumble under the fear that his murderous creation has come to life.
Next up we have the story of two men – the always fantastic Peter Cushing and Joss Ackland – both obsessed with a waxwork dummy that resembles a lost love. Both actors are great to watch, in a tale that seems fairly unbelievable but is probably the most gruesome of the four.
In the third instalment, the house is occupied by the legend that is Christopher Lee. He lives with his young daughter and hired teacher (Nyree Dawn Porter). The father’s strange, strict manner masks his daughter’s true heritage, and interest in witchcraft. This is probably the best of the stories, with a stern Lee beginning to let fear get the better of him. Genuinely creepy.
Finally, we have Jon Pertwee as a somewhat pompous horror movie actor, who acquires a cloak that bestows him with vampiric powers. There’s a touch of comedy with this segment, plus some divine glamour in the form of Ingrid Pitt. It’s all very enjoyable, and helps conclude the overall narrative in a suitably scary manner.
The House That Dripped Blood features a great cast and a fine writer in Robert Bloch, creator of Psycho. On viewing, it’s surprisingly lacking in blood – however there are enough chills in each story to provide some frightful entertainment. One of the best Amicus anthology movies, and well worth watching.