Release Date(s)1971 (May 8, 2018)
Studio(s)Amicus Productions/Cinerama Releasing Corporation (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: B-
Amicus Productions definitely gave us many horror titles over the course of their existence. Before Asylum, Tales from the Crypt, and Vault of Horror cemented them as the kings of anthological horror, they made several other entries as well, including today’s selection: The House That Dripped Blood. Released in 1971, it was one of their most successful releases, and over the years, has been considered a favorite by many. Containing four tales of the macabre (as well as the tongue-in-cheek), it’s an enjoyable and sometimes upbeat entry into the genre.
When a private investigator (John Bennett), who is looking into the disappearance of a film actor, calls upon a real estate agent for more information about a mysterious house that the actor was renting, he proceeds to tell him about some of the house’s previous inhabitants. In Method for Murder, a horror writer (Denholm Elliott) suffers from delusions, seeing one of his more sinister characters come to life in and around the house. In Waxworks, a retired man (Peter Cushing) and his friend (Joss Ackland) find themselves drawn to a local wax museum after seeing a figure there that bears a striking resemblance to a woman they both one knew. In Sweets to the Sweet, a widower (Christopher Lee) is strict with his young daughter, forbidding her to have dolls or access to candles for unspecified reasons. In The Cloak, a short-tempered actor (Jon Pertwee) and his co-star (Ingrid Pitt) find that his new cloak is supernaturally inclined.
The Amicus horror anthology movies have always been a mainstay for me. They all have their pros and cons, but all of them offer plenty of entertainment value. The House That Dripped Blood is one of their more interesting titles, mainly due to its more amusing conclusion. It tends to drag during Christopher Lee’s segment, at least for me, but Jon Pertwee’s overtly comedic turn as a potential vampire is a welcome bit of fun in an otherwise serious movie. It’s also lovely to see a group of familiar faces. The only person missing is Vincent Price, who was originally meant to play Pertwee’s role in the final segment, but was unable to due to being tied to his contract at American International Pictures. It may be a tad lopsided, but The House That Dripped Blood is a fun watch.
Scream Factory debuts the film on Blu-ray with an excellent HD transfer. It’s natural and film-like with mostly solid grain and is richly-textured with fine detail on both background and foreground elements. There are some occasional soft focus moments, but they are intentionally built into the original cinematography. A beautiful color palette is also on display with good skin tones and bold primaries. Deep black levels reveal mild crush, some inherent and some not, but shadow detail fairs well regardless. Brightness and contrast levels could also have used some mild tweaking, but the results are mostly positive. It’s also clean and clear with next to no film damage leftover other than occasional speckling and extremely mild instability. For the audio, an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD track is provided with optional subtitles in English SDH. It’s a very centered and narrow presentation with decent separation and clear dialogue, despite being a tad boxy outside of sporadic overdubbing. The sound effects are entirely effective but the score definitely has some sonic reach to it, having depth without a lot of bass activity. It’s also a clean track without any major hiss, distortions, crackle, or dropouts.
This release also boasts an nice selection of extras. Included is an excellent new audio commentary by the always informative film historian/author Troy Howarth; an additional audio commentary by director Peter Duffell and author Jonathan Rigsby; a new 10-minute interview with second assistant director Mike Higgins; A-Rated Horror Film, a 17-minute vintage featurette about the film featuring interviews with director Peter Duffell and actors Geoffrey Bayldon, Ingrid Pitt, and Chloe Franks; the English and Spanish theatrical trailers for the film, both in HD; 4 radio spots; an animated image gallery with 68 stills containing on-set photos, promotional materials, and advertisements; and a collection of Amicus radio spots and still galleries for Asylum, At the Earth’s Core, From Beyond the Grave, Madhouse, Scream and Scream Again, Tales from the Crypt, The Beast Must Die, The Land That Time Forgot, The Mind of Mr. Soames, The People That Time Forgot, and Vault of Horror. Unfortunately, the TV spot and interview with Max J. Rosenberg from the Lionsgate DVD release couldn’t be included, but everything else from the film’s previous DVD releases is present and accounted for.
A long time coming for Amicus fans who have seen their fair share of Blu-ray releases of the production company’s films as of late from different labels, Scream Factory rescues The House That Dripped Blood with a fine transfer and nice bevy extras. Highly recommended.
- Tim Salmons