The Haunted House of Horror (1969)

aka Horror House
Article 2310 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-23-2007
Posting Date: 12-9-2007
Directed by Michael Armstrong
Featuring Frankie Avalon, Jill Haworth, Dennis Price

Teenagers decide to take their party to a deserted mansion that is supposed to be haunted. It’s all fun and games until someone gets brutally murdered. The teens decide to cover up the murder for fear that one of them will be suspected.

This movie doesn’t have much of a reputation, it has a weak rating at IMDB, and I remember not caring much for it when I saw it years ago on my local Creature Feature. Oddly enough, I liked it much better this time around. In particular, I found I like the ambiance. It manages to give a very good sense of the time and place; the music and the set design feel quite authentic. It also pays more attention to character than is usual for this sort of fare, and the mystery as to who did the killing (one of the teens? the older man who is stalking the woman? a real ghost?) is quite good. I do think the kids make a real foolish decision to cover up the murder, though the movie does a good job of showing the decay of trust that occurs between the teens as a result. The plot does have some weaknesses; I don’t know why the stalker is so concerned about the lost lighter, nor does the movie ever clarify the extent to which one character (a woman who left the party before the murder occurred) is in on the cover-up; though she does not appear to be so, at least one scene implies that she must be. Weaknesses aside, though, it did manage to hold my attention throughout, and that’s always a plus for a movie.



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