Our Mother’s House (1967)

OUR MOTHER’S HOUSE (1967)
Article 2421 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-12-2007
Posting Date: 3-29-2008
Directed by Jack Clayton
Featuring Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Brooks, Pamela Franklin

When a religious invalid woman dies, her seven children, fearing that they will be sent to an orphanage, keep her death a secret and learn to fend for themselves. They have sessions (known as Mothertime) where they commune with their mother’s soul and make decisions. Then, one day, their world is turned upside down by the appearance of their estranged father…

Though it’s not really a horror film, it’s easy to see the similarity between this movie and the better-known THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE . It does have some fairly creepy moments, though; the Mothertime sessions are truly unsettling, as we see that there is some distinct unhealthiness in their obsession with their saintly mother, and the scene where the little girl is punished by having her long hair shorn is rather traumatic. Had the movie continued in this vein, it might well have turned into a full horror movie, but the arrival of the father shifts the movie in another direction, as it splits the solidarity of the group of children apart as they deal with the new presence. In the process, they learn more than they bargained for, especially in respect to their beloved mother. It’s a powerful and very sad movie. Director Jack Clayton had a very interesting career as a director and producer; he gave us both THE INNOCENTS and SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, and between these three movies, it shows he had a clear affinity for working with children.

 

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