House of the Damned (1974)

aka La Loba y la Paloma
Article 2467 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-3-2008
Posting Date: 5-14-2008
Directed by Gonzalo Suarez
Featuring Carmen Sevilla, Donald Pleasence, Michael Dunn
Country: Spain/Liechtenstein

An ex-convict arrives at the house of the man he murdered. He finds relatives of the murdered man living there. He informs them that the daughter of the man he killed has knowledge of the whereabouts of a gold statuette that could make them all rich. They have the daughter released from the asylum where she has been committed, and they try to persuade her to reveal the location of the statuette. However, she hasn’t talked since the night her father was killed.

This movie has a rating of 2.3 on IMDB, so when I say I really liked this movie, bear in mind that it may be a serious lapse of taste on my part. And I will confess that the movie may be pretentious and arty; much of the dialogue is truly strange, and there is an enormous potential that the movie can alienate the viewer. I was enthralled, however; it’s one of those movies that I found rather unpredictable, and the fact that each of the four characters searching to find the location of the statuette have vastly different methods and surprising secondary intentions held my interest throughout the movie. Still, those expecting a horror movie will definitely be frustrated; despite the plot element of insanity, a scary storm sequence, and the presence of a dwarf (Michael Dunn, of course, who gives perhaps the strangest performance here), it’s more like a bizarre melodrama than a horror movie. In fact, it reminds me somewhat of the old Tod Browning/Lon Chaney silents, at least on a certain level. The whole cast does an excellent job, and the dubbing is very good (though Pleasence and Dunn keep their own voices). I’m almost tempted to recommend this one, but bear in mind that low IMDB rating and the possibility that it may just happened to fall in the range of my own quirks.



1 Comment

  1. I am surprised this film gets a low rating; i found it an entrancing, dark fairy tale in the Spanish tradition of allegorical storytelling. Donald Pleasance was in another film the year before which was, amazingly, lost until quite recently, when it was remastered thanks to a surviving Spanish copy. Wake In Fright, possibly the best movie about Australia

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