Hollywood Horror House (1969)

aka Savage Intruder
Article 2526 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-4-2008
Posting Date: 7-12-2008
Directed by Donald Wolfe
Featuring Miriam Hopkins, David Garfield, Gale Sondergaard
Country: USA

An aging alcoholic Hollywood actress takes on a young man as a nurse after she breaks her leg. However, the young man is a psycho killer responsible for several murders in the area…

I love it when I can easily sum up a movie; this is SUNSET BLVD. crossed with NIGHT MUST FALL sprinkled with gore, drugs and psychedelic visuals. It opens with a several close-up shots of the famous “Hollywood” sign, where we can see how deteriorated and decayed it has become, and I do have to admire how it makes a brilliant visual metaphor for the story of an aging film actress. Unfortunately, it also makes an inadvertent metaphor for how ugly and sleazy the movie itself is. There are a few good moments and interesting elements, of course, and there are certain mysteries it’s fun to work out; see if you can figure out what has happened to the egg timer before the movie shows you. Ultimately, though, it never finds anything it really wants to say about all the various elements at play here; once the psycho starts on his predictable rampage, the movie simply does nothing more than let him go on with it until he can’t anymore, and it does so with increasingly less suspense, point or purpose. In the final analysis, I found the movie vastly disappointing. Still, there is one element here that truly reminds me of old Hollywood, and that is that the great character actress Gale Sondergaard once again steals the movie, as she almost always did whenever she was cast. And for those keeping an eye out for older actors, see if you can spot Joe Besser.


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