The House That Dripped Blood (1971) starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Jon Pertwee
In short, Amicus’ The House that Dripped Blood is an anthology movie, using the vehicle of a house where various horrific things have happened to string together four short stories, all written by the famous Robert Block (Psycho among many others).
The House That Dripped Blood begins with a police inspector investigating the disappearance of an actor who has rented the titular house, and he begins by visiting with the local police, who tells some of the stories in flashback from his police files — and then directs the inspector to visit the realtor, who tells the remaining stories. The stories themselves are:
- Method for Murder – a writer of horror stories, facing writer’s block, moves into the house with his wife, and begins churning out his next novel about a fictional serial killer named Dominic — whom he begins seeing, and may be living out. It’s a twist ending with it’s own twist ending — frankly the sort of thing that could be seen on any number of TV murder mysteries.
- Waxworks – Peter Cushing stars as a man who retires to this delightful house in the country, where he finally has time to work on his garden, read, listen to classical music — until he visits the wax museum in town, where he seems to recognize one of the people on display. And the man running the museum is quite creepy … and possessive.
- Sweets for the Sweet – Christopher Lee stars as a widower who moves into the house with his young daughter, and hires a live-in tutor for her — since he won’t allow her to interact with other children, or even have toys. At first, the viewer’s sympathies lie entirely with the young girl. At first …
- The Cloak – Jon Pertwee (the third Doctor in the classic BBC series Dr. Who) stars in the final story, which is closer to comedy or goofiness than the previous three — which I frankly appreciated, as it was a welcome break from the bleakness so far. He portrays an actor, who rents the house for a few months while he films a low-budget vampire film nearby. The self-important actor isn’t satisfied with anything, including the vampire’s cloak, and purchases one (from Geoffrey Bayldon, who does excellently in his small role) — only to find that he’s starting to act as a vampire while wearing it, including biting his lovely co-star Ingrid Pitt. Is it his imagination, or …
The movie ends with the Inspector heading to the house – alone, in the dark of night – which frankly had me thinking that this was another twist. Sadly, it wasn’t — it was simply the foolish inspector living up to every cliche of stupid people in horror movies, and dying as a result.
The actual ending is with the realtor, outside the house which is once again for rent, espousing that the house simply matches the personality of the people living there — and perhaps the audience would like to live there?
In all, the ending of the movie was weak, but didn’t detract from the movie overall, which I frankly enjoyed. The House That Dripped Blood was an above-average horror anthology movie.