“It’s that house! There’s something about it!”
Story: Four stories. One house. All built by Psycho’s Robert Bloch. Why don’t you come in?
Scares: Lots of quality creep, and a few flat-out shivers.
Splat factor: Very little. Kinda ironic, considering the title.
Closing scene “shocker”?: Well it’s penned by Bloch, so expect a twist.
Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: Anthologies are everywhere. But this one’s a classic.
Trick or Treat?: Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star in an anthology written by Robert Bloch. Enough said.
Oh. You want more? FINE. This groovy anthology is early 70s horror heaven. The wraparound – a detective looking into the disappearance of a film star who was renting the titular home – is actually very well done, and a nice change from the usual Cryptkeeper, or other spooky narrator. (Sorry, Cryptie.)
Out of the four stories, “Sweets to the Sweet” is one of my favorite stories ever, and Christopher Lee as a heartless father whose emotional abuse becomes dangerous. It’s Bloch at his best. And it’s lovely to see the fantastic character actor Denholm Elliott as a mystery writer in the first story, Doctor Who‘s Jon Pertwee in the fourth, and of course, the great Peter Cushing in the second (and, sadly the cheesiest) story.
Yes, these stories haven’t aged without a blemish. They’re a little campy and the staging and score are more theatrical than cinematic, definitely giving the film a retro vibe. But the overall sense of foreboding and killer (AHEM) payoffs are still there. If you haven’t already seen these, what are you waiting for?
PS: check out the waxwork of Lee as Dracula in the second story. It’s in the background, but a fun Easter egg. So’s catching a glimpse of a young Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) in the final story. Enjoy!
Score: 4.5 out of 5 pumpkins.