Monday, March 15, 2010

The MARCH of Death, Day 14: 'The Legend of Hell House'

Ok all, here we go. My first experience with John Hough’s 1973 Legend of Hell House. I can honestly say this made The MARCH of Death specifically because I had never seen it and considered it to be on my film “bucket list.” Let me just say that half way through, I was more than happy to “kick that bucket.” Hell House tells the story of a group of four paranormal investigators. The group has been invited to a week long stay at a supposedly haunted mansion. Said investigators are essentially divided into two camps: those who intend to prove the hauntings are in fact real and those who are there in the hopes of debunking the myths. The crux of the narrative is the belief that all previous guests of this mansion have in some fashion gone mad. The drive of the narrative? Will the same fate befall our current group of lodgers? The core of the story is not all together terrible. The execution, however, is pretty damn close to unbearable. Whether it’s the cardboard acting, the soap opera like cinematography, or the (no pun intended) paper thin script, The Legend of Hell House is an utter failure. If you’ve been keeping up with The MARCH of Death, you know I am hardly adverse to films from all decades. On the contrary, some of my favorites come from the very beginnings of the genre. I think what pains me is that in some way this film has been held up as a classic in some fashion. From a man who would bring us both “Escape From...” and “Return To Witch Mountain” just two years later, Mr. Hough thoroughly needed a break from filmmaking. Thank goodness he got his stay of execution with those Disney family turds. The Legend of Hell House is neither suspenseful or cryptic. It’s the type of film that has me checking IMDB to see if those involved are still alive. I really have a nasty little itch to slap them all in the face.

The Legend of Hell House
Director: John Hough
Starring: Clive Revill and Gayle Hunnicutt
1/10 Farmhouses ~ Chris Conduit

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