I can’t believe we’re already halfway through April; time flies when we’re having fun. For the 15th installment of 30 Days of Terror, I didn’t have to think too hard or long on which film to tell you about. The Legend of Hell House is just one of those films that sticks with me.
There’s something about The Legend of Hell House (1973) that feels like American International Pictures produced it. It could be the sets or the dramatic focus on characters. Whatever it was that gave me the impression doesn’t matter, I love this movie.
The most fantastic thing about this movie is how frightening things are without CGI. The camera angles and the simplistic use of shadows make it ghostly and surreal, even with the presence of strings or lifts—I didn’t see either, but I know they were there—made it feel real.
The quick escalation of events is time-stamped, which is a nice touch, giving the audience a real timeline. The mild gore isn’t over the top, though the cat attack scene creeps up there; that cat hates Florence like nothing else. The ethereal feeling when the spirits were present made the hairs on the nape of my neck rise a bit. They also nailed the sound effects and possession moments like you wouldn’t believe.
While there are similar movies, books, and TV shows, this one has an exciting twist and influencing elements that give it an edge the others don’t have (sorry, Shirley Jackson). I’ve never read Hell House by Richard Matheson, which this is adapted from, but I give them props for what they did with the story.
I give The Legend of Hell House 4 out of 5 Stars.