The House That Dripped Blood is a 1971 anthology film directed by Peter Duffell (The Avengers, Inside Out, Letters to an Unknown Lover, & King of the Wind). He made his feature film directorial debut with this. Duffell was mainly a television director, he worked on various shows like Man in a Suitcase, Strange Report, The Famous Five, Tales of the Unexpected, Space Precinct, & various others. The director wanted to use the title Death and the Maiden for this. Freddie Francis was the original choice for director but he had prior commitments & he wasn’t able to take on this project. It was written by Robert Bloch (Psycho, The Skull, Torture Garden, & Asylum). It was distributed by the legendary Amicus Productions. The House That Dripped Blood had minor success in the United Kingdom but it really took off in America at the box office.
This horror anthology focuses on four stories linked to the same mysterious rental house. “Method For Murder” is about a horror writer Charles Hillyer (played by: Denholm Elliott from Trading Places, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, & The Vault of Horror) that thinks one of his evil characters Dominick (played by Tom Adams from The Great Escape, Where the Bullets Fly, & The Fast Kill) from his new story is actually real & inside the house with him. He starts to worry about the monster he created for his own novel. His wife Alice Hillyer (played by: Joanna Dunham from Van der Valk & The Outsider) thinks he is overworked so she makes him to go see psychiatrist Dr. Andrews (played by: Robert Lang from The Great Train Robbery, Othello, & Shout at the Devil). Is she in danger? Is this fact or fiction? “Waxworks” is about a lonely bachelor & retired stockbroker named Philip Grayson (played by: Peter Cushing from Horror of Dracula, The Revenge of Frankenstein, The Mummy (59), Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, & Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope). He goes to a wax museum & sees a figure that looks like someone from his past. His friend Neville Rogers (played by: Joss Ackland from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Lethal Weapon 2, The Hunt for Red October, & Nowhere to Run) is also drawled in by this familiar face. They become obsessed with this Salome wax exhibit. The weird owner (played by: Wolfe Morris from Cuba & The Abominable Snowman) of the museum has his own plans for the two curious guests. “Sweets To The Sweet” is about a father John Reid (played by: Christopher Lee from Star Wars: Episode II / III, The Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, The Skull, & Howling II: … Your Sister Is a Werewolf) who is worried about his daughter Jane Reid (played by: Chloe Franks from Trog & Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?) having supernatural powers like his late wife. He is very strict on her & keeps her away from others. Her nanny & teacher Ann Norton (played by: Nyree Dawn Porter from From Beyond the Grave & Thriller) tries to help the awkward situation but is it too late? “The Cloak” is about a character actor Paul Henderson (played by Jon Pertwee from Doctor Who, Adventures of a Private Eye, & One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing) that’s tired of being typecast. He thinks he’s better than all the horror roles that he gets in films. He isn’t happy with the wardrobe supplied by the studio. He buys a cloak from shop owner Theo Von Hartmann (played by: Geoffrey Bayldon from Tales from the Crypt, Asylum, The Monster Club, & Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed). It turns him into a vampire when he wears it. Carla Lind (played by: Ingrid Pitt from The Wicker Man, Countless Dracula, & The Vampire Lovers) is an actress that shares similar qualities to Paul’s new dangerous experience. Everything gets tied up in the wraparound story & leaves everyone anticipating more tales from this cursed residence!!!!
The House That Dripped Blood is one of the best horror anthologies of all time. It’s one of those rare occasions where it doesn’t have a single weak link between the various stories. Each tale has a completely different vibe to it but it all relates to the same evil location. It’s also one of the greatest achievements from the legendary Amicus Productions. It’s well written & it features a top not cast with a few of the biggest icons from the genre, what more could you ask for when comes to something like this? I love how British horror has it’s own twists to certain concepts or subjects we have seen before. This was one of the most requested titles & Scream Factory definitely delivered on this blu ray release.
The House That Dripped Blood has had various home video releases over the years including 2003’s U.S. DVD from Lions Gate & 2003’s U.K. DVD from Anchor Bay. In 2013 Hen’s Tooth Video gave it an upgraded look on DVD after all of those others but everything has been taken to a whole new level with this blu ray. 5 years later, Scream Factory has given the film it’s highest quality presentation with this brand new (1.85.1) high definition transfer! It’s never been a perfect looking or reference quality type of feature but it really pops out more than ever now. The English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA track sounds very clean & it’s well balanced especially for being an older film. It’s a major improvement over every other option for The House That Dripped Blood in the past. English subtitles are also included.
I am a little surprised this wasn’t labeled as a collector’s edition release because it’s full of special features! Audio Commentary # 1 is with film historian & So Deadly, So Perverse author Troy Howarth. As you know from many of his other commentaries he is very knowledgeable when it comes to cinema. He discusses the history of the production. Pretty much scene by scene, he gets very detailed so it covers lots of material when it comes to this film. Vincent Price gets brought up, they tried to get him to be this feature. It’s a shame that didn’t happen because it would have been even more epic. Audio Commentary # 2 is with director Peter Duffell & English Gothic author Jonathan Rigby. The archival extra is from the U.K. Anchor Bay 2003 release & it’s awesome that Scream Factory were able to port this over to this edition. Rigby is a good moderator & he keeps the conversation going with Duffell which leads to lots of information about his experience on this project. Next, there’s a new 9 minute interview with assistant director Mike Higgins. He chats about working on this film. He talks about the director. He also brings up Tales From The Crypt which makes him talk about horror anthologies. The 17 minute “A-Rated Horror Film” is a vintage featurette that has interviews with actors Geoffrey Bayldon, Ingrid Pitt ,Chloe Franks & director Peter Duffell. It was produced in 2003 & it previously was only available on the U.K. release. After that, you get plenty of promotional material which include English theatrical trailer, Spanish theatrical trailer, 3 minutes of various Radio Spots, & a 5 minute Image Galley with multiple stills/photos, artwork, ads, & posters from the movie. The 14 minute “The Amicus Radio Spots & Gallery” is a welcomed bonus on this. It features 11 Amicus Productions radio spots over the artwork & pics from the multiple projects. This is a must own for your collection, this comes highly recommended from me! It’s available everywhere next week or order it direct from Shout Factory to get it now!!!!