‘The Old Dark House’ (B-Movie Review) – Part Two (1963)

Are you ready for Part Two of this uniquely weird old movie review?

Here it is, ready or not. Part Two of The Old Dark House (1963 version)!

So along with Daddy Roderick, there’s a doddering old woman who knits up a storm. This would be Casper’s mother, who’s like Madame Defarge with a British accent minus the guillotine.

Image via French Films.

Plus there’s Uncle Potiphar, who’s building an ark. As in Noah’s Ark. Animals and all. There’s even a cell for Tom. For some reason, this does not reassure Tom.

Image via Pinterest

Tom spends the night at the Old Dark House as the storm continues, not sleeping a wink. Between come-ons from Morgana, acid in Tom’s wash bowl that mysteriously becomes water when he tries to tell the others, and trips from house to ark and back in the driving rain, Tom has a rather rough time of it. My apologies if I’m a bit hazy on the plot details. At some point, I began to drift off was distracted by a piece of lint.

Did I mention that this is a comedy? You can tell by the goofy music that says, “How about these crazy antics, folks?”

So … one crazy thing happens after another. And more dead bodies pop up around the house. All killed in really weird, yet quite appropriate, ways. Until the movie turns into The Addams Family crossed with Ten Little Indians (or maybe Murder by Death).

Image via Moria

Finally, we’re down to three people—Tom, Morgana, and Blondie. Although, come to think of it, Uncle Potiphar might still be alive on the ark. Honestly, that piece of lint was so fascinating I can’t remember off-hand. And there’s this other guy (maybe Potiphar, maybe not), who locks Morgana behind the world’s flimsiest closet door. Even so, Tom can’t get it open without a key. Even though it’s built like a little jail with wooden bars, it never occurs to him to grab an ax, even though a house that creepy must have one somewhere.

Then, in a twist that I’m sure left 1960s audience gasping in shock, it turns out that Blondie is our homicidal psycho. How could someone who looks so much like Barbie do such a thing? This amounts to the only piece of real subtext in this turkey.

Also, Blondie’s planted explosives on every clock in the house. Turns out the house is as full of clocks as it is of weirdos. Blondie tells Tom he has five minutes to clear out and everyone else can go to blazes. She cackles maniacally and disappears in a puff of smoke. (The previous sentence isn’t true, but it would have been so cool if it were.)

At this point, Tom interrogates Morgana about the location of all the clocks in the house, for they are present in abundance. Morgana manages to spit out the information, in between Tom’s sprints to various parts of the manse, where he discovers each clock and yanks the wiring connecting them to enough dynamite to blow England to kingdom come. Tom manages to get all but one disarmed in what has to be the longest five minutes ever. He tosses the one clock he can’t disarm out a handy window and it lands at the feet of a smirking Blondie, where it goes boom. And we all get to laugh about it.

This marks the end of the movie, which is the point where the sun comes out, the swamp around the house dries miraculously, and Tom orders an Uber calls a cab beats it out of there. He mutters something like, “There’s no place like home,” before making tracks. Okay, I made that part up, too. This is supposed to be a comedy.

The movie’s the odd result of American film gimmick meister, William Castle, jointly producing with British horror film studio Hammer Film Productions. The combined effort seems to have brought out the worst most incomprehensible aspects of storytelling from both. But still good for a laugh, intended or not.

And that’s that.

The End! 🙂

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2 Responses to ‘The Old Dark House’ (B-Movie Review) – Part Two (1963)

  1. This film introduced me to – and made me an instant fan of – Joyce Grenfell. She has far too little screen time here.

    As for the music, I had to laugh out loud when you described it as “goofy”, reminding us we’re watching a comedy. How many times, with different films, have I thought that same thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debbi says:

    I know. It’s like, “Oh, thank you. I had no idea this was made for laughs.” 🙂

    The original version is also weird and interesting.


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