The Legend of Hell House

The Legend of Hell House ★★★

Journey Into Darkness x 31 Frenzied Frolics: Day #8

Roddy McDowall’s seemingly endless collection of turtlenecks is probably the number one thing The Legend of Hell House has going for it, next to the dank and dust-suffused atmosphere that fills each frame. There are also some interesting cinematographic choices that I am a fan of here that disorient the viewer, and the lavish design of the house is visually appealing, too. All that being said, this one did not hit the same way it did when I was a kid. The first half of this movie still rules; full of dark and foggy aesthetics and a cozy seclusion, but as the film progresses, it starts to lose steam, culminating in one of the silliest and most head-scratching endings I’ve ever seen in a horror movie. I can remember watching this one a lot when I stayed home sick from school as a youngin’ and absolutely loving it, yet I could not for the life of me remember how It ended (this is probably because I would pass out around the halfway point due to the fact that I was sick) and boy was it a major let down upon revisiting.

Still, I kinda love this flick, at least, the first half of it. There’s something special about the misty, snug feeling it has to it, even if things do start to fall apart around the one hour mark. And the wardrobe choices are sick! Not only McDowall’s abundance of turtlenecks, but every single one of Pamela Franklin’s outfits are to die for. Throw in a ton of posh set design shrouded in a thick fog and you have got yourself the makings for a superb haunted house horror movie. Sadly, this one just does not stick the landing. A clear case of wasted potential, I would say. Nevertheless, the nostalgic value, eccentric camerawork and indubitable wardrobe excellence manage to keep The Legend of Hell House in my favor enough to warrant giving it the full three stars. It is definitely worth a watch, but do not expect anything life-changing, and beware of that crappy ending!

Jerry McGlothlin liked these reviews