The House That Screamed

1970

Horror / Mystery / Thriller

11
IMDb Rating 7 10 2350

Synopsis


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834.52 MB
1280*544
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 39 min
P/S 3 / 19
1.59 GB
1920*816
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 39 min
P/S 6 / 30

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Libretio 6 / 10

Gothic set designs, fantastic widescreen visuals

THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (La Residencia)

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (Franscope)

Sound format: Mono

(35mm and 70mm release prints)

A young girl (Cristina Galbó) arrives at an isolated boarding school in the south of France where several students are believed to have run away, but were actually the victims of a psychotic killer...

Odd mixture of giallo mystery and Hammer-style Gothic, set in a labyrinthine girl's school where principal Lilli Palmer struggles to contain the passions of her youthful charges, all of whom she considers 'marked' by their sublimated sexual desires. However, Palmer is quickly revealed as a hypocrite with an incestuous crush on her handsome teenage son (played as a child-like simpleton by John Moulder Brown), and the students are forced to endure a regime which fosters cruelty, rebellion and murder. Palmer dominates the film with effortless grace, and there's solid support from Mary Maude as the ice-cold beauty who makes life miserable for heroine Galbó. Memorable set-pieces include a slow-motion murder in the school's greenhouse, Galbó's doomed attempt to flee the building at midnight, and - believe it or not - an erotically-charged sewing circle! But the film reaches an apex of horror in its closing moments, when the killer is unmasked during a showdown in the attic, staged with stunning conviction by debut director Narciso Ibáñez-Serrador (¿QUIÉN PUEDE MATAR A UN NIÑO?).

But the *real* star of the show is cinematographer Manuel Berenguer (55 DAYS AT PEKING, KING OF KINGS, etc.), whose prowling camera-work makes a virtue of Victor María Cortezo's Gothic set designs, and the widescreen compositions are judged with startling clarity (indeed, Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA owes an obvious debt to the style and tone of Ibáñez-Serrador's movie). For all its virtues, however, THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED is a little too leisurely in places, and the film's sumptuous visual aesthetic disguises a fairly routine plot line, spiced with 'subversive' trimmings. Flawed, but beautiful.

(English version)

Reviewed by acidburn-10 8 / 10

Spanish Horror at its finest

The Plot = A young girl joins a French boarding school for problem girls and soon feels that something's amiss with a sinister head mistress and nasty students, and girls begin to disappear and the teaching staff keep covering it up.

Despite being over 40 years old, this movie still holds up well in my opinion and is still effective and creepy by today's standards. The directing is both skillful and artistic and the suspense is spot on, with the murder sequences played out like a stylish nightmare and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Okay there is not a lot of blood and gore and this flick does rely on character development more, but that works because the cast are well acted and keeps you interested the entire way through. The killer's identity was easily figured out, but the motive when it's revealed is highly shocking and effective and will stick with for a long time afterwards.

The formats of this movie is nothing new but given the fact that this movie came out in 1969, it's pretty easy to see where a lot of these slasher movies get their inspiration and this proves that this movie is ahead of its time. The performances like I said before are excellent, Lilli Palmer who plays the head mistress simply steals to show, with a strong performance easily hold a film together single-handedly, and inject menace or compassion into a scene with a subtlety missing from many horror films of the period. Christina Galbo balances emotion and strength perfectly, as the new student.

All in this entire movie works well as a Gothic murder mystery filled with tension, a definite must see for any fans of European horror.

Reviewed by rundbauchdodo 8 / 10

Exceptional, unique and ahead of its time

This rather rare film from the director of "Quien Puede Matar a un Niño" (better known as "Island of Death" or "Who could kill a child", see also my comment on that) tells an intriguing and uncomfortable story about sinister things happening in a French boarding school around 1900. The acting is thoroughly outstanding, especially by Lilli Palmer as the head of the school, and John Moulder-Brown, her seemingly weak teenage son.

It is said that this mix of classic and modern horror that undoubtedly was years ahead of its time was Dario Argento's inspiration for his own masterly "Suspiria", and although the two movies are quite different in style, this seems to be undoubtedly true. The creepy atmosphere of the school, the uncanny characters of the women in charge: it's all there already, only that Argento put the whole thing into a more extreme shape.

"La Residencia" is probably a little bit slow moving for today's standards, but no time is wasted: The careful development of the characters make the viewer involved in all characters very soon, so one really cares about them when they reach their grisly demise. The film's atmosphere is terrific, extremely creepy throughout the picture.

And there is also the topic of oppression: Palmer's character is leading the school relentlessly; she knows no mercy for girls that are disobedient. But the oppression also works (in a far more subtle way) towards her teenage son, who has learned to obey his mother a long time ago.

One more word about inspiration: It seems to be, without a doubt, Juan Piquer Simon too was inspired by some elements of "La Residencia" when he made his overtly gory chainsaw-killer-film "Pieces" ("Mil Gritos Tiene la Noche" in spanish), although you can't compare the two films.

This hard to find gem is highly recommended for all true fans of the horror film.

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