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Terror in the Haunted House is an American horror film from 1958 in which a young woman has to endure a haunting nightmare. Originally it was called Meine Welt stirbt weeping, but in 1959 it gained more fame thanks to the new edition.
The film is remarkable because it was shot in Psychorama, a stylistic trick that involves subliminal visualization on screen. At certain times, the skull blinks unconsciously to sow terror, a snake to sow hate, two hearts to sow love, and large coloured letters expressing blood to sow fear.
Directed by Harold Daniels (The Devil’s Wedding, House of Black Death, Date of Death, Port Sister) based on the screenplay of Robert C. Dennis, the movie stars Gerald Moore (The Evil Red Planet), Kathy O’Donnell (The Amazing Mr. X), William Ching (The Fghtened Hard) and John Kvalen (7 Faces of Dr. Lao). Produced by William S. Edwards (date of death).
The score of the soundtrack was composed by Darrell Calker (Beyond Time; Amazing Transparent Man; Date of Death; Came from Hell).
Philip Tierney (Gerald Moore) brings his new wife Sheila (Kathy O’Donnell) to an old mansion in Florida. He persuades her to return to the ruined old mansion, where she witnessed a brutal ax murder as a child.
Reviews [Click on the links for more information] :
After the auditorium is set up in the first half and a few twists and turns in the story, the film really has no way out and falls into a predictable and exponentially difficult end. O’Donnell […] is actually trying to put on a show, but she gets stuck as one of those boring women of the fifties who have nothing else to do but hysterically act and complain in the corner. A fucking pit of terror.
…it reminds me of Gaslight; it’s one of those films where the female protagonist has to be in a constant state of fear and horror throughout the entire film, and to be honest, I’ve never loved such films; instead of frightening me, they leave me tired and impatient. Fantasy music films and wanderings
… there are some small fears – mostly related to an albino dog – and some vague tensions. There’s no horror here. The only horror is that this chick screamed several times in a 1950s movie. This film is rather forgetful, no matter what kind of vision it was shot in… Mondo Bizarro.
Everything that initially seemed spooky and fantastic is quickly forgotten and the film becomes a social psychotriller. (In fact, the removal of terror in a haunted house is a false description, because even with the exception of everyday statements, nothing is ever done to indicate that a haunted house exists) The initially promising atmosphere is nothing more than a flash soap opera about Vorbellum. Moria
House is a loquacious lazybones but quite efficient, given the certain charm of presenters Gerald Mora and Kathy O’Donnell, neither of which is a typical Hollywood face. Although the writer clearly read what Freud and Jung have read, the memories Shelia has to retrieve do not have much psychological depth. They serve one and the same purpose: They want to illuminate in a purely rational way the mystery of its creation and the place that Philip – and a few other strange people – occupy in it. Naturalist! It’s crazy! Wonderful!
The story manages to blend drama, mystery and horror into a very compelling film, and there is hardly a moment when your eyes are not glued to the screen as each scene is captured. The sea is a perfect casting, and Kathy O’Donnell really gives her interpretation a ferocious expression that adds excitement and emphasizes the other. A fantastic spirit
It’s worth seeing – the plot isn’t so bad if you go beyond the melodramatic way of playing. Videohounds: a complete guide to cult movies and trashy imagery
Selection dialogue :
Mark Snell: …if she stays another night in that house, she’ll go crazy.
Mark Snell: You’re crazy. You’ve really gone crazy.
The actors and characters:
Gerald Moore… Philip Tierney
Kathy O’Donnell… Sheila Wayne (as Kathy O’Donnell)
William Ching… Mark Snell (as Bill Ching)
John Kvalen… Jonah Snell
Barry Bernard. Dr. Victor Trout…
The film was released in the United States by Howco International Pictures (Teenage Monster) on a double bill with Lost, Lonely and Vicious in November 1958.
Harry Thomas, who worked on Edward D. Wood’s films in the 1950s, was in charge of make-up.
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