THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932 U.S.) D: JAMES WHALE W: BENN W. LEVY/R.C. SHERIFF P: CARL LAEMMLE JR.
Charles Laughton, Melvyn Douglas, Raymond Massey and Gloria Stuart are among the unwelcome guests at a remote old mansion (without electricity) in the Welsh mountains after bad weather (and a landslide) forces them to seek shelter there. Boris Karloff is the savage mute butler to the very strange and eccentric brother and sister who live there. Skeletons in the family closet don't stay secret for very long in this b/w Universal classic that faultlessly delivers chills and comedy at just the right pace and pitch. With "John" Elspeth Dudgeon. Based on J.B. Priestley's novel Benlighted, it's the (rarely matched) horror-comedy template, and a sly parody of the mystery cannon that includes SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE, THE CAT AND THE CANARY, THE BAT etc. Remade in 1963.

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