7.3/10
6,195
122 user 75 critic

The Old Dark House (1932)

TV-G | | Comedy, Horror | 20 October 1932 (USA)
Trailer
1:58 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director:

Writers:

(from the novel by) (as J.B. Priestly), (screen play)
Reviews

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Black Cat (1934)
Adventure | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

American honeymooners in Hungary become trapped in the home of a Satan-worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.

Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, David Manners
The Raven (1935)
Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A brilliant surgeon obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe saves the life of a beautiful dancer and goes mad when he can't have her.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen
White Zombie (1932)
Certificate: Passed Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A young man turns to a witch doctor to lure the woman he loves away from her fiancé, but instead turns her into a zombie slave.

Director: Victor Halperin
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

An American who sells cars in England receives a mysterious invitation from an old, eccentric millionaire to visit his house in which he lives with his twin brother.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Tom Poston, Robert Morley, Janette Scott
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments.

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A scientist finds a way of becoming invisible, but in doing so, he becomes murderously insane.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A ruthless doctor and his young prize student find themselves continually harassed by their murderous supplier of illegal cadavers.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell
The Mummy (1932)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A living mummy stalks the beautiful woman he believes is the reincarnation of his lover.

Director: Karl Freund
Stars: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners
Mad Love (1935)
Certificate: Passed Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In France, an insane surgeon's obsession with an actress from England leads him to replace her pianist husband's hands that got mangled in an accident with the hands of a late knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.

Director: Karl Freund
Stars: Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

One of the sons of Frankenstein finds his father's monster in a coma and revives him, only to find out he is controlled by Ygor who is bent on revenge.

Director: Rowland V. Lee
Stars: Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Gladys (as Lillian Bond)
...
Eva Moore ...
...
...
...
Sir Roderick Femm (as John Dudgeon)
Brember Wills ...
Edit

Storyline

Seeking shelter from a pounding rainstorm in a remote region of Wales, several travellers are admitted to a gloomy, foreboding mansion belonging to the extremely strange Femm family. Trying to make the best of it, the guests must deal with their sepulchral host, Horace Femm and his obsessive, malevolent sister Rebecca. Things get worse as the brutish manservant Morgan gets drunk, runs amuck and releases the long pent-up brother Saul, a psychotic pyromaniac who gleefully tries to destroy the residence by setting it on fire. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Beware the night!

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Casa Sinistra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The rights to this film reverted to novelist J.B. Priestley after 25 years. The film was then purchased by Raymond Rohauer, whose company still owns it, administered by Douris Corp. See more »

Goofs

On the back cover of the Kino DVD release, the roles played by Gloria Stuart and Lilian Bond are reversed. See more »

Quotes

Margaret Waverton: It's a dreadful night.
Rebecca Femm: What?
Margaret Waverton: I said it's a dreadful night.
Rebecca Femm: Yes, it's a very old house. Very old.
Margaret Waverton: It's very kind of you to let us stay.
Rebecca Femm: What?
Margaret Waverton: I say you're very kind.
Rebecca Femm: Yes it is a dreadful night. I'm a little deaf.
Margaret Waverton: I understand.
Rebecca Femm: Yes. No beds!
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the introductory credits there is a 'producer's note' (on some prints it appears before the studio logo) : 'Karloff, the mad butler in this production, is the same Karloff who created the part of the mechanical monster in "Frankenstein". We explain this to settle all disputes in advance, even though such disputes are a tribute to his great versatility.' But the current release (September 2017) from Cohen Media Group omits this credit completely. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh! Mr. Porter
(uncredited)
By George Le Brunn
Improvised on by Melvyn Douglas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Laughter and Sin!
16 May 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Tales about sinister, creepy mansions were already clichéd by the time director James Whale directed THE OLD DARK HOUSE--and instead of presenting the piece as a straight-forward thriller he mixed the film's very atmospheric cinematography with a wild strain of parody. The result is a movie with a bizarre camp humor that foreshadows Whale's slightly later and even more bizarrely camp THE BRIDE OF FRANKESTEIN.

The plot, very based loosely on a J.B. Priestly novel, is perfunctory, existing only to throw together an ensemble cast of already-famous and soon-to-be-famous stars. Five motorists are trapped in the wilds of Wales during a horrific storm and are forced to seek shelter at, of course, an old dark house... but their unwilling hosts are a neurotic Ernest Thesiger, his religious fanatic sister Eva Moore, and their hulking, deformed, and mute butler Boris Karloff. Before the night is over the storm-weary travelers experience everything from a hellish meal to religious lectures--not to mention assault, attempted rape, mysterious cackling, a bit of arson, and a touch of homosexual hysteria (courtesy of Thesiger, Moore, and a surprise male character who is actually played by a woman) thrown in for good measure.

The cast is exceptional; in addition to Karloff, Thesiger, and Moore, we have Melvyn Douglas, Raymond Massey, Charles Laughton, Gloria Stuart, and Lilian Bond, and they wring the most from the covertly wicked script, with Eva Moore ranting about "laughter and sin," Thesiger inviting Raymond Massey into his room "to see a few things," and one of the most socially awkward meals ever put to film. But the film's real power is its cinematography: when they say old DARK house, they really mean it, and the look of the film is just as disorienting for viewers as for the characters; particularly noteworthy is the scene in which Moore lectures Gloria Stuart, with their faces distorted by the bedroom mirror, and the sequence in which Karloff pursues the white-clad and wind-whipped Gloria Stuart with mayhem in mind.

Viewers who expect "Universial Horror" fare will probably be disappointed by THE OLD DARK HOUSE, and director James Whale would create a still more memorable combination of horror and high-camp with THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTIEN. But THE OLD DARK HOUSE is an overlooked jewel of unusual quality: a sardonic parody of a famous theme, well played, filmed and scripted. Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


33 of 39 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page