The House That Would Not Die (TV Movie 1970) Poster

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9/10
Ruth Bennett (Barbara Stanwyck) inherits a haunted house, and together with her niece and friends, attempts to solve the mystery of the house's dark history.
jimmerp12331 March 2008
I just bought this movie since not seeing it for many years, and I must say that it still holds my attention and is an excellent old-fashioned ghost story. I love Barbara Stanwyck in anything she does so I might be prejudice, but she is supported by an excellent cast and the story holds up even today. In this age of graphic violence and blood in movies, it is so refreshing to revisit one of my favorite horror films. The film itself is very atmospheric with genuine thrills and chills. My favorite horror film is the original "The Haunting," but this ranks in my top ten. I did read the book by Barbara Michaels(Elizabeth Peters) and enjoyed it thoroughly - and I must say that I wish the film had stuck more to the book's storyline - but all in all I was pleasantly surprised that I still like "The House That Would Not Die."
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10/10
A brilliantly acted ghost story with an excellent climax
Bob-27421 November 1999
For those of us who love intelligent horror films (a very rare genre indeed), this is very high up on my list of 10 best ghost stories [cannot decide between this and 13 Ghosts, The Innocents, the Uninvited, the Haunting (the orginal not the recent remake), A Matter of Life and Death, and the House Where Evil Dwells]. Intelligent ghost movies hardly ever happen on US TV or cinema (only the British really understand ghosts!) but to have a really well-thought out script, great characters and a writer who actually understands the occultism of ghosts coupled with a small cast of superb actors - well, what more can anyone ask??

Stanwyck was at her acting peak in the 60s having developed her characterisation of the ideal mature woman - strong, intelligent, well-spoken, charming and able to rise to any occasion. She is always enchanting to watch being one of those master craftsmen (like Katie Hepburn) able to create a scene and simply hand it to the other actors, not unlike the dignity and grace in the lost art of serving tea. Ruth becomes increasingly disturbed by strange sounds in the house until one night she is attacked by her normally gentle niece who appears to be sleepwalking. Despite the gentle mocking of her neighbor Pat, Ruth is determined to get to the bottom of this.

The suspicion that the house is haunted leads to a seance by a local psychic whose initial enthusiasm for the old house turns to overpowering fear. The much underrated Kitty Win plays her niece Sara who becomes very convincingly possessed as a result of the seance and the psychic manifestations in the house increase (both of which is a little known danger of genuine seances). But Ruth will not be outdone and in uncovering the history of the occupants of the house begins to piece together the awful truth of a callous murder that took place. But written records only give a version of truth - the real truth can only be told by the participants.

What makes this movie so intelligent is that instead of refusing to acknowledge the possession as real and treat Sara as a nut case, Ruth and Stan try to find out what troubles the ghost by letting her speak through Sara. This leads to a unique story development - Sara's ghost is guarding the house from another more malevolent ghost.

Finally they piece together where the heart of the house is and that to free Sara's ghost there must be a confrontation with this second ghost to reveal the terrible secret which binds them both to the house. This climax is beautifully done and should go done in the annals of movie history for its insight into the occult dynamics behind many hauntings as well as its sheer dramatic power.

If you've ever wondered if there is any power in love or hate, this film will demonstrate it. If you think Bruce Willis' The sixth sense is a great film (it certainly is!), you'll adore this film!
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10/10
One of the all-time great ghost stories.
Phill-131 April 2001
The house That Would Not Die is one of the all-time great ghost stories ever filmed. In fact, the only thing wrong about it is that it's total running time was only about 75 minutes to fit into a 90-minute time slot. It should have been a full ninety minutes or longer and released to theaters. Ruth Bennett (played by the great Barbara Stanwyck who hands off scene after scene to her younger co-stars to let them shine in their own right) inherits a centuries-old house built before the Revolutionary War, in the Amish Country of Pennsylvania. The original owner, General Douglas Campbell, was suspected of collaborating with the British during the war. His daughter, Amanda (Ammie) and her boyfriend, American Soldier Anthony Doyle, confront him, and they disappear shortly after, ostensibly eloping. For the rest of his life, Old General Campbell roams the countryside calling: "Ammie, come home!", a cry heard two hundred years later by Stanwyck and her young niece, Sara Dunning (played by the pretty and very talented Kitty Wynn, after they move into the house. Aided by Stan Whitman (played by Michael Anderson, Jr., another very talented actor), and Professor Pat McDougal (played by another great actor, Richard Egan) they endeavor to discover the reason why the general is still searching for his long-lost daughter after two hundred years. The resolution and climax of this exciting ghost story will have one and all riveted to the edge of their seats, especially if properly viewed at midnight, Saturday night, during a thunderstorm with howling winds and crashing thunder.
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I was 14 when I saw this and for weeks wouldn't go into our basement!
Gallard-29 April 1999
Back in the late 1960's and through the early part of the 1970's the occult became an extremely popular subject for TV and movies. ABC was making "Movies Of The Week" that appeared usually on a Wednesday night. This was one of them. This one involves a haunted house which was recently bought by Barbara Stanwyk and soon she with the help of family and a helpful neighbor Richard Egan try to get to the bottom of things. Literally.

I was 14 when I first saw this and for weeks I wouldn't go into our basement. Don't watch it alone!
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7/10
Good, but the book was better
carmi47-14 July 2005
The House That Would Not Die is a solid TV-film that could have been stronger had screenwriters stuck closer to Barbara Michael's excellent supernatural suspense novel, "Ammie, Come Home." Michael's story is set in Washington, D.C.; Ruth, a Department of Commerce official, has lived in a Georgetown row house for some years after inheriting it from a distant cousin. There is no ghostly presence until Ruth's niece Sara moves in with her to attend a nearby university. Sara first hears a voice in the night calling "Ammie, come home," but aunt & niece decide it's a neighbor calling a lost pet. When Ruth meets one of Sara's professors, the adventurous son of a famous Washington hostess (a character based on Marjorie Merriwether Post), the ghostly presences intensify & become violent. By using entries in the family Bible and searching old newspapers & archives, the 4 major characters (Ruth, the professor--who becomes her love interest--Sara & her boyfriend) piece together the tragic tale of the house's original builder & his daughter, Amanda. During the Revolution, Amanda's father was a royalist but Amanda fell in love with a young officer in the American army. When her father discovered they were about to elope, he killed them & buried the bodies in the basement of his house. He lived there as a recluse until he was killed when the house burned. Relatives (Ruth's ancestors) inherited the land & built a new house, never knowing what had happened. After young Sara moved in, the spirits of Amanda & her father began to re-enact their tragedy endlessly. It is the disembodied voice of Amanda's lover calling, "Ammie, come home."

Why the writers moved the film to Amish country in Pennsylvania is a mystery, unless they figured in 1970 Washington had enough problems & didn't need any more ghosts. Having Ruth occupy the house only as the film begins robs the novel's story line of a major point: that Ruth had lived there for some years with no sign of supernatural activity. The sudden appearance of a voice crying in the night is, in the novel, an unexpected, vaguely ominous occurrence,which Ruth & Sara assume is a neighbor. That there are neighbors in Georgetown highlights a second point in the novel that is weakened by the shift to Pennsylvania: a setting in highly civilized, urbane Georgetown makes supernatural events seem even more incongruous with everyday life than the film's rural setting in Pennsylvania, where the house's isolation, like Hill House in "The Haunting," seems to invite every ghost within shouting distance. (Why are these houses always 'way out in the country?)

Despite inferior adaptation from the novel, performances & production values in The House That Would Not Die are exceptional in every way. Stanwyck & Egan are physically perfect for the characters described in "Ammie, Come Home." As the at-times-possessed Sara, Wynn must portray not only that modern young woman but the long-dead Amanda too, and she does a very solid job. Her boyfriend is portrayed by Michael Anderson Jr., who does not resemble the tall, slim, dark character in Michael's novel, but plays the role well. All things considered, this is a worthwhile TV-film that will repay a viewing. But don't deny yourself the chance to read the book.
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9/10
Very Clever, Old Fashioned Ghost Movie
bayardhiler15 October 2012
Recently I had the good fortune of coming across an old ABC movie of the week called "The House that would not Die", starring the always talented Barbara Stanwyck. In the movie, Ms. Stanwyck and her niece buy an old, charming house in the country, thinking that they have found their dream home. However,as is always the case in these films, strange things begin to happen, such as disembodied voices, bizarre wind gusts that seemly appear out of no where, and Stanwyck's niece, Sara, begins acting as if someone or something has taken her over. The result is a well done ghost film that relies on creating a spooky atmosphere rather than any gore or violence. Such a shame that television does not have more movies like these anymore. God, how I miss the age of the miniseries. If you get a chance, check this out on you tube. We won't be disappointed. 9 out of 10.
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9/10
suspense withstands time
senhue-16 July 2003
I've had the chance to view many of the movies I saw as a youth and have found that many of them have not withstood the test of time. This is not the case with "The House That Would Not Die" I saw this movie of the week when I was ten years old and can remember enjoying it. The next time I saw it was when I was 17 and again I enjoyed it. Twenty-two years later, in 1992 I was able to record it when it was shown on TBS. I found the movie very enjoyable. Especially considering the fact that it was made for TV. The only visual effects applied was that of character overlay. If only I could see and compare this with another movie of my youth - The Norliss Tapes (1973).
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5/10
Simple solution – move house
AAdaSC1 March 2017
Barbara Stanwyck (Ruth) and her niece Kitty Winn (Sara) move into a new house in the country. We know it's haunted as we watch them through someone else's eyes from an empty room, having just heard a soundtrack to some evil event that previously occurred there. Neighbour Richard Egan (Pat) drops by to welcome them and invite them to dinner. It's here that they meet college student Michael Anderson Jr. (Stan), Egan's relative Mabel Albertson (Mrs McDougall) and friend Doreen Lang (Sylvia). The cast is now complete and we follow proceedings as Lang suggests a séance at Stanwyck's house and all agree to attend. God knows why she does this. It's just not the first thing you think of for a house warming!

Unfortunately, Lang is a very annoying mystic who screams a lot. Shut up and do your channelling properly! No screaming. It should be rule number one. I went to a séance and nobody screamed – it is not necessary. Anyway, she's not in the film much, thank goodness. Things don't get much better, though. Whilst this film does have a few set pieces that keep you watching, there is nothing new in any of it and you can guess what's going to happen from the beginning. I got the whole story pretty early on. Maybe it's because I've watched lots of these kinds of stories, but maybe it's because the film is just not very good. I needed something more tricky. My wife thought it was amateurishly done as the cast explain in simple fashion what they are going to do. Other reviewers have likened it to Scooby Doo and the plot solving is very much like that. There are also the obligatory stupid moments when things that are needed are dropped or sharp objects handed to people who clearly shouldn't be holding these objects based on passed performance!

Still, this is not a gore fest so it scores on that front. It passes the time but there's not much to this offering, especially if you've seen a couple of these types of film
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5/10
Tidy TV-made ghost story, matter-of-factly presented
moonspinner5510 March 2013
Barbara Stanwyck stars in this curious ghost story, produced for television by Aaron Spelling. She plays a secretary who, along with her college-age niece, moves into an old country estate she inherited from her hermit cousin...but an eerie, malevolent force presides in the house, and a spirit is unleashed (perhaps by a séance) that overtakes the girl. Henry Farrell adapted this teleplay from Barbara Michaels' novel, "Ammie, Come Home", which is rather top-heavy with wind-machine effects and centuries-old discoveries in dark rooms. The plot is laid out in a connect-the-dots fashion which mitigates against real suspense, although Richard Egan is scarily intense whenever his professor becomes possessed by a murderer. The young woman is played by a debuting Katherine Winn who, three years later (as Kitty Winn), dealt with possession and exorcism again as a cast member of "The Exorcist". Stanwyck is disappointing--she pretty much walks through this one--but Egan is a good romantic match for her and the finale is tied-up well.
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9/10
Genuinely scary...the sort of made-for-TV movie they did best back in the 70s.
MartinHafer15 October 2016
Ruth (Barbara Stanwyck) has inherited a Colonial period house from a distant cousin and she brings her niece, Sara (Kitty Winn), to live there with her. However, despite it being a beautiful home, it will lead to awfulness as the home is possessed by the long-dead and not always friendly inhabitants. Strange things start happening soon after they arrive and instead of getting out of the place or burning it to the ground, they stay with two new friends (Richard Egan and Michael Anderson Jr.) to try to piece together the pieces to a long-buried puzzle. And, hopefully, in doing so they'll finally allow these spirits to rest once and for all.

This film works for three reasons. First, like so many of the made for TV movies ABC made during that time, the mood was incredibly creepy and really worked to keep the audience in suspense. Second, the script was surprisingly good for a film made for TV...better than you would ever expect. And, third, the acting was so very good as well. Overall, a film well worth seeing...provided you can find it! And, fortunately, it is currently posted on YouTube.
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8/10
Decent, overlooked 1970's made for TV ghost story
ebeckstr-130 October 2015
Within the context of 1970s made for TV horror (a category unto itself among horror fans), The House That Would Not Die has never attained the status of "classic," as have Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (a classic among horror movies as a whole, whether TV or theatrical) and The Night Stalker; nor the cult following of Gargoyles (1972); nor even the minimal honor of a DVD release, as bestowed upon of one of the lesser-known 70s TV supernatural thrillers, Horror At 37,000 Feet (a comparably good, overlooked TV horror in its own right).

Nonetheless, The House That Would Not Die is a decent little TV ghost story which happened to air before any of the aforementioned. It does not pretend to have a complex plot, and the story is anything but original. That's not the point, though. The movies goes for a comfortable, familiar kind of supernatural suspense and achieves it. The actors are solid and earnest, all of them taking their tasks seriously, and the production design includes liberal use of ghost-induced wind effects, all of which elevates the simple story. But because it is not as compelling as the other movies noted above, nor the 1981 made for TV classic, The Dark Night Of The Scarecrow, which perhaps marked the end of the cycle of great TV horrors of the decade prior, House That Would Not Die usually goes unmentioned even among fans of that period. You can find House That Would Not Die streaming online, or as of 2015, included in DVD multi-paks of otherwise sub-par horror movies sold on Amazon.
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7/10
those shivers down the spine
christopher-underwood28 January 2013
Somewhat uneven and even at only 80 minutes begins to outstay its welcome. But I don't wish to be too harsh for there is a marvellous performance by Barbara Stanwyck which helps to hold this together and if only Richard Egan could have been half as good this might have a been a great picture. It's a TV movie with minimal budget but even without special effects the possession scenes are most effective.

This starts as a haunted house movie but swiftly moves into the possession business and in these scenes Egan acquits himself well and Kitty Winn (who would have a role in The Exorcist three years later) is particularly good and indeed is the main reason for those shivers down the spine more than once during this modest but successful little film.
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6/10
Never Fear, Babs is Here!
Putzberger26 January 2013
As any fan of classic film and cheeseball TV knows, Barbara Stanwyck was one durable dame. The woman who conquered the corporate world in 1933's "Baby Face" and blasted gun-toting outlaws on "The Big Valley" is more than a match for the wind machines and bad actors who challenge her in this cheapo 1970 made-for, which is why it's ultimately not that scary or suspenseful. It's also hampered by a cobwebbed ghost story plot -- a maiden aunt and her dewy young niece move into an old house only to learn (oh no!) that it's haunted. Still, it's always fun to hang out with Babs, so "The House that Wouldn't Die" isn't a complete waste of time. It's like decaffeinated coffee, a short, mild indulgence that won't keep you awake at night.

Miss Stanwyck plays Ruth, a career Washington bureaucrat who takes a sabbatical (Civil Service rules must have been a lot more relaxed during the Nixon administration) and moves to a late distant relative's house near where her fluttery niece Sarah, played by Kitty Wynn, plans to attend college. If Stanwyck is above this sort of downmarket Gothic, Wynn is perfect for it since she seems born to play wide-eyed, helpless young ingénues -- the only time her voice rises above a quivering whisper is when she screams, which she does enough to wake the dead. The dead, however, don't seem to appreciate the intrusion so they start possessing various characters and making them act homicidal. Having apparently exhausted the budget on Babs' salary and nifty wardrobe (the cranberry pantsuit she dons toward the end of the flick is particularly chic), the producers could only afford a single special effect -- a megawatt wind machine which gets switched onto high every time one of the undead makes an appearance. This motif is a bit too indicative, but it's also the only way you'll know that Richard Egan, who plays Babs' romantic interest, has transformed from gentlemanly anthropology professor next door to malevolent spirit. His facial expression doesn't change otherwise. Rounding out this intrepid quartet is someone named Michael Anderson Jr. as Professor Egan's swishy grad student and Kitty's chaste love interest. The movie could be unwatchably dull but isn't, thanks to Babs' stalwart presence. However, it could be atmospherically creepy but isn't, thanks to Egan's granite stiffness and a script that sounds like it was penned by the "Scooby Doo" staff during a prime time writers' strike ("try and open up this old writing desk . . . these things are usually crammed with old letters and papers" declares Babs, perhaps unaware that she's channeling Velma Dinkley). Still, Miss Barbara Stanwyck offers a primer on how to maintain your dignity during the twilight of your career. Someone should have forced Bette Davis to watch this movie.
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6/10
"I Never Touch Spiritous Beverages!"...
azathothpwiggins21 August 2018
THE HOUSE THAT WOULD NOT DIE is about Ruth Bennett (Barbara Stanwyck) and her niece, Sara Dunning (Kitty Winn), who take up residence in the titular domicile. It's a huge, beautiful old place. At first, everything is cozy, and the neighbors, including Pat McDougal (Richard Egan), are friendly. When Sara brings home a painting from a junk shop, odd occurrences start happening. In fact, several things take place in very short order, like dreams and voices! Pat behaves badly, becoming overly aggressive toward Ruth, kissing her like a sailor on leave. A planned seance is held in the house, w/ much screaming and supernatural ballyhoo! For its part, the painting has already been torn through and burned by now. Even Sara takes a turn tossing Ruth around in what appears to be an indoor hurricane! What is going on? Is the place haunted? Actually, with all that's happened in the first quarter of this movie, the only question should be "How fast can we get out of here?!". Unlike other, similar spookers, THTWND hits the ground running, going from calm to hysterical every couple of minutes! Melodramatic, overwrought, and in spots, completely bonkers, it's certainly never boring! There go the voices again! Of course, there is a mystery behind all this, and some effort is made to solve it. There's possession, another seance, more big wind, and lots more screaming! Ms. Stanwyck commands the screen in her usual way, while Egan is both personable and menacing by turns. Ms. Winn carries on in her Eve Plumb-ish way, except for her possessed moments. Personally, I don't think I've ever had this much fun watching a ghost story!...
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7/10
Decent Made For TV Horror-Thriller Of The 70s
Rainey-Dawn3 December 2016
This one is worth a watch if you like the 1970s made for TV horror and thriller films. It starts getting pretty good after about 10 to 15 minutes into the film, when the first séance is held.

Sara and her Aunt Ruth move into a new home and it's haunted by a girl and her father. But why are their spirits still here on Earth? Why haven't they moved on? What do they want? -- The film has your basic haunting questions that makes for a decent TV movie.

If you are into ghost and haunting films then you might like "The House That Would Not Die". It's got a pretty good cast and story.

7/10
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8/10
Nifty 70's made-for-TV horror item
Woodyanders10 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Ruth Bennett (a fine performance by Barbara Stanwyck) and her niece Sara Dunning (a spunky and appealing portrayal by the pretty Kitty Winn) move into an old house that's haunted by the ghosts of the original owners. Director John Llewellyn Moxey, working from a tidy script by Henry Farrell, relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, does a solid job of creating and sustaining a spooky atmosphere, and maintains an intriguing air of mystery throughout. Moreover, there's a strong central theme about the need for closure. The sound acting by the sturdy cast holds the movie together: Stanwyck and Winn display a pleasing chemistry in the lead roles, Richard Egan has a few stand-out creepy scenes in which his character Pat McDougal gets possessed by a malevolent spirit, Michael Anderson Jr. does well as the amiable and helpful Stan Whitman, and Doreen Lang contributes a nice turn as sensitive medium Sylvia Wall. Laurence Rosenthal's shivery score hits the spine-tingling spot. Worth a watch.
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2/10
The short movie that felt as if it would never end!
Aaron137518 November 2013
I find it amusing that the summary says this film is, "A tale of witchcraft, black magic and a haunted house in the Amish country." What movie was the person who wrote that watching, as they most assuredly were not watching this one! I got this film in a collection with 20 other horror films. There are horror films such as Hellraiser III, The Prophecy II, Halloween 6 and a host of other direct to DVD horror films. I was quite surprised when I started playing this film and it looked really old. Then I saw it was from 1970 and it had the look of a made for television film. That did make me think this film would be bad, I remember a couple of made for television films from this era that were pretty decent like, "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" and one where this girl marries a rock singer and they move into a house that literally wants the girl to stay there forever. This one was not in their caliber. If I can compare this film to another horror film of this era, I would compare it to "A Name for Evil" in that both were light on scares and simply bored me to near death.

The story has an aunt and niece coming to a nice house out in the country that is never described as Amish country like that summary states. They immediately fall for the house, but something strange happens when a neighbor, who immediately has a thing for the aunt, meets the niece. Something is up in this house, and it becomes abundantly clear when a séance is held at the house. The niece seems possessed, but something seems to be happening to the neighbor as well. Will they solve the mystery before tragedy ensues?

The film's main problem is pacing. It feels like it is going on forever, but the run time of the film is a mere 74 minutes. I kept checking my player to see how close I was to finishing the film as it just seemed to go on and on. I cannot fathom how this one has a score of 5.9 here as I was close to simply turning off the film. However, I forced myself to endure as I kept telling myself "It's only 74 minutes!" The plot is dull, as I stated, when it first came on I am thinking it is going to be like, "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" as I hear ghostly whispers and maybe a combination as it would also be like that "Burnt Offerings". Those two films, though neither perfect, were enjoyable enough. This one though is more like, "A Name for Evil" as there is just a lot of nothing going on and a lot of wind machines being used!

This is the first film of the collection I have seen; hopefully, the other films will be a bit more interesting to watch than this one was. There may be one or two more television films on the collection, but as I've stated, there have been good horror films that have been made for television. This one just did not work for me...at all. My favorite part of the film was the credits as it finally meant I had endured the longest 74 minutes of my life!
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Doesn't Hold Up
derekjager18 March 2003
I remember seeing this on TV when it was first broadcast back in the `70s. I remember a "big, bold" haunted house movie with a great mystery and climax.

Sadly, when I finally got a copy, I found this to be a rather "small" film. The story/plot isn't very engaging and people say and act in very "odd" ways--and I don't mean appropriate to the genre!

All of the sudden, someone will act weird, then normal, and no one seems to pay much attention to their behavior!

And once the mystery is solved...the movie just ends. So that "climax" I remember doesn't seem to have existed.

Anyway, I say pass on this.
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4/10
… in sheer contrast to my attention span
Coventry23 July 2014
Perhaps the titular house does not want to die, but sadly the same can't be said about my own personal interest and attention span, which didn't live to see the ending of the film. I'm usually a big fan of seventies' TV-movies because they're uniquely atmospheric and suspenseful in spite of their limited budgets, but "The House that would not Die" is derivative (or maybe I've seen too many?) and mostly dull. The lead characters are bland, the story itself is rather clichéd and predictable and the moments of genuine frights are scarce… Very scarce! The opening sequences are nevertheless promising, with ominous pan shots inside the house, ending with a view from behind the curtains as we see the new owners arrive in the driveway. Stylish elderly lady Ruth Bennett and her niece Sara move into the gloomy old Amish mansion and both of them almost immediately find new love interests. Ruth appreciates the charms of her new neighbor Pat, while Sarah meets college student Stan. For some reason I didn't quite understood, they all think it's a good idea to inaugurate their new home through a séance, after which – of course – a lot of strange and terrifying occurrences begin to happen. Both young Sara and neighbor Pat become possessed with restless spirits that previously lived in the house (dating all the way back to the Civil War) and several clues lead to something that is lurking behind the cellar door. "The House that would not Die" is overall very professionally accomplished, but sadly the subject material is just too unoriginal and forgettable. John Llewellyn Moxey directed some of the all-time greatest TV-thrillers (like "Where have all the people gone" and "Nightmare in Badham County), but even he struggles with the insufficient subject matter possibilities. Unless you're on a personal mission to track down all the legendary ABC Movie of the week features, I'd say skip this one.
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Your Entertainment Will Depend on If the Story Grabs You or Not
Michael_Elliott25 October 2012
The House That Would Not Die (1970)

** (out of 4)

Made-for-TV possession film about a woman (Barbara Stanwyck) and her young niece (Kitty Winn) who move into an old house in Amish country and soon realize something is wrong. While at a party a group decides to hold a séance and sure enough the young girl ends up possessed so that same party must try and figure out by who and why. THE HOUSE THAT WOULD NOT DIE features a few interesting things but for the most part your entertainment level is certainly going to depend on whether or not the story sucks you in. It didn't suck me in. The film itself really doesn't have too much happening in it. The horror elements are all rather light and for the most part the possession really isn't all that noticeable except during certain scenes when the girl has extra power. The majority of the 73-minute running time has the older woman and her partner (Richard Egan) running around trying to find out the history of the house and those who lived there before them. Again, if the story grabs you then perhaps you'll find it interesting but I found it to be rather boring and the ending plays out more like a Scooby-Doo episode. Both Stanwyck (looking very good and strong) and Egan are very good in their parts but I thought Winn was a little too bland in hers. The director manages to build up some nice atmosphere but it's pretty much wasted.
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4/10
Weak Haunted House, Ghosts Phone In Their Performance
aesgaard4130 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, first off, it's a very scary name for a very mediocre movie. Originally a TV-movie created by TV legend Aaron Spelling, who was known for much better stuff that this, the movie is one of eight haunted house films on a single DVD under the title, "Haunted Hollows," and is the oldest movie in the set, the rest having been made in the years of 2000 to 2010. It's not scary, nor is it very suspenseful, but then it was made as a television movie. Actress Barbara Stanwyck was a prominent leading lady through the Fifties and the Sixties and is possibly best known as the matriarch from the series, "The Big Valley." She plays a woman who inherits a home from a distant relative and moves into it with her niece. There are some strange occurrences, some weak séance scenes and a lot of mystery concerning the house, but we never see any ghosts. The activity is basically limited to voices in the night, gusts of wind and a door opening and closing by itself. The rest of the supposed paranormal are left to what the actors can do to pretend to be possessed. Richard Egan gets to act mean and nasty, but the rest of Katherine Winn's acting abilities seem to be limited to how fast or weird she can manipulate her eyebrows or how loud she can scream. Michael Anderson rounds out the cast as the next rational mind to not let the supposed hauntings get to him. One of the most noticeable parts is just how fast the movie zips along through the scene changes. In one scene, a portrait falls and gets ripped, but jump to the next morning, and its fixed! Another thing, I'm not sure where the movie is filmed, but the exterior of the house looks like it could be the same house from "The Waltons." It's a little campy, but Stanwyck plays it very seriously. Overall, it's worth a look just out of curiosity, but it is not very memorable.
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2/10
Typical cheesy tv flick
HotToastyRag30 September 2018
Usually, when you decide to watch a movie about ghosts and seances and haunted houses, you're not expecting the movie to be of Academy Award winning quality, right? Good, because lots of tv movies from the 1970s fit into that genre, and they're usually rather cheap and overdramatic.

In The House That Would Not Die, Barbara Stanwyck and her niece Kitty Winn move into a new house, but after a neighbor suggests they conduct a séance in it-because that's totally a good idea-two ghosts possess Kitty and Richard Egan, a friend. Together, Barbara and Michael Anderson Jr. have to solve the mystery of the two ghosts and figure out how to rid their friends of them.

I got a kick out of watching Michael Anderson Jr.'s straight dramatic performance, since I remember him from his flawless comic turn in Dear Heart. But unless you absolutely love movies like this, or will sit through anything Barbara Stanwyck ever made, you don't need to sit through this one.
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6/10
They don't make stars like her anymore.
mark.waltz29 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A few modern actresses come close, but nobody has come along that remotely looks or sounds like Barbara Stanwyck. That gorgeous silver hair, that smooth skin that only required minimal work and that voice of laryngitis which, as Richard Chamberlain called it, was worth a million dollars. After 40 years a star, she wasn't resting on her laurels, and had no problem working in T.V. movies of the week which were considered the new equivalent of the B secondary "bottom of the bill" feature. Add on Richard Egan, a wonderfully rugged but tender leading man, ingénue Kitty Winn, and a beautiful old house filled with evil, and you had the recipe for what made the T.V. movie of the week so much fun.

In my opinion, Stanwyck is by far the best aged of the 1930's to still be working in the early '70s. Certainly of the other three (Crawford, Davis, Hepburn), she looked the most natural and even sexy. Here, she inherits a house from a distant relative, and finds nothing but terror there. It is even worse for niece Kitty Winn who seems to become possessed by it. Neighbor Richard Egan has a strange reaction to a portrait that Winn buys, and later begins to romance Stanwyck, at one point kissing her rather violently.

The 70's had a series of horror movies made for TV, all seemingly rip-offs of "Rosemary's Baby". Some are better than others, but this one has many chilling moments that rank it above the few I've seen. As produced by the not yet famous Aaron Spelling, this manages to have the gloss of his future nighttime soaps, one of which would feature the legendary Stanwyck. This is featured on the DVD collection of five made for TV films, and from what I have seen the only one of interest to me. Stanwyck would appear in one other T.V. horror movie, "A Taste of Evil", but that has not been released as of yet to DVD.
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