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An American writer goes to a remote Welsh manor on a twenty thousand dollar bet: can he write a classic novel like "Wuthering Heights" in twenty-four hours? Upon his arrival, however, the writer discovers that the manor, thought empty, actually has several, rather odd, inhabitants.Written by
Jack Witzig <email@example.com>
Well yeah, in all honesty, "House of the Long Shadows" is an extremely disappointing and weak film, but I'm convinced that there isn't a single (real) horror fan out there that can bring him/herself to spread an entirely destructive criticism about this unique feature. After all, it is the only movie that ever managed to assemble no less than four of the most legendary genre icons and even show them in the same scenes! Something that stars Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and John Carradine all at once is simply fundamental viewing for horror fans, whether or not the storyline is any good. The plot is a re-working of the famous 'Seven Keys to Baldpate'-novel and introduces Ken Magee as a rather cocky writer who bets his publisher 20.000 Dollars that he can complete a successful novel in the likes of Wuthering Heights in a short period of only 24 hours. To have the required isolation for writing, his publisher gives him the key to an old deserted mansion in Wales. Instead of finding peace and quiet there, the writer is subsequently interrupted by his publisher's attractive secretary and four uncanny members of the Grisbane family that reunite in the house to release their mad youngest brother after an imprisonment of forty years. Writing a novel is completely out of the question when it turns out Roderick Grisbane escaped from his room and started a new killing spree around the house. "House of the Long Shadows" is a heavily flawed and clichéd film that would have been long (and righteously) forgotten by now if it weren't for the top notch cast listing. First and foremost, the film got released at least a decade too late. The early 1980's were an era dominated by raw and blood-soaked slasher movies and an old-fashioned haunted-house chiller simply couldn't fascinate the audiences any longer. Then it also takes far too long before something interesting happens. The story is over halfway by the time all four horror legends are fully introduced and it takes another twenty minutes before anything even mildly horrific occurs. Then there suddenly are too many childish and overly implausible plot-twists going on in the last sequences, resulting in a totally unsatisfying climax. The tone and themes of the film, as well as the murder-scenes, are regretfully tame. It's actually hard to believe that Pete Walker directed this film! He was the British exploitation master during the 70's and made shocking movies about murderous priests ("House of Mortal Sin"), cannibalistic grannies ("Frightmare") and barbaric women prisons ("House of Whipcord"). "The House of Long Shadows" doesn't feature one single shock and hardly any suspense moments, apart from Christopher Lee's gruff facial expressions. It certainly isn't the masterwork I secretly hoped it to be, but if I could make one wish, it would be going back in time and pay a visit to the film set.
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