Sunday, February 27, 2011

House of the Long Shadows

What to do when you're home sick vomiting? Why, you try to find something to watch on tv. After ogling Tuesday Weld in I'll Take Sweden, I found out that a movie I had never heard of was on, called House of the Long Shadows, and featuring four huge horror movie actors together for the first time. In this case, it was Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and John Carradine. Oh, and Desi Arnaz Jr.

Desi is actually the main character, a writer who takes a bet from his publisher that he can't write a Wuthering Heights caliber novel in 24 hours. Desi says he can but needs a place to write, so the publisher hooks him up with a place in the English countryside that has been deserted for quite some time. The place is perfect to him and he settles down to write, but is interrupted by a young lady who tells him terrorists are after him. He calls bull and finds out she was hired by the publisher to distract him. Desi tries to get back to work but soon other characters start showing up, from caretakers that shouldn't be there, to a motley assortment of others that turn out, with the caretakers, to be Lord Grisbane and his sons and daughters, who lived there long ago and have a dark secret. Soon, they start dying one by one as a forgotten son of the Grisbanes decides to have his revenge. Something like that, at any rate.

The performances are fantastic, with great turns by the masters. Peter Cushing play the more whiny and timid Grisbane, with Vincent Price as a cultured and snobbish one. Christopher Lee is a real estate agent who says he owns the house but may be hiding more than he lets on. John Carradine dotters around and owns the room as the patriarch of the clan.

Not a bad little film, more entertaining for the four greats chewing the scenery but the story is rather fun, and leaves you guessing whether the whole thing is still a hoax or something more sinister is afoot. A couple of twists and turns later, you're left with a pretty satisfying ending. Nothing groundbreaking outside of the players involved, but worth checking out. Just be warned if you catch it on THIS TV like I did. Their print is terribly dark, at times it's like you're watching a radio play, with just a blank screen and talking.

Check it out.

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