5.4/10
1,511
53 user 34 critic

The Old Dark House (1963)

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

Writers:

Robert Dillon (screenplay), J.B. Priestley (based on "The Old Dark House" by)
Reviews
Popularity
4,578 ( 14,370)
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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

Director: James Whale
Stars: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton
Zotz! (1962)
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A professor comes into possession of an amulet with magical powers.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Tom Poston, Julia Meade, Jim Backus
Adventure | Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

While attending a school for diplomats' daughters, the teen-aged daughter of the American ambassador uses her access to various embassies to engage in espionage.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Murray Hamilton, Joyce Taylor, Hugh Marlowe
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father's grave causes Sardonicus' face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction--with even more ... See full summary »

Director: William Castle
Stars: Ronald Lewis, Audrey Dalton, Guy Rolfe
Strait-Jacket (1964)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After a twenty-year stay at an asylum for a double murder, a mother returns to her estranged daughter where suspicions arise about her behavior.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Joan Crawford, Diane Baker, Leif Erickson
Homicidal (1961)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The brutal stabbing murder of a justice-of-the-peace sparks an investigation of dark family secrets in a sleepy small town in Southern California.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin, Eugenie Leontovich
13 Ghosts (1960)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A family inherits what proves to be a haunted house, but a special pair of goggles allows them to see their ghostly tormentors.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner
The Tingler (1959)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An obsessed pathologist discovers and captures a parasitic creature that grows when fear grips its host.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Darryl Hickman
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Paul Massie, Dawn Addams, Christopher Lee
Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

In 1881, in Algeria, Michael Denning and Hector Servadac are fighting a duel when a comet brushing Earth takes the two men to the Moon where they discover a prehistoric civilization.

Director: Edward Bernds
Stars: Cesare Danova, Sean McClory, Joan Staley
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

In 1907, an actor is invited to perform in an isolated country house, and becomes involved in mysterious and dangerous events.

Director: Peter Sykes
Stars: Frankie Howerd, Ray Milland, Hugh Burden
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

In 1910, Hong Kong members of a secret Tong crime syndicate protect their identities by murdering the daughter of a British sea captain who vows revenge.

Director: Anthony Bushell
Stars: Christopher Lee, Yvonne Monlaur, Geoffrey Toone
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tom Poston ... Tom Penderel
Robert Morley ... Roderick Femm
Janette Scott ... Cecily Femm
Joyce Grenfell ... Agatha Femm
Mervyn Johns ... Potiphar Femm
Fenella Fielding ... Morgana Femm
Peter Bull ... Caspar & Jasper Femm
Danny Green ... Morgan Femm
John Harvey John Harvey ... Club Receptionist
Edit

Storyline

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. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

READY! SET! LAUGH! Join the fun in a nut-house of terror! (movie poster) See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Hammer Films

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Old Dark House See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original cinema release) (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The drawings in the title sequence were by Charles Addams, whose whole career was inspired by the 1932 version of The Old Dark House (1932) (of which this is a remake). See more »

Goofs

When Fenella Fielding is trapped at the end, she asks Danny Green to "get me out of here Danny" instead of using his characters name. See more »

Quotes

Roderick Femm: Any member of the family refusing to live here, loses all rights to the fortune.
Morgana Femm: If any member of the family is not home by midnight, every night, loses all rights to inheritance.
Cecily Femm: The Femm fortune, all of it, is left to the house. The Will can never be changed unless the house dies.
Tom Penderel: How can a house die? Did you ever try burning it?
Morgana Femm: I did once - but you can't burn solid rock.
See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was filmed in Eastmancolor, however it was released in American theaters in black and white. Color prints were released to American television, however. See more »

Connections

Featured in Svengoolie: The Old Dark House (2020) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Some mild laughs and chills in this one.
2 October 2015 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

In this second screen version of J.B. Priestleys' book, Tom Poston plays Tom Penderel, an American living in London who makes his living as a car salesman. He shares a flat with Caspar Femm (Peter Bull), who uses the place in the daytime while Tom sleeps there at night. One day Caspar implores Tom to come visit him at the Femm estate, which is up for grabs. Tom is then forced to deal with the wacky Femm family for one every eventful evening.

One would have expected a collaboration between gimmick master William Castle and Britains' legendary Hammer Studios to be more fun. It's more of a comedy than a horror film, and only a fitfully amusing one. There are some funny gags, but it just falls flat a lot of the time. It basically serves to make fun of the entire "old dark house" genre, complete with the expected tropes (like a dark, stormy night). It's decent light entertainment, but is eminently forgettable. It looks great, which is what the viewer expects from Hammer films (a lot of the crew are the usual Hammer suspects). But it doesn't have the level of atmosphere that's really required for most stories of this type.

The likable Poston leads a sterling British cast that helps to keep this version of "The Old Dark House" watchable for 87 minutes. Robert Morley is gun nut Roderick Femm, Janette Scott the striking blonde Cecily, Joyce Grenfell the doddering matriarch Agatha, Mervyn Johns the upbeat Potiphar, Fenella Fielding the slinky Morgana, and Danny Green the hulking, silent Morgan. (If Popeye had been turned into a live action feature in the 60s, Green might have made for a good Bluto.)

This kills time without too much pain, but it's far from grade A Castle *or* Hammer.

Title illustrations by Charles Addams.

Six out of 10.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 53 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed