Friday, October 26, 2012

The House that Screamed

"The House That Screamed" (AKA "La Residencia") (1969) starring Lilli Palmer, Cristina Galb√≥ and John Moulder-Brown is a foreign movie that has been dubbed into English.  The movie is a period piece taking place my guess around 1900. It takes place in a imposing old mansion that is a school for older wayward girls in France. 

The school is run with a firm hand by Madam Fourneau who has made the school into a prison for the girls.  She will accept nothing less than total obedience from these girls.  The girls are aged 15 to 21 and there definitely is a hierarchy of students with Teresa being the teacher's pet and very cruel to the other girls.  The headmistress's teenaged son also lives in the house and you can imagine where that would lead.  One by one girls go missing and the headmistress insists that they have escaped.  We soon find out something more sinister is going on.

This movie is beautifully shot and full of atmosphere.  There's the giant old house lit by candlelight, spooky attic, stormy nights and dark passageways throughout.  Plus there's a murder on the loose.  There are two brief scenes where there is some blood but by today's standards it is not gory.  The movie slowly builds to the surprising ending.

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