Back to Brett's DVD Collection

Back to Horror



as of: 6/09/05

The Old Dark House (1932)



out of 10


James Whale


Boris Karloff .... Morgan
Melvyn Douglas .... Roger Penderel
Charles Laughton .... Sir William Porterhouse
Lilian Bond .... Gladys DuCane
Ernest Thesiger .... Horace Femm
Eva Moore .... Rebecca Femm
Raymond Massey .... Philip Waverton
Gloria Stuart .... Margaret Waverton
Elspeth Dudgeon .... Sir Roderick Femm
Brember Wills .... Saul Femm


What a weird, strange, dark, twisted, fun little film this is! Boris Karloff gets top billing as the mute, drunken, overtly threatening butler for the...ahem...eccentric Femm family, played delightfully by Ernest Thesinger (the spooked Horace Femm) and Eva Moore (his crotchety old sister Rebecca). Three travelers, the Wavertons (Raymond Massey & Gloria Stuart) and their friend Penderel (Melvyn Douglas), are forced to stop at the eponymous dwelling when a huge storm and mudslides strand them. At first, the Femms do not want these strangers staying with them, but they grudgingly give in. Not long after, Sir William Porterhouse and his mistress arrive (played by Charles Laughton and Lilian Bond). Throughout the early stages of the film, it becomes quite clear that the Femm family is at least slightly off their rocker. Things only get weirder as the movie continues to its climax. The Old Dark House was directed by James Whale in between the original Universal classic Frankenstein and its acclaimed sequel Bride of Frankenstein. I'm a huge fan of both of these films and Whale again doesn't disappoint in this one. Gloria Stuart was pretty hot back in the day. It's weird watching this movie in 2005 after having seen her in Titanic. I highly recommend watching this movie in the dark and alone. The atmosphere of this one is excellent, and I get the feeling it is going to become essential Halloween viewing for me on a yearly basis. I highly recommend this movie if you are a fan of James Whale, Boris Karloff, or any of the famous Universal films, and I give it a very solid 8/10.


email me at:

In Association with