The House That Dripped Blood
Amicus Productions is often seen as the poor cousin of Hammer Films. The Shepperton Studios based production company churned out a selection of modestly budgeted (but rather successful) horror films throughout the 1960s and 1970s. These films often starred a selection of rather bigs actors in relatively small roles. Shot quickly and with small budgets, Amicus differed from Hammer by giving the majority of its movies contemporary settings (Hammer films also had modest budgets but they had period trappings) and they had a successful line in making anthology films. Two prime examples of Amicus‘ anthology movies are The House That Dripped Blood (1970) and Asylum (1972). Both of these were written by Psycho author Robert Bloch, originating in a selection of the writer’s short stories. The former stars horror icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, while the latter sees Cushing fly solo without his (bat) wingman.
The House That Dripped Blood stars Denholm Elliott, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Jon Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt. It’s a story about a house which causes a lot of misfortune to everyone who lives within its walls.
Asylum stars Robert Powell, Barbara Parkins, Peter Cushing, Charlotte Rampling, Britt Ekland, Herbert Lom and Patrick Magee. This time around the film is framed with a story about a young doctor (Powell) as he attempts to discover which of his patients is former head of the asylum who experienced a breakdown. Each tale focuses on a patient as they tell of how they came to be in the asylum.
There’s a lot to recommend in The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum. Sure, as with any portmanteau film there are some tales which are better than others but the hit rate is pretty high here. The House That Dripped Blood is the best of the two, with each story hitting the mark and ending with a little sting in the tale – plus it features Jon Pertwee as an egotistical horror movie star. What’s not to like about that?
Second Sight Films gives both The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum a wonderful selection of extras. You get commentaries, featurettes and interviews galore. These may be (relatively) forgotten films but Second Sight didn’t forget about delivering on the special features. Excellent.