Courtesy: Cohen Media Group
Halloween night is almost upon us, and in celebration of the big night, Turner Classic Movies has a full slate of movies throughout the day and night sure to give people plenty of good scares. From White Zombie to the original 1960 take of 13 Ghosts to the original 1963 take of The Haunting and more, the greatest classic movies network has plenty on its schedule to help audiences celebrate Halloween in the safety of their own homes. As notable as most of the movies on the network’s schedule are, it does have some lesser-known yet just as spine-tingling movies on its list including The Old Dark House. Originally released in 1932 by Universal Pictures, starring Boris Karloff and directed by James Whaley (who also directed Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Man in the Iron Mask, etc.), it was recently re-issued on Blu-ray Oct. 24 via Cohen Media Group. This movie is one of the hidden gems of Karloff’s career and a work that every horror purist will want to own now that it has finally been re-issued. That is due in no small part to the movie’s story, which will be discussed shortly. The approach taken in the story’s presentation is just as important to note in examining the movie as the story itself. It will be discussed later. The bonus material included with the movie’s new re-issue rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the movie’s presentation. All things considered, they make Cohen Media Group’s re-issue of The Old Dark House a re-issue that will shine in any horror movie purist’s collection.
Cohen Media Group’s brand new re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1932 classic horror/thriller The Old Dark House is a release that is certain to shine in any horror movie purist’s collection. That is due in no small part to its story, which is relatively simple to follow. A group of people trying to get out of a bad storm end up together in a creepy old house with some equally creepy figures. When one of those really creepy figures (played by Boris Karloff) gets hold of some alcohol, the danger to the group of strangers becomes very real. This is a storyline that has been used any number of times since this movie’s debut. In some cases, it has worked. In just as many cases, it has failed in grand fashion. Considering this, The Old Dark House is among the best of the story’s instances.
Adding even more importance to the story is that the 72-minute tale takes place over the course of a single night in the creepy old house, thus keeping the story from getting too bogged down in itself. Even with the characters’ interweaving storylines added to that central story, the focus remains clearly on the group’s attempts to survive into the morning. The overall simplicity in the story’s time frame and plot setup are collectively so simple that collectively, they alone give audiences plenty to enjoy here. They are also collectively just one of the most important of the movie’s elements. The overall approach to the story is just as important to note in examining the movie as the story itself.
The approach to The Old Dark House’s story is so important because it heightens the story’s tension, and in turn, makes the movie that much more engaging. The subtle use of lighting throughout the movie is just one important part of the approach that creates that tension. There are also certain shots throughout the movie that utilize a certain “fuzzing” effect that is just as subtle as the lighting effects. That subtle aesthetic effect adds even more impact to the movie’s approach, and in turn makes the movie that much more engaging for audiences. On yet another level, audiences will take note of the juxtaposition of Morgan’s (played by Boris Karloff) diabolical side to his surprisingly humane side as another important part of the movie’s approach. That element of the movie’s approach is certain to generate its own interest and discussion among audiences. Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear just why the approach taken to The Old Dark House is so important to its overall presentation. It is not the last of the movie’s most important elements, either. The bonus material included with the movie is just as important to note as the approach to the movie and its story.
The bonus material included in The Old Dark House’s brand new re-issue rounds out its most important elements. Audiences get lots of bonuses in this re-issue, too. The sit-down interview with Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara in which she discusses her father’s distaste for gory horror movies, the three most important elements of his own acting profile, and her own surprising admission about how long it took her to watch some of her father’s works (among other topics) is one of the most important of the movie’s bonuses. The feature-length audio commentary with Gloria Stuart adds even more depth to the movie’s overall presentation. Audiences learn through her commentary early on about her cast mates complaining about the shooting schedule as well as the fear factor of certain scenes as well as so much more. That’s only within the movie’s first half hour or so. Audiences will also appreciate the discussion on the movie’s restoration and the interview included in the movie’s companion booklet. When this is all joined with the feature-length commentary from James Curtis, the whole of these bonuses adds so much depth to the movie that their importance simply cannot be argued or ignored. Keeping this in mind, the bonus material included in this re-issue puts the final touch to the movie’s overall presentation. When this is considered along with the importance of the movie’s story and the approach to the story, the end result is a movie that every horror purist will appreciate whether on Halloween or another time of year.
Cohen Media Group’s brand new re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1932 horror thriller classic The Old Dark House is a release that every horror purist will appreciate not just on Halloween but at any time of the year. That is due in no small part to its story, which is so enjoyable thanks to its simplicity. The overall approach to the story’s presentation – both in terms of its aesthetic elements and other content – strengthens the movie’s presentation even more. The rich breadth of bonus material included in the movie’s new re-issue rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the movie’s whole. All things considered, the noted elements make The Old Dark House a title that is certain to “scare up” plenty of horror movie purists. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online at:
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