Best old dark house movie

Naturally: " <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ENMV000003249" title="The Old Dark House (movie)" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/the-old-dark-house-%28movie%29-ENMV000003249.topic">The Old Dark House</a>." Director <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB003955" title="James Whale" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/james-whale-PECLB003955.topic">James Whale</a>'s rarely-seen masterpiece dates from 1932, but it's so keen-witted and indelible you'd never call it a period piece. Anyone who has ever stumbled into a group that is proud, stubborn, and collectively insane can appreciate the predicament of five spiffy urban creatures -- <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB0000007139" title="Gloria Stuart" href="/topic/entertainment/movies/gloria-stuart-PECLB0000007139.topic">Gloria Stuart</a> (of "Titanic"), <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB00000011148" title="Raymond Massey" href="/topic/entertainment/raymond-massey-PECLB00000011148.topic">Raymond Massey</a>, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB001448" title="Melvyn Douglas" href="/topic/entertainment/melvyn-douglas-PECLB001448.topic">Melvyn Douglas</a>, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB002941" title="Charles Laughton" href="/topic/entertainment/charles-laughton-PECLB002941.topic">Charles Laughton</a> and Lillian Bond -- stranded in a ramshackle Welsh home during a vicious rainstorm.  When the home's inhabitants, the Femms, come to the fore, the movie becomes a satire of backwater eccentricity and fatalism that's also a <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="010000000943" title="Comedy (genre)" href="/topic/arts-culture/genres/comedy-%28genre%29-010000000943.topic">comedy</a> of terrors. Inertia rules the seedy estate of the title, from the third floor, where the ancient and androgynous Sir Roderick Femm holds sway (he's played by a woman, Elspeth Dudgeon, billed as "John") to the quarters where the mute, animalistic servant Morgan ( <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB002695" title="Boris Karloff" href="/topic/entertainment/boris-karloff-PECLB002695.topic">Boris Karloff</a>) grunts and lurches. ( <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PECLB000023" title="Charles Addams" href="/topic/entertainment/charles-addams-PECLB000023.topic">Charles Addams</a> molded the butler to the Addams' Family in Morgan's image.) The anchor is religious fanatic Rebecca Femm (Eva Moore), a mighty mite who lords it over both Morgan and her hilariously fey brother Horace (the peerless Ernest Thesiger). The secret to director Whale's success is his ability to maintain a sneaky sort of deadpan. He uses sophisticated wit to pave the way for gargantuan grotesquerie. Before you can stop laughing, you're hooked. (The Kino/Image DVD contains Stuart's recollections and Whale biographer James Curtis' commentary, as well as an interview with director and horror aficionado Curtis Harrington, who recounts how he "saved 'The Old Dark House' from oblivion.")
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Naturally: " The Old Dark House." Director James Whale's rarely-seen masterpiece dates from 1932, but it's so keen-witted and indelible you'd never call it a period piece. Anyone who has ever stumbled into a group that is proud, stubborn, and collectively insane can appreciate the predicament of five spiffy urban creatures -- Gloria Stuart (of "Titanic"), Raymond Massey, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton and Lillian Bond -- stranded in a ramshackle Welsh home during a vicious rainstorm. When the home's inhabitants, the Femms, come to the fore, the movie becomes a satire of backwater eccentricity and fatalism that's also a comedy of terrors. Inertia rules the seedy estate of the title, from the third floor, where the ancient and androgynous Sir Roderick Femm holds sway (he's played by a woman, Elspeth Dudgeon, billed as "John") to the quarters where the mute, animalistic servant Morgan ( Boris Karloff) grunts and lurches. ( Charles Addams molded the butler to the Addams' Family in Morgan's image.) The anchor is religious fanatic Rebecca Femm (Eva Moore), a mighty mite who lords it over both Morgan and her hilariously fey brother Horace (the peerless Ernest Thesiger). The secret to director Whale's success is his ability to maintain a sneaky sort of deadpan. He uses sophisticated wit to pave the way for gargantuan grotesquerie. Before you can stop laughing, you're hooked. (The Kino/Image DVD contains Stuart's recollections and Whale biographer James Curtis' commentary, as well as an interview with director and horror aficionado Curtis Harrington, who recounts how he "saved 'The Old Dark House' from oblivion.")

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