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4.2 out of 5 stars60
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 2 February 2012
Not the greatest or the most frightening of horror thrillers, and it probably won't appeal to today's teenage market, but for the rest of us this one is a real nostalgic gem, featuring as it does the three greats of horror cinema: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Vincent Price. Renowned horror director Pete Walker directs with his tongue firmly in his cheek, and peppers his tale with frights and laughs in equal measure.

The fact that this is a widescreen edition makes it all the more fantastic, as this is the first official widescreen DVD release of this lost treasure EVER! Not only that, but the extras are superb, with a very detailed and nostalgic making of documentary which is almost as long as the film, and a very interesting director's commentary from Pete Walker.

If only all British horrors of the past were treated with this much care!

Three cheers!
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on 10 January 2014
It has been a long time coming but finally there is a decent digital version of this 1983 "last hurrah" for four of classic horror's greatest stars. A few years ago MGM released a DVD-R version in the States that was taken from a print that had serious contrast issues (ie. way too dark). Not even adjusting your TV controls at home made much of a difference. The film was deliberately lit to be dark but not that dark. Thank goodness someone finally decided to issue it in a decent print with a full length documentary on the making of the film and other extras. This isn't a full restoration by any means but it sure looks much better than the previous Region 1 release.

Director Pete Walker and scriptwriter Michael Armstrong, both known during the 1970s for such hardcore horror fare as HOUSE OF WHIPCORD and MARK OF THE DEVIL, decided to make an "old dark house" picture to end all "old dark house" pictures. This is a particular genre that began back in the 1920s with such films as THE BAT and THE CAT & THE CANARY where protagonists are stuck inside a spooky old mansion and the supporting players get eliminated one by one. The gold standard for this type of film is James Whale's THE OLD DARK HOUSE from 1932. In fact this film started out to be a remake of that film but the producers couldn't get the rights. They wound up using SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE, a mystery thriller written by Earl Derr Biggers (of Charlie Chan fame) that had been made at least 3 times before.

The story concerns a writer (Desi Arnaz Jr.) who stays the night in a spooky old house in order to win a bet. He not only has to stay the night but he has to produce a finished manuscript ready for publication the next day. Once there the "deserted" house is quickly populated by members of the eccentric Grisbane family (John Carradine, Sheila Keith, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price) along with a young woman (Judy Peasgood) who may not be what she seems. Every conceivable "old dark house" cliche' is utilized and the quartet of horror icons are all given their scenes where they get to show off. Of course there is a twist ending which is meant to be "over the top". Fans of the film and its stars will be pleased with this new transfer and those seeing it for the first time should note that the tongue is firmly in the cheek.
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on 9 October 2012
What a delight it is to see this classic film released at long last on Dvd - without doubt one of my all time favourites, bringing together all four classic actors for the first and last time. With great support from Sheila Keith, Julie Peasgood and the rest of the cast, it's a film to relish on many levels, not least because it doesn't take itself too seriously and is all-round enjoyable fun!
There have been a few poor reviews on Amazon but I would suggest that those reviewers didn't really appreciate the charm of the film and the good time that all concerned were having in putting together this classic of the genre. The film and sound quality is excellent so lighten up and enjoy it for what it is!

A special mention must also be made of the "making of" documentary which accompanies the film, where actor and author Derek Pykett has put together a marvellous film reunion with Director Pete Walker, Julie Peasgood and others. As with his other work [ Michael Ripper Unmasked,British Horror Film Locations,The Danzigger Collector's Edition [DVD]] Mr Pykett has spent a considerable amount of time and effort getting together those involved in the film for their memories and anecdotes - all of which proves highly entertaining.
Without his sterling efforts then we fans would have missed out on this - so credit where it's due!!

There is also an audio commentary by Pete Walker and Mr Pykett which is likewise thoroughly enjoyable. In conclusion then, just grab the film on Dvd while you can, enjoy the performances of these great actors, see and listen to how much fun everyone had whilst putting it together and treasure this collection for what it is.
Because you will never see it's like again.
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on 6 March 2012
as spoken by the greatest master of horror of them all, the late, and always missed, Vincent Price. This movie is simply great. It's possible that I find it so because I watched it at the time of its release, and for me, it had it all. A great plot, an eerie atmosphere, a cool ending and of course, four of the greatest horror legends of them all. And I mean horror, not the scatological bloodbath that the genre became nowadays. This movie is not horror though, but instead a suspense thriller that has no intention of changing the way you see the universe, or to challenge your religious beliefs. No, all it intends to do is to entertain, and entertain it does. So if you want a roller-coaster ride with explosions and shots filled with endless gore, go somewhere else. But if you want honest, smart fun, this might be it.
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on 28 February 2013
!!!. WARNING. THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE FILM ONLY AND NOT FOR THIS PARTICULAR RELEASE, AND IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. !!!

When American writer Kenneth Magee(Dezi Arnaz Jnr) tells his publisher Sam Allyson(Richard Todd) that he could write a book like Wuthering Heights in 24 hours, Allyson diagrees, and a bet is made. Allyson finds Magee an isolated Welsh Manor House called Bllyddpaetwr(or Baldpate to the non-locals)to write his opus, and Magee has one night to write it. However, his quiet solitude is soon over when various uninvited guests turn up, two waspish housekeepers, a frantic secetary of Allyson and several members of the Grisbane family, all in various guises, the Grisbanes being the anscestral family of Bllyddpaetwr.
However, there's another Grisbane roaming the corridors of the Manor, one hell bent on revenge for the terrible crime that was commited against him many years ago....

I think that, like me, you need to be a fan of all the great horror actors in the cast to forgive 'House Of Long Shadows' its many failings. An adaptation of much filmed story 'The Seven Keys To Baldpate', and apparently a firm favourite of director Pete Walker. Here lies the first problem, Walker was at the time the enfant terrible of British horror directors, having been responsible for in disturbing shockers such as Frightmare, which concerned an ageing Cannibal returning to her murderous ways, and House Of Whipcord, where a senile old judge runs a house of correction for nubile young sinners in the British countryside. Films such as those shook the rather safe world of British horror to the core, so it is safe to say that 'House Of Long Shadows' is very unlike the typical Waker film.
With a genteel, stately pace, its comedic bent and cast of horror greats, if this film was to be watched on an old Black and White television, the viewer would be forgiven for thinking they were watching some old artefact discovered in the Universal vaults. It has a lot more in common with 'The Cat And The Canary' and 'The Beast With Five Fingers' than Walker's urban terrors so audiences flocking to see the film expecting an atypical Walker film would have been disappointed.
A second problem is the farcical nature of the story. Having built up some suspense during its running time, 'House Of Long Shadows' then goes for the 'trick' ending( in fact two trick endings to be pedantic), a device much used in modern horror films, but still quite novel back then. It is possible that some viewers might feel cheated however.
However, in Walker's defence, it was very much a personal labour of love on his part, and at least he assembled one of the greatest casts of horror veterans ever seen to accomplish his ideas. What a cast it is, Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, Peter Cushing and Jon Carridine all present and correct, and it's a real joy to see all of these playing off eachother. The presence of these great actors means that 'house Of Long Shadows' is always watchable despite its sometimes turgid pace. A special mention should also be given to Sheila Keith, a regular in Wlaker's films, who probably delivers the best performance on show.
Anyway, I enjoyed the old fashioned 'old dark house' mystery that this film is, didn't much care for the ending, but loved the cast of veteran ghouls on display. Proceed with caution though, you might have to be a forgiving mood to enjoy this film. 4 out of 5.
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I love this film, and this film has four of the best actors of its day, Vincent price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and last but not least John Carradine(the shootist) who was a great actor.

The has a great documentary "House of the long shadows.... revisited", and the film is shot in Widescreen, which looks very good. Don't get me wrong this film is no classic, but is a lot of fun, with some great performances.

And if you love spooky old house story's, with a bit of tongue in cheek humour, then this film is for you.
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on 23 August 2015
The movie is lots of fun but don't buy the German Blu-Ray as the transfer is worse than the DVD releases. The movie rates as 4 stars. The German blu ray rates as 1 star.
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on 19 August 2013
Not a masterpiece like Frightmare but a great film from Pete Walker which sadly became his swansong movie. The strengths of the film is to see the four horror veterans: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing & John Carridine. Not forgetting Pete Walker regular Sheila Keith. It's great old fashioned ghost with a touch of comedy with a great script from Michael Armstrong and great score by Richard Hartley and cinematography atmospherically shot by Norman Langley.

If you expecting a slasher or expecting you be disappointed as this film is for passionate film fan. Watch this film with a open mind
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Christopher Lee. Vincent Price. Peter Cushing. These horror titans starred pretty frequently in the same movies together... but oddly, there is only one movie that stars all three together.

That movie was "House of the Long Shadows," which lays out a wide array of classic horror tropes -- a spooky old house, a slasher killer, gore, ugly old secrets, and plenty of gruesome deaths. But this movie is far cleverer than the sum of its parts, with a twisty finale and a heavy metafictional slant that makes perfect sense in retrospect. And of course, it has a powerhouse cast of well-beloved actors, including Price, Cushing, Lee and John Carradine.

Cynical young author Kenneth (Desi Arnaz Jr.) makes a bet with his publisher: he'll churn out a gothic novel within twenty-four hours, just so he can prove that those books are no big deal. The winner gets twenty thousand dollars. The publisher also gives him the keys to an abandoned Welsh manor belonging to the Grisbane family, "Baldpate" Manor (since the actual name is hard to pronounce or spell). But when he gets there, Kenneth discovers that the Grisbanes aren't quite as gone as he expected. Lord Grisbane (Carradine) and his religious daughter Victoria (Sheila Keith) have been living there, pretending to be the caretakers.

And in short order, more people arrive:
-Melodramatic Lionel Grisbane (Price) and his weepy brother Sebastian (Cushing).
-The publisher's secretary, Mary (Julie Peasgood), who has been sent to sabotage Kenneth.
-A hiker couple whose marriage is falling apart.
-Corrigan (Lee), a wealthy businessman who has just purchased the house.

And soon they learn the horrifying secret of the Grisbane family, which has haunted and ruled them for many decades... and which has led to everyone now being stalked by a vengeful psychopath. With no way to escape (slashed tires) and a storm raging outside, the people in Baldpate Manor will have to do their best to stay alive in the hours before morning... but Kenneth soon discovers that there are even more secrets being kept by those around him.

On the surface, "House of the Long Shadows" is just another cliche horror movie. But between the casting (four beloved horror icons) and the metafictional slant of the story (Kenneth's whole reason for being there is to write gothic suspense), it soon becomes clear that this story is more of a love letter to gothic horror. Yet it never becomes precious or self-aware in its storytelling, and after awhile it becomes a genuinely suspenseful, gruesome mystery.

For the most part, the story follows the "isolated house" model of horror, where nobody can leave and someone is picking the inhabitants one by one -- and it becomes obvious eventually that the murders are not just aimed at the Grisbanes. Most of the murders are grisly and violent (acid, piano wire, heart attack from a grotesque dummy), and director Sheldon Reynolds cloaks the story in a thick layer of murky paranoia and thunder. Under the tongue-in-cheek dialogue ("Filled with things best not spoken of. Yes, I saw the movie. You do know how to get there?"), there's the simmering sense that no one in this house can trust anyone else.

It also has a very unique ending. Without giving too much away, it has not one, not two, but THREE twists to the grand finale. That's a pretty impressive feat for any story, and all the more impressive in a fairly simple, straightforward horror tale.

And of course, it has a glorious cast. Much of the spotlight is on the horror trio: Lee is intimidating, brusque and impatient with all these aristocratic melodramas; Price is gloriously dramatic, while still being subtle enough to avoid scenery-chewing; and Cushing plays a sensitive wibbling guy with a lisp. John Carradine also is pretty fun here, although he doesn't have much to do but wear a fez and yell at people. Compared to these guys, the younger actors have a little trouble standing out, but Arnaz and Peasgood give decent enough performances as the cynical "modern" author and his love interests.

"House of the Long Shadows" is partly a love letter to gothic horror, with classic horror actors playing beautifully off one another -- but the meta slant and the twist endings make it a delight as well. A fun tale to watch on Halloween.
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on 27 May 2013
Not one of the best films but the teaming of Cushing, Lee, Caradine and Price makes this great. This particular pressing is very watchable because I can now see what is going on in a supposedly darkened room. The MGM pressing has the entire screen in almost total blackness during those scenesand it had me scratching my head, wondering what was going on. The people at MGM should be shot, revived and shot again for releasing a really bad copy. It was worth the extra money for the UK pressing. I would stronly suggest buying an all region player so you can enjoy a good quality DVD.
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