Director – Pete Walker
Cast – Desi Arnaz Jr., Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, John Carradine, Sheila Keith, Julie Peasgood, Richard Todd, Louise English, Richard Hunter
Release Year – 1983
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I had never heard of this film prior to coming across it the other day, and I wish I had a photo of my expression when I saw its cast. Horror icons Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and John Carradine have acting roles in this watch, as if the filmmakers planned for an epic reunion of horror’s finest classic actors. To make matters even sweeter, House of the Long Shadows boasts a mostly-positive storyline complimented with superb atmosphere in this shout-out to the classic horror films of the 50s and 60s.
American writer Kenneth Magee(Desi Arnaz Jr) accepts a $20,000 bet that he cannot write a complete novel along the lines of “Wuthering Heights” in under 24 hours while confined to an old Welsh manor uninhabited for the last 40 years. This seems an easy task for the veteran writer, but soon after arriving at the creepy old home he is constantly interrupted by odd guests, resulting in a night of terror that he never saw coming.
You should know by now that I enjoy anything having to do with a creepy old home, and the idea of a writer staying the night alone was an awesome one that allowed me to put myself in his shoes, which always adds to my enjoyment of a film. Particularly, I enjoyed Kenneth’s initial entry into the home, in which he took his sweet time exploring the house and all of its creepy offerings. Soon after we are introduced to the first mysterious inhabitants of the home, then the next, then the next, and then the next. Before you know it, John Carradine, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price, and Christopher Lee have made their presence known, and in well-paced and awesome fashion. We are given constant developments to this mysterious story, with each character coming with his/her own mysterious aura, resulting in a shocking twist-ending that was not overly surprising, but surprising enough.
Director Pete Walker provides incredible atmosphere in the film, taking full advantage of the creepy sets provided in the old manor. Perfect low-lighting and camerawork exemplify the atmosphere to the viewer, and for a PG film we get some moderate gore in the film’s few kill sequences. Watching each of the film’s iconic horror actors do their thing was amazing, and each was perfectly executed in how they were introduced on-screen and their acting performances did the rest. While Price, Cushing, Lee, and Carradine seem to take most of the acting attention from myself and the filmming company, Desi Arnaz Jr., is the star of the film, and he gives a positive performance as well.
Overall, House of the Long Shadows is a fun watch for those who carry much respect for horror’s classic actors. The story is an interesting one and thanks to Walker’s direction it comes with great atmosphere and good execution of most elements, resulting in a worthwhile film for those who enjoy films with great actors and heavy atmosphere.