BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

The House That Would Not Die (1970) - Blu-ray Review

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The House That Would Not Die - Blu-ray

Produced for television by Aaron Spelling, The House That Would Not Die is a one-time ABC Movie of the Week atmospheric creeper that, thanks to some old-fashioned style melodrama, doesn’t always work when it comes to its cast.  The premise; however, is a solid one and, thanks to some nifty practical effects, the story buried within the walls of this historic tomb remains a bit of a haunted tale.

"The movie is at odds with itself and, unfortunately, it can be really uninteresting thanks to a script that fails to bring its characters into clear focus."


Starring Barbara Stanwyck as Ruth Bennett, a woman who has just come into possession of a house with a long and mysterious history, and Richard Egan, The House That Would Not Die takes place in Amish Country but plays more with the revolutionary war as it offers viewers a disturbing ghost story about revolutionary war General and the mysterious disappearances of both his daughter and her lover. 

The movie, complete with an “affected” portrait and a couple of scenes of solid poltergeist, is not exactly a spirited affair, especially when a group of nosey neighbors attempt to hold a séance in order to get the bottom of the mystery.  Their attempts are annoying.  But the energy, thanks to some rather stoic performances and a procedural pacing, is lacking making even the places where the original commercials were inserted look desperate.  

Co-starring Michael Anderson Jr. as Stan Whitman and Kitty Winn as Sara Dunning, this slow moving haunted house narrative is directed by Circus of Fears John Llewellyn Moxey, who – when it comes to television shows – is damn near legendary thanks to his contributions Magnum P.I. and Murder She Wrote.  Unfortunately, the film just isn’t as great as was originally recalled and, in a modern-day setting, it offers merely suspense and some moments of over-the-top acting when compared to The Uninvited and 13 Ghosts. 

The movie is at odds with itself and, unfortunately, it can be really uninteresting thanks to a script that fails to bring its characters into clear focus.  The ghosts are never really seen as they begin to possess the members of the household.  We get a slight camera blurring of images but that is all.  Considering that the film is only an hour and 15 minutes, the sheer boredom of the flick is not a great sign for repeated viewings. 

The House That Would Not Die - Blu-ray

The cast presents the events – especially the ONE cool scene of haunting in the basement – in a very cheesy manner, yet the actual practical effects, highlighted by doors opening and closing on their own and big gusts of wind, are pretty impressive.  But between Stanwyck and a screaming Doreen Lang as the resident psychic, who has the idea to offer a séance as a sort of housewarming gift, most of the haunting is dismissed thanks to some hokey acting.

The House That Would Not Die is now on blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber’s brand-new HD Master.

2 beers

The House That Would Not Die - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: Not rated
Runtime:
74 mins
Director
: John Llewellyn Moxey
Writer:
Henry Farrell
Cast:
Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Egan, Michael Anderson Jr.
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "Isn't it beautiful, Sara?"
Distributor:
Aaron Spelling Productions
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 27, 1970
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 7, 2019
Synopsis: Ruth Bennett has inherited an old house in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Amish country. She moves into the house with her niece, Sara Dunning. The house was built before the Revolutionary War and is said to be haunted by the spirits of its original inhabitants. With the help of Pat McDougal, a local professor, and one of his students, Stan Whitman, they delve into the history of the house and find a scandal that involves a Revolutionary War general, who was suspected of being a traitor, and his daughter, who had disappeared after eloping with her boyfriend, a young British soldier. The spirits of the general and his daughter take possession of Pat's and Sara's bodies and a dark secret is revealed.

The House That Would Not Die - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- January 8, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The brand new 1080p transfer is crisp and crackling with fine details.  Originally shot on 35mm film, this release from Kino Lorber. supports a High-Definition encode and a 1.33:1 ratio.  With solid colors and an atmospheric charm, the cleaned-up image is detailed with nice burnt oranges and strong blacks hitting strong levels for something originally filmed in the early 70s.  The grain is natural and consistent.  Colors are strong and vibrant even.  The overall contrast is deep even if there are noticeable defects in the crush of shadows.  The DTS Master Audio 2.0 is a decent monaural soundtrack for the series.  Dialogue is clean, clear, and balanced with the music.  It is unfortunate that the release has no supplemental material, though.  One should not ignore The House That Would Not Die.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Attached to this release is an audio commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith.

Special Features:

Featuring a NEW 2K REMASTER OF THE FILM, the supplemental items include an interview with Moxey and an audio commentary from Film Historian Richard Harland Smith.

  • Interview with director John Llewellyn Moxey
  • Audio Commentary by Film Historian Richard Harland Smith

The House That Would Not Die - Blu-ray

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