March 2, 2023 The House That Screamed (Special Edition Blu-ray Review)
When thinking of gothic-styled Horror films from the 1960s, of course classics such as 1960’s Black Sunday or 1961’s The Pit and the Pendulum come to mind, but how many even recall The House That Screamed? Certainly, a more obscure title from this era of Horror, The House That Screamed is a Spanish film directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, the creator behind 1976’s Who Can Kill a Child? Often overlooked, 1969’s The House That Screamed is significant for several reasons. One, it is dubbed Serrador’s first Horror film, and two, it is considered an influence to Dario Argento’s 1977 masterpiece, Suspiria.
So, what is it really all about? In brief summary, it takes place in the 19th century where a young wayward woman Thérèse (Cristina Galbó: Let Sleeping Corpses Lie 1974) is enrolled into a strict prison-like boarding school. Thrusted into a world overcome by nasty classmates and a very strict headmistress (Lilli Palmer: Cloak and Dagger 1946, Girls in Uniform 1958), within the walls of the school fellow pupils mysteriously start to vanish. Who is to blame, and what is going on? Well, you will have to watch the film to find out.
A pretty standard story of mystery, it is artfully directed while offering some beautiful sets, elegant dialogue, and even more elegant wardrobe. These factors in mind, the film has been released several times on DVD, including as an Elvira’s Movie Macabre Double Feature with Maneater of Hydra in 2007, as well as on Blu-ray in 2017. Now in 2023 Arrow Video offers viewers the film as a newly 2k restoration format on Blu-Ray.
Set for release on March 7, 2023, the new edition is comparable to the 2017 Shout! Factory release, however, trumps it in many fashions. For one, this new edition has the brand new 2K restoration from the original negatives, and this is a substantial plus. Restored very nicely, the colors pop, the imagery is crisp, and the true refinement of the film really shines through. Additionally, you get two versions of the film – the original 105-minute Spain uncut version, and the 94-minute US theatrical version. Furthermore, this new Blu-Ray also includes some new interviews that the 2017 Blu-ray did not; including one with Serrador’s son, Alejandro Ibáñez. Completing the set, there are additional interviews including ones with key cast members such as John Moulder-Brown and Mary Maude, but also a really tasteful new piece of cover art by Colin Murdoch.
In the end, if you are an appreciator of old Horror cinema which beams with gothic beauty, this special edition release of The House That Screamed is a wonderful consideration. Recommended for longtime fans of the film, it is moreover recommended for those who may have missed it, because it will probably be right up the alley of European Horror fans. That is why Cryptic Rock gives the special edition Blu-ray release of The House That Screamed 4 out of 5 stars.