Not usually a fan of the genre, this film certainly was certainly entertaining. The old dark house set in the stormy, rainy weather provides a nice setting, the characters are charming (as soon as you allow yourself to get used to them) and once the end nears I feel like the film is actually maturing ahead of its time.
Whale's legendarily unique film - a horror film made from the parts of a screwball comedy - does not disappoint. From the sound design, to the visuals (the distorted Rebecca Moore), to the foreshadowing (a scene with a lamp plays like a Laurel and Hardy sketch written by de Sade), and above all performances (Karloff is a superb mime). And it features the most terrifying, and unsung, of the Universal monsters...
THE OLD DARK HOUSE is a wonderful survivor of the early sound era. Belonging to said era, it is particularly stage-bound and theatrical, naturally. What is so wonderful about it is that it is rabidly antic, full of marvelously overwrought characterizations, and almost every scene seems to rearrange the world we are visiting. A lot of stuff is compressed into this thing. James Whale was a true weirdo sophisticate.
1932 was a great year for films. This one is at once both creepy and funny. More than a classic Horror Film, it's a prototype that informed countless Horror films that came after. The butler Monroe is Lurch in Addams Family; Cloris Leachman's character in Young Frankenstein may have originated with Rebecca. And every subsequent film where lost travelers find themselves in a creepy house have this to look back to. 4.6
James Whale's horror follow up to Frankenstein is a winner, w/ Karloff returning to spook things up in another talk-less role. The dinner scene is at times hilarious and other times unnerving and amazing, as was Stuart's shadow puppet scene. The lighting has clear Expressionism roots, and Douglas shines in an early role for him. Laughton is a surprising detriment here, overacting throughout. Otherwise, 4.5 stars
As many universal monsters films it is really dated, full of naiveties and built on a common predictable script. However this one might be considered as a little classic, among the first in the haunted house genre, far to be a bad attempt, quite creepy and strange atmosphere.. Great performance by Karloff. Directed by James Whales, one year later after his classic Frankenstein.
Tal vez sea esta la semilla de los innumerables filme ssobre "mad houses"; películas que desarrollaron esa fascinación por tétricas casas habitadas por personajes excéntricos, de un pasado oscuro, auto desterrados, hostiles, grotescos, extrictamente locos. El suspenso de "El caserón de las sombras" se forja en eso. Un desfiladero de personajes que perturban, aunque no tanto después de todo.