House of the Long Shadows

Kenneth Magee (Desi Arnaz, Jr.) is a young writer who agrees to write a novel for $20,000.  He travels to an old country mansion and is challenged to complete his task in 24 hours.  The mansion is still occupied by a Lord and his daughter, there’s a storm brewing and various people start turning up.  It soon transpires there is a plan behind all the comings and goings and the novelist certainly didn’t expect what transpires.

Coming from Cannon Films whose usual input was Ninja films around this film’s creation as well as various future Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson action pics the film is literally an excuse to get bona fide legends together for a old fashioned ghost story (to quote the wonderful trailer ‘with a twist’).

Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine light up the screen with their presence and is ably supported by Desi Arnaz, Jr and a host of British character actors.  Written by seasoned veteran screenwriter Michael Armstrong, the film is full of bumps in the night and is handsomely shot and edited.

Directing this rather quaint old fashioned film is Pete Walker, a man responsible for some of British cinema’s great 70’s horror films such as The House of Whipcord and The Flesh and Blood Show.  Walker is definitely directing against type and does a grand job which is made easier by some of the best screen actors the world has ever produced.

It is a bit dated but its lot of fun and has a great documentary on the disc revisiting the film in great detail as well as a commentary.  Sadly it was Walker’s last film and he went on to pursue other interests including restoring old cinemas. Did cinema miss him?  I’d say so as he could make a minuscule budget stretch a long way and even if you consider their shortcomings,. they were always entertaining.

I haven’t seen it since the video days of Guild (who released a stack of Cannon Fodder) and I had a great time with it. Well done to Fabulous Films who have dusted off the cobwebs and gave it a nice release.